Gay Youth Hub




One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas

Homeless

One of the nation's few homeless shelters specifically for LGBTQ youth has opened its doors in San Antonio. 

Thrive Youth Center is a 13-bed, 1,400-square-foot facility — including five individual rooms for transgender youth. 

The center, which will serve LGBTQ youth ages 18-25, was initially scheduled to open last year at a downtown church, but that plan was nixed due to zoning issues. The shelter finally opened last week through a partnership with Haven for Hope, a larger facility serving the general homeless population. 

Texas Public Radio reports: 

WhitleyThrive Executive Director Sandra Whitley (right) said Haven has changed its intake process since Thrive came on board, asking new applicants if they required LGBT services. “And if they check yes, then they call one of us over at our office and we come over and talk to the person and see if they’ll be a fit for our program.” ...

Thrive’s initial mission —getting people back on their feet — is being upheld through Haven’s programs. “The services that we were going to offer, the GED program; the career counseling; the job placement, all those things are now located 25 feet from our door,” said Whitley.

Scott Ackerson, a Vice President for Haven for Hope, said they also found space for certain individuals who did not meet Thrive’s 18-25 age group criteria. “We’ve got the capacity to serve an additional 10 LGBT individuals that don’t necessarily fit within Thrive’s target population,” said Ackerson.

According to Thrive Youth Center's website, 50 percent of homeless youth in San Antonio are LGBTQ, mostly as a result of family rejection. And homeless LGBTQ youth on the street are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as other youth on the street.

Meanwhile, nearly nearly one in three transgender men and women report being turned away from homeless shelters because they are transgender, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Before opening Thrive Youth, Whitley and other founders visited the Ali Forney Center in New York City and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles — two of the only other homeless shelters in the nation for LGBTQ youth. Whitley, whose parents once sent her to a mental hospital because she was gay, sold her business last year so she could run the shelter. 

For more information on the Thrive Youth Center or to make a donation, go here. And to listen to the stories of some of the youth who'll be served by the facility, go here

With any luck, Thrive Youth Center can serve as a model for shelters serving homeless LGBTQ youth across Texas and in other red states — where the facilities are often most needed due to high levels of family rejection.

Watch a video report from last year about plans for the Thrive Youth Center, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas" »


CNN Commentator Sally Kohn: 'I'm Gay And I Want My Kid To Be Gay Too' - VIDEO

Sally Kohn

Writing in The Washington Post, gay CNN political commentator Sally Kohn has said that she wants her daughter Willa (right) to be gay too.

Willa hansen-kohnKohn picks apart a common theme that nobody would choose to be gay. She argues that although her straight friends can grudgingly admit that they would prefer their children to be straight, admitting that she wants her daughter to be lesbian is like saying “I want her to grow up to be lactose intolerant.”

She continues that although straight people possibly mean well because it’s easier to be heterosexual in a homophobic culture, this attitude complies with and reinforces that culture.

Noting that adults “define happiness as some variation on our own lives,” Kohn says that for her being gay has never been anything but a positive experience and she will work “to destroy any barriers along [her daughter’s] path, not put them up myself.”

She concludes that her daughter will find only support and encouragement, regardless of her sexual orientation:

“Time will tell, but so far, it doesn’t look like my 6-year-old daughter is gay. In fact, she’s boy crazy. It seems early to me, but I’m trying to be supportive. Recently, she had a crush on an older boy on her school bus. She was acting as any precocious, socially awkward child would, which is to say not very subtle. I confided in a friend who has an older daughter. ‘She wants to give this kid a card and presents,’ I e-mailed. ‘The other kid is so embarrassed. It’s painful to watch. What do I do?’

“My friend wrote back with a slew of helpful advice, ending with a punch to my gut: ‘Bet it wouldn’t bother you so much if her crush was on a girl.’

“She was right. I’m a slightly overbearing pro-gay gay mom. But I’m going to support my daughter, whatever choices she makes.”

Watch a 2010 video in which two-year-old Willa explain why Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy should not be allowed to expire (no, seriously), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "CNN Commentator Sally Kohn: 'I'm Gay And I Want My Kid To Be Gay Too' - VIDEO" »


WATCH: Australian Dads with Gay Sons Read Children's Book 'I Think I'm a Poof'

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These three Australian dads of gay sons all have a message of love and acceptance that every parent should emulate with their LGBT kids.

Watch these dads read the gay-affirming children's book I Think I'm a Poof and share why they decided to put family first, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "WATCH: Australian Dads with Gay Sons Read Children's Book 'I Think I'm a Poof' " »


Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

Ray

The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out" »


GOP-Controlled House Committee Kills Education Bill Amendment to Protect LGBT Students from Discrimination

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The Republican-controlled House Education & the Workforce Committee yesterday prohibited a vote on the inclusion of non-discrimination protections for LGBT students as part of an education reform bill, reports the Washington Blade.

During a committee markup of the Student Success Act, the committee voted along the party-line by 21-15 to table the amendment. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is considered a supporter of marriage equality and recently became a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, is one of the Republicans who voted to table the amendment.

The proposed amendment was submitted by gay Democratic Rep. Jared Polis (above) who is also co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

Introducing the amendment, Polis said:

“This is something I think we can all agree on. Schools are there to serve all learners. I hope we don’t play out our social prejudices and arguments on the kids in school because it truly doesn’t matter in this context whether you think they ought to be able to have their marriages accepted by the government.

"Here, it’s simply about should they be able to go to school free of the fear of intimidation, and every child has that right as an American.”

FoxxHowever, North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx (right) said that although she abhors “any kind of discrimination or any kind of intimidation,” she objected to the amendment because it was not relevant to the larger bill.

Republican Committee Chairman John Kline agreed with Foxx’s assessment, stating “the amendment is beyond the scope of a bill, which addresses improving elementary and secondary school education.”

Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Republicans “had an opportunity to act to better the lives of LGBT students and send a strong signal that harassment and discrimination have no place in our country’s public schools” but “chose to engage in legislative gamesmanship instead.”


Gay Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies Comprise Over 10% Of Popular 'Sugar Dating' Site's Membership

SeekingArrangement

The worsening student-debt crisis reportedly is fueling a surge in the number of college students seeking "sugar daddies" to help them pay their way through school. 

The Atlantic reported last month on the latest numbers from SeekingArrangement.com, which bills itself as "the world's largest sugar dating dating site":  

What might have been little more than a nuisance in the past has turned into an outright hindrance to many students’ financial security: It takes about 14 years on average to pay off the debt. As a result, young women across the country are turning to sugar daddies in droves. ... More than 1.4 million students have signed up as members, including nearly 1 million in the U.S., according to the company. The website claims that 42 percent of its members are students, many of whom are incentivized by SeekingArrangement to join; people who sign up with a .edu email address or show proof of enrollment, for example, receive "premium memberships" for free.

SugarBabyYou wouldn't necessarily know it from the many news stories about the trend — or even from the promotional images at SeekingArrangement.com, most of which feature younger women and older men — but many of the site's sugar babies, sugar daddies and sugar mommies are in fact LGBT. 

Back in 2008, SeekingArrangement.com reported that it had reached 250,000 gay members, announced an LGBT landing page (above) and released a promotional video from a gay sugar baby (right):  

Unlike normal gay dating sites that feel more like meat markets than places to find “true love”, SeekingArrangement has a professional, warm, sincere feel to it. Here older and wealthy gay Daddies or Mommas are looking for more than intimacy. They are actually interested in helping grow young men and women into successful adults.

Gay Sugar Daddies don’t necessarily fit your average gay stereotype, as many married heterosexual men are experimenting here for their first time as well. Here on SeekingArrangement, about half of the gay Sugar Daddies are bisexual or closeted men in heterosexual relationships.

In 2010, SeekingArrangement.com released its Top 10 Cities For Gay Sugar Daddies, led by New York City.  

So, in the wake of recent news reports about the site's growth, Towleroad reached out to SeekingArrangement.com for the latest numbers on LGBT members. Spokeswoman Angela Bermudo responded by providing this breakdown:  

• 280,000 Gay Sugar Baby Males
• 60,000 Gay Sugar Daddies 
• 8,400 Lesbian Sugar Mommies
• 40,000 Lesbian Sugar Babies 
• 75 Trans Sugar Babies 

All told, that means 388,475 of the site's 3.6 million members worldwide are LGBT — or about 11 percent. 

SeekingArrangement.com recently released figures on the fastest-growing schools for sugar babies — with the University of Texas leading the way — but Bermudo declined to provide those breakdowns for LGBT members, citing privacy concerns because numbers are small at some schools.  

Some have accused SeekingArrangement.com of promoting prostitution. But the site says it conducts background checks, and for some LGBT sugar babies, sugar daddies and sugar mommies, it may provide a viable alternative to hookup apps. 

Watch the site's promotional video fearing a gay sugar baby, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "Gay Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies Comprise Over 10% Of Popular 'Sugar Dating' Site's Membership" »


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