- CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE
August 4, 2000
"A stunning 75 percent of adolescent deaths are due to unintentional
injuries, homicide and suicide associated with high-risk behavior. Teens are
significantly less likely to participate in those behaviors if they have an
adult mentor, according to a survey by the New York State Department of
Chryss Cada, the author of the above paragraph is a Gay teen mentor who
knows from personal experience that "[w]hen young people discover this
difference about themselves, the secret they are coming to terms with
separates them from their friends and makes them a minority within their own
families" who often struggle alone to "shoulder � the many lost expectations
of being gay."
Every teenager deserves a role model, however.
Unfortunately, GLBT people are too often seen as people to protect young
people from. "It's why gay teachers are encouraged to stay in the closet,
gays are kept from becoming priests in many denominations and a gay man
can't be a Boy Scout leader."
In "When a Teen Mentor Is Gay", published in the Aug. 4, 2000, Washington
(DC) Post, this importance of Gay people as mentors for teenagers who are
coming to understand that their affectional rientation is toward their own
gender is clearly explained.
As a volunteer at a suicide center, she has learned that the core of the
message to give to suicidal teens is that such an act is "a permanent
solution to a temporary problem.
Although that message is a critical one, "for gay teens, there's a catch in
the equation. When a teen realizes he or she is gay and is painted a bleak
picture of the future by adults trying to 'save' him or her from it, the
situation sounds painfully permanent. With no one to give them hope, far too
many teens see no point in going on�. Hopelessness is a killer as vicious
as any disease and as ruthless as any sudden tragedy. It is a tragic mistake
to underestimate the burden being different places on a teen."
The full article is available at
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