“I dream of a day where every gay youth in our country will have access to safe spaces, where no gay kid will live more than 100 miles from a space where LGBT youth can go to find community and support. But the creation of these life-saving spaces will require the passionate commitment and attention of the adult LGBT community. We need to pay attention to what is available to teens in our local communities. We need to raise funds and resources to support these spaces, and be aggressive in advocating that our tax dollars be used to support spaces where our teens receive the support they need.
“In the last eighteen months, in a city with as large an LGBT population as New York City, the Ali Forney Center lost funding for its emergency shelter, Green Chimney’s lost funding for its foster care program, and Hetrick Martin and the LGBT Center lost funding for their after-school youth programs. Our youth need an adult community that is so committed to their welfare that such cuts to lifesaving services for LGBT teens could not occur without a tremendous outcry from our community.
“Too many of our youth are under attack in their homes, schools and communities. Homophobia creates environments that are deadly to our youth. We need to recognize the depth of this crisis and see the protection of our youth as a core responsibility of our movement. We need to build a support system that will save their lives.” – Ali Forney Center executive director Carl Siciliano, in a response to the national epidemic of gay teen suicides.
Read Siciliano’s four step program for protecting LGBT youth.