I remember Stonewall being in the news. I was 12. I knew, instinctively, that what was going on in the newspaper (life before the Internet was vastly different!) was good. By that time in my life, I was fully aware that I was a gay teen and had already had my first boyfriend. Seeing them lay their lives on the line against an establishment that hated them touched me in an indescribable place. I knew.
The war we're fighting today is for the liberty, justice, and equality for our LGBT youth of today. We're fighting for their freedom to live happily without a government or religious body that sanctions their being attacked, both emotionally and physically. We're fighting for their freedom to marry the one they love, just as their straight counterparts will do. We're fighting for equality, for ourselves as well as for them.
And, we're passing the torch.
Because of the Internet, there's a "right-now-ness" that we didn't have in generations gone by. We can, and do, connect with people all around this massive globe at the click of the "send" button. And, as a result, there's a movement going on right now that is going to change the world as we know it. A paradigm shift. Yes, we the children of Stonewall are paving the way. However, the torch is also being passed to some very strong, very dedicated young leaders. And, they need to be recognized for the work they're doing:
- Christi O'Connor contacted me about a month ago about the Monster March Against Bullying. The goal is for at least 10,000 LGBT teens to march to the step of San Francisco's City Hall in an effort to compel their leaders that "It HAS TO Get Better". The Rodemeyers will be there. Jonah Mowry and his family will be there. That's powerful stuff. And, all of this was organized by TEENS!! On her wall, Christi posted this:
The official website goes up on Monday. Looking forward to checking that out. Looking forward even more to October and their Monster March!!
- While not at teen, at 23, Mark Blane is still young enough to be considered part of the youth movement. This very talented director/playwright/activist is putting his best effort into making a difference. On June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, the play, which Mark wrote and directed, "The Rock and The Ripe" will go into production in Chicago. The play is about "the bullied and bruised Gay Youth of America". There's also a book by the same title. But, most importantly, Mark has a fundraiser page in place in an attempt to take this provocative and important play national. This very compelling video makes you understand what's at stake.
And, then there's 18-year-old Brett Simpson. I had seen this video response floating around for a while but, quite frankly, didn't watch it because I'd grown weary of the "flash-card messages". Eventually, of course, I gave in and watched it. (it kept popping up here and there, so I figured there had to be something to it. I was right.) Watching that video changed my life. Here was this handsome 18-year-old who, himself, had been badly bullied!, reaching out to other teens who were in crisis! He opened his life to the world of LGBT teens, giving almost all of his personal information, and told them "I'm always here for you". That, alone, made my eyes water. Refusing to be "the victim", Brett instead stood strong and reached out. And, the teens have been responding!!! As an example, this message was just posted to his wall: Zachary Smith: "Brett, this is amazing. I know you can do great things for the future of this country. It would be wonderful to meet you someday. Also, make sure you save this somewhere, because coming from someone who wrote something similar about a long battle with learning disabilities, personal written pieces such as this one are very appealing to higher learning institutions, if that's what you plan on doing in the future." He has quite a following in his facebook community, Click "Like" if You Support the LGBT Questioning Community. I've been so impressed with the work Brett's doing, I made him an administrator on my facebook blog page. And, he's done great there, as well.
- As a testimony to the impact Brett is having on the young, up-and-coming LGBT teens, this video was made by a 14-year-old LGBT youth named John. The video is stunning, to say the least. And, to think that a 14-year-old produced it just warms the heart. The message is clear and, coming from someone who is in the age group most affected by the bullying against LGBT teens in this country, and around the world!, it's extremely powerful. If the readers of this blog post click no other link herein, do check out this video.
The world truly is changing, right before our eyes. And, it's changing for the better. Most importantly, the youth-led movement is really getting traction and making a difference. It makes us older warriors feel good to know that the torch is being passed to such capable hands.