Guest Blogger

Being a Young Person's Hero

Filed By Guest Blogger | August 16, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: Charles Robbins, coming out of the closet, out celebrity, Prop. 8, public coming out, Stephanie Miller, Trevor Project

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Charles Robbins, the executive director and CEO of The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

To those of us who slip into our rainbow-breasted leotards and pink capes to daily work for "truth, justice and the American way" for LGBTQ people, last week was worthy of celebration. While the foiling of Proposition 8 in California has been the center of much of the attention, I'd like to welcome the addition of a hero to our fight for equality. Last week, talk radio commentator Stephanie Miller publicly came out as a lesbian.

You might ask why yet another celebrity figure coming out is worthy of praise, but to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people - especially young people - who think they are alone out there, another out public figure is a lifeline to them. Every year at The Trevor Project, we talk to as many as 30,000 young people from every state in the U.S. who are considering ending their lives, and in many cases, their Trevor counselor is the first LGBTQ person or affirming ally they've ever been in contact with. To us, the more high profile people who take the step to come out and be role models for young people, the more lives will be saved.

To put it another way, after coming out on Friday, Stephanie interviewed another recently out celebrity, musician Chely Wright, who had actually attempted suicide because she felt she had no way out as a lesbian woman of faith in country music. Since coming out, Chely has used her platform as a celebrity to let young people in rural parts of the U.S. know that they are not alone. Considering more than two-thirds of the youth that contact The Trevor Project don't live near a city, voices like hers are increasingly relevant, especially as we approach National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 5-11).

In order to do something life-changing for an LGBTQ youth, you don't have to be "one of to stand with." Straight allies like Daniel Radcliffe also play important roles in saving lives, just by being public and vocal about equality. The point is, when you are lucky enough to have a voice in the public sphere, you can make a significant impact on the lives of young people. So, as we start another week, and don our capes and spandex to again take up the fight for LGBTQ equality, I say thank you to our newest hero and role model to LGBTQ young people, Stephanie Miller.


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Glad to see you guest posting, Charles. It's been too long since your last one! I think each celebrity that comes out and becomes not necessarily a "role model" but just a visible face for youth is incredibly important.

Thanks, Charles. In working with depressed LGBT youth, I've come to realize the amount of strength that can be pulled from a simple act of standing beside a hurting person, supportive, encouraging words and friendly openness. They can cut through an amazing amount of self doubt and despair.
Everything helps.

A fantastic champion. I remember being in high school and staying up late watching Jerry Springer in the hopes of seeing another gay person. LGBTQ youth today are fortunate to have a spectrum of out people to influence and support them, and great organizations like the Trevor Project to help along the way.

I'm constantly inspired by the number of out and proud LGBT people in the media. Growing up, there were very few LGBT role models that I knew of and it made me feel invisible and alone. Every "Stephanie Miller" of the world sends a powerful message to LGBT youth: The shame and stigma that was once associated with being LGBT is slowly diminishing. It's okay to be who you are and there are plenty of people out there who will love and accept you just as you are. Bravo Stephanie!

Thanks Bil for posting on Bilerico and thanks Gregory for the work you are doing with LGBTQ youth!

I love wearing my standard-issue pink cape, but I can't wait until more LGBTQ heroes start wearing "Trevor Orange" tights.

Great post Charles. I'm a fan of the Trevor Project and also a fan of celebrities, and anyone for that matter, who is open about being gay.

As a young lesbian growing up in Michigan, my role model was Ellen DeGeneres. I still have her "coming out" episode on VHS but sadly, no VCR. It was her voice and strength that got me through my teen years.

Great work on bringing together the voices that the community needs to hear in order to make it through their hard times.

Thank you for being a hero to our children! That makes you my hero.