Anthony Carter

My Deepest Apology to Our Beautiful Youth

Filed By Anthony Carter | March 04, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: coming out of the closet, gay youth, LGBT teens, LGBT youth, mentoring, queer history, suicide prevention

I would like to sincerely apologize for being an elder within the community and not doing my part.

apology.pngYes, I have more life experience and most importantly I grew up in a very different world. When I was a young person coming out, there was no internet or Facebook and definitely no way to investigate, ask questions, or seek support without drawing unwanted and dangerous attention to yourself.

From the looks of things, not much has changed. It appears that the young people of today need the exact same things that we needed then.

We all need love, support and someone who will listen.

I am deeply troubled by all of the pain and subsequent death of our young counterparts. It is my personal mission to provide the hope and support that all of our young warriors will need as they navigate an interesting and constantly changing world.

Please be patient with me and all of the folks who would like to assist you in fully developing your gifts. Understand and accept that there will be mistakes and hiccups along the way. Do not give up on us and we will not give up on you.

We, as a community, can no longer afford to allow one another to feel isolated and alone.

How can we help you?

I wrongly assumed that with all of this overt in-your-face sexuality and access to so many worldly resources that all the fear and angst of being young and gay was a thing of the past. I, like many of my counterparts, after having survived our own upbringing and societal maneuvering, assumed that we made it and this is where it ended.

This is what living in a culture of domination will do to you.

The culture of domination makes you only focus on getting out "surviving," not sharing resources and assisting others. We must build community and the only way to do this is by protecting our greatest asset - our youth.

I want to be clear that dating, having sex with, and socializing is not protecting.

I am not sure this is the best time for this type of interaction and yet there is something very comforting about being in a secure relationship that is healthy and protective.

I exhort all young people to challenge the older generation to make good on our promises. I dare all young people to learn our history and for the older folk to not forget it. I challenge the older generation to remember all of the sacrifices and battles we endured and to exercise patience and solicited insight when dealing with a member of the younger generation.

All of the money and energy spent trying to establish marriage equality won't mean anything if there are so few young people to enjoy it.

Part of the marriage equality conundrum needs to focus on what we can do for youth once this dream is realized.

How will we reimagine and reinvent the world for young people once this goal is attained? If we haven't thought about it, we should.

The young GLBT community needs us.

It is imperative that we don't trot out the same slew of mistakes that were made before. There is no need to.

Hazards can be and should be flagged by older and wiser individuals.

It is their time to dream, plan, live, institute change and they are counting on and need our love and stories of creating and maintaining spaces for self actualization.


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San Francissin | March 4, 2011 7:15 PM

Very nice piece.

One of my personal challenges with interacting with lgbt youth is--internalized homophobia?--i would absolutely not want to ever be mistaken for trying to pick up on some cute young thing. (So I don't talk to them. Although, as a gay man, I do have the occasional young girl friend of 17 or 19 or whatever, i have very little interaction with young guys of that age. Not that great a dynamic, i know, and your column will spur me to try to be more open to them...

Rick Sutton | March 4, 2011 7:49 PM

Oh, Anthony...you're just too damned cute for words. You're NOT an elder. Yet. But your thoughts are pertinent.

Too many of our community's younger members, feel they are isolated or left out, or worse. And they turn to drugs, risky behavior, or worse.

We all need to reach out to them.

Anthony Carter | March 4, 2011 10:12 PM

thanks so much for the post and pointing out that I've yet to reach elderhood...

As a queer youth, thanks for this. Glad to know there's adults thinking of us!

For transgender youth and their families there is a wealth of information and support available at www.imatyfa.org.

As a straight friend of LGBT, thank you for a thoughtful and caring - from the heart- letter.. If only my dear friend, Gene, could have had something like this available to him, he would not have felt so alone...THANK YOU for thinking of others...isn't THAT what it's all about, anyway??????? Gay people are only a blessing..!......and that is the message I share...wherever I can...after all, it's only the truth...!

I agree! Taking it upon myself to seek LGBTQ history out has been transformative for me

"I want to be clear that dating, having sex with, and socializing is not protecting."

Yeah, but it can still be helpful for the youth. I was pretty much exclusively having sex with older men when I was younger (still am), and I think it made me a better person for it. Youth may not know everything, but they aren't delicate flowers who must be denied agency.