We talk a lot in the LGBT community about authenticity. The virtues, freedoms, and costs of being our authentic selves are themes that underlie our need for openness and "coming out." It's how we as a community respond to bigots who argue that we are free to do what we like "behind closed doors," but we shouldn't acknowledge our sexuality or gender identity in the broader world. Todays What You Need To Know is bookended with videos of young people who have embraced their authentic lives and identities, for good or ill.
First off, we have this incredible It Gets Better video from Derek Nance, (certainly former by now) program director at Mataguay Scout Ranch, and a former Boy Scout who achieved his Eagle. In the video, he speaks with evident passion about the importance that Scouting and Mataguay in particular, plays in his life and his identity. Mr. Nance seems to be someone who not only was a Scout, but truly lives for, and has been shaped by, his experiences as part of the BSA.
But he speaks with even greater eloquence of the distance not being able to be his authentic self put between him and some of the people who matter most in his life. In coming out, particularly in such a public way, Derek Nance has almost certainly, and for the foreseeable future, burned his bridges with the Boy Scouts of America. Despite this, he remains positive throughout the video, and clearly believes that the day will come when Scouting will be a more inclusive and welcoming part of our society. In a sense, one could argue that his powerful act of bravery and authenticity was as much a final service to Scouting as it was to his own happiness.At the end of today's What You Need To Know, you'll find a link to an equally remarkable and (much) younger person in the form of Jazz. She's an eleven year old trans* girl who in her short life has put a public face to the trans* experience of young children; appearing on 20/20, founding a movement affirming the lives of trans* youth, successfully challenging the United States Soccer Federation to allow her to play, and most recently, being awarded a prestigious and well-deserved award for LGBTQ young people of courage.
We talk a lot about authenticity, but it's good to know we have young folk like Jazz and Derek around to remind us what that really means if we should loose track.
And now, here's what else you need to know today: