Friday Feedback: Combating the Current Hostile Climate for Gay Americans

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Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by TJ Dietderich commenting on the ongoing struggle for marriage equality:

It’s not an easy time to be gay in America. With the passage of Prop 8 in California, the current climate seems particularly hostile. But at the same time, we’re witnessing the legalization of same-sex marriage in other states like Connecticut. For young gay Americans, it is a mixed message that leads them to ask: Am I welcome here or not? How can I reconcile my faith with my orientation? Will my parents still love me? For many, the answering silence is a crisis that must be addressed.

A new book, CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America (www.crisisbook.org), is an expose of the mental health risks many young gay people face. The editor, Mitchell Gold, was named one of the nation’s most beloved entrepreneurs by Inc magazine, and one of the most powerful gay Americans by Out magazine. He also founded Faith in America, an organization dedicated to fighting religion-based prejudice.

Members of the gay community have contributed essays on what it was like to grow up without support from family, friends, church, or school—and how they triumphed over the challenges.

Crisis contributors include:

  • Rev. Dr. Mel White
  • Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop
  • MSNBC political analyst Hilary Rosen
  • actor Richard Chamberlain
  • Congressman Barney Frank
  • tennis champion Martina Navratilova
  • the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador, Jim Hormel
  • former Major League Baseball player Billy Bean
  • Bruce Bastian, one of America’s wealthiest people
  • MTV-VH1-LOGO President Brian Graden
  • Candace Gingrich, sister of Newt Gingrich

“There are teenagers all over the world today in crisis mode because they fear what will happen if others discover their sexual orientation,” says Mitchell Gold. “They suffer debilitating depression, isolation, addiction, and possibly suicidal thoughts. I hope and pray that not one more teenager will have to live this way, the way I grew up.”

This is an indispensable book for those concerned with the issues affecting the gay community’s relationship with faith. If you would like a review copy of CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America to share with your readers, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks,
TJ

Published by the LA Progressive on December 5, 2008
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