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Lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered Americans are in the news - constantly!

Whether it’s on TV, in movies, fighting the courts or sparring with religion, never has there been so much interest in - and controversy around - our lives. And, it’s not just the coming from the straight world or because of marriage equality. This interest in finding out who and what we are and what we can accomplish - is coming from our own LGBT insulated universe.

The way things are shaking out now - regardless of any U.S. Supreme Court ruling - we are learning that we can be who we are and accomplish whatever we want in spite or because of our sexual orientation.

What I find most compelling in all of this, though, is the way that the idea of protecting children and teen-agers is becoming an even more important component in our affairs and discussions. Whether it is SCOTUS citing the dignity of children in same-sex marriages, refusing to reverse a lower court which supported a ban on “gay conversion therapy,” or the murdering of our transgendered (11 so far in 2015), those under 18 are now an even more important part of the LGBT fight for equality.

There was a time - not too long ago - where the only time gay men and children were linked in the same sentence was because it was thought that gay men were pedophiles.

There was a time - not too long ago - where the only time gay men and children were linked in the same sentence was because it was thought that gay men were pedophiles. Further, if we were linked to teen-agers, we were recruiting. Some young transgendered children were thrown out of their homes, beaten, maimed or even murdered by their parents. Lesbian mothers were usually easy targets for losing their biological children in custody battles when vengeful husbands, many times assisted by incredibly hateful jurists, ended up penniless, childless and disgraced. Long-time same-sex lovers or couples or domestic partners were denied the right to adopt.

Biological families didn’t understand our “lifestyle choices.” (Where was the term sexual orientation when we needed it?) Our sexual nature was considered criminal. We were denied the right to marry by all 50 states and District of Columbia. We were thrown out of churches of all persuasions, treated as criminals by police and the courts and as psychologically or physically defective by the medical community.

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To their disgrace, it was the churches who partnered with politicians to craft discriminatory laws, sheltered pedophile priests, teamed with straight spouses to condemn some LGBT youth to a life of self-hate, drugs, prostitution, crime and even suicide because they were born LGBT. Society’s and the churches’ mission was to keep children and the LGBT community as far apart as possible.

Now, in the 21st Century, we are continuing to see and feel new opportunities. We are building on the successes of early LGBT pioneers.

For instance, recently,SCOTUS left intact New Jersey's ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay children. The court declined to hear a challenge to the law, meaning that a ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the ban is final.

In that ruling, the appeals court said the ban did not violate the free speech or religious rights of counselors offering "gay conversion therapy" which they claim will convert homosexual minors into heterosexuals. The court ruled against these licensed therapists and Christian counselors due to their lack of standing. Religious groups still argue that sexual orientation can be changed. This goes against the American Psychiatric Association which declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. (In June 2014, the court also left intact California's conversion therapy ban.)

President Obama declared May to be National Foster Care Month saying, “With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure all qualified caregivers have the opportunity to serve as foster or adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” according to the proclamation. “That is why we are working to break down the barriers that exist and investing in efforts to recruit more qualified parents for children in foster care.” The document also directly addressed LGBT children. “All young people, regardless of what they look like, which religion they follow, who they love, or the gender they identify with, deserve the chance to dream and grow in a loving, permanent home.”

The time has come for America to embrace all of its children, to protect its children, to facilitate loving homes and provide safe schools for its children. Likewise, it is time for all the churches to reflect the love and support needed by all of God’s children. Stop the hate. Stop the killing.


Carl Matthes