Today the New York Times started a marvelous and important weeklong series on the coming-out stories of today's GLBT teens. Judging from this first installment, we'll be meeting some truly brave teenagers - brave in acknowledging their sexuality, and also in admitting they are not out of the woods yet. The sexuality question is settled, but not the further life part. Several describe a lonely world of only online friends. Pockets of light and hope are provided by online communities, school "Gay Straight Alliances," a few accepting family members and friends. Those who are interviewed or write in know that "it gets better." (Several refer to that phrase, or to the thus-named series of videos - our church is making one - made by older GLBT folks after the spate of bullying suicides last year). But with great candor they admit they're still in process; there's much yet in need of improvement. One wants to hug each of them, and thank them for their courage and integrity. You're beautiful, and you make us so proud!
American society is changing with remarkable speed on issues like gay marriage and families. This series confirms, however, that even now most of us aren't born into that world in which we can be at home, and need to find it, claim it, imagine ourselves in it. Tomorrow's installment of the Times series looks to focus on the experiences of religious teens - the ones our video aims at, too. Can't wait!
Update, 28/5: Now that the series is finished, it's the testimonials sent in by readers that are most moving. So many. And such a reminder that there is so much pain, so much loneliness. And these are the ones who lived to tell the tale... If anyone thought that the days of painful coming out (or not) were over, think again.