Friday, September 09, 2005

Gay Rights: The Next Generation

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Last night I attended the First Annual PFLAG WInston-Salem Kaleidoscope Awards Banquet. It made me so, so happy to see many of the high school aged individuals in attendence. The great majority of those high schoolers are involved in GLSEN Winston-Salem. The Gay Rights Movement is still moving. That's why kids like this make me so happy:
Somehow, word spread. To this day, Tully Satre, 16, does not know how his entire middle school found out three years ago that he was attracted to males. Satre, who was shy and still closeted, lost all his friends. He said teachers at his Catholic school told his parents he was gay and began treating him differently. "I felt like a circus animal," said Satre, a lanky 6-foot-3 Culpeper resident entering his junior year at Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg. "I've had people spit at my feet. I've had people give me harmful remarks." From the day he discovered that everyone knew about his sexuality, life has not been easy for Satre, but it has been getting better. His grades fell but have since improved. Although he has heard hurtful comments from peers and strangers, he said his parents are very supportive. But Satre said he still felt alone in largely rural Culpeper County. There was no place or group that brought gay people together. When the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill in the last session limiting the contractual rights of gay men and lesbians, Satre felt he had to do something. "I wanted somewhere to go," he said. "I didn't really see a lot going on in our community." In June, Satre founded Equality Fauquier and Culpeper, the first gay rights group in those counties. Since then, he has been called a "Future Gay Hero" by the Advocate, a national gay magazine, and articles have been written about him in the Washington Blade and other local newspapers. His group, which has about 35 members, has been recognized by Equality Virginia, a statewide gay rights organization. Its initial goals include persuading schools and local governments to change nondiscrimination policies to include sexual orientation. The group hopes to have booths at gay festivals, participate in an AIDS walk, write to local politicians and perhaps hold a public viewing of a documentary on gay marriage.
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i really loved this article and story, thanks for posting it