I spent the afternoon talking about my work and more specifically about homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender issues with a young man who met with me and a couple of my friends for lunch. It was an expected conversation but this is how they often happen. He asked me if I ever get tired of debating about sexuality...I kind of laughed and said, "I don't debate about it. I explain what I know to be true from my perspective." I am understanding now that many heterosexual people have never actually had an open discussion with a person from the GLBT community who will talk freely in order to help them understand. In the beginning of the conversation he talked a lot about preferences and choices. I hope by the end of the conversation he was understanding that my preferences are the type men I am attracted to not that I am attracted to men with the same being true for him and his attraction to women. I had a great time talking with him and I'm sure the people at nearby tables at Cracker Barrel got more than they bargained for from lunch at the restaurant! We can create a safer and healthier community for everyone and often it is done person by person in order to make the biggest difference.
This evening we had our monthly youth peer support group. We had 3 adults and 3 teenagers. While transporting a young man home from group we were able to have a discussion about his plans for work and/or school after his graduation. I offered him any assistance I can give as he considers registering for college and looks for resources to make it possible. He will also need a job but he doesn't have a car so there are several obstacles to overcome. Many of us know the difficulties we faced when going to college and finding those first jobs. Looking back I had many advantages I was not aware of at the time. I had relatives to help me get those first minimum wage jobs and I had prepared somewhat to get ready for college. Many young people don't have these simple advantages but they do have the desire as this young man said today, "to make something out of his life." I wish I had more resources because then the agency would have them but I will continue to do the best I can with what I am given.