Griffin: Elected Officials Have Responsibility to LGBT Youth
June 11, 2012 by Dan Rafter, Associate Director of Communications
HRC’s new youth survey, released last week, contains some findings that all elected officials should take note of: a staggering 92 percent of LGBT youth have heard negative messaging about being LGBT, and 60 percent say they hear anti-gay messages from elected officials. For a community of youth who already face so many struggles, this is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, it’s not surprising. Mitt Romney, in his ongoing bid to stay in good graces with anti-LGBT organizations like NOM, has come out strongly against marriage equality. And in states across the country, some lawmakers have pursued legislation that would make life more challenging for LGBT people, including proposing legislation like Tennessee’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” and “Freedom to Bully” bills, and even an attempt in Oklahoma to re-instate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the state National Guard.
HRC President Chad Griffin called on elected officials to own their responsibility to the nation’s LGBT youth in a recent op-ed in The Hill:
America’s leaders have a responsibility to these youth. Those in power need to realize that their words and actions (or inactions) have severe consequences. Never should a kid have to hear a politician on TV shaming them deeper into the closet or saying that their relationship is worth less than someone else’s. They should be able to go to school every day knowing that adults care about them without worrying about senseless bullying.
Learn more about HRC’s youth survey, “Growing Up LGBT in America,” at www.hrc.org/youth.
Photo (c) Diana Walker
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