Taking Care of Our Own LGBTI Youth
The holiday season is in full swing, and I'm sure you have all received many appeals from charities of every type.
Recently, there was a surprise (to me) revelation about the specific homophobia of the Salvation Army. I have seen firsthand their help to the victims of all the floods in Bound Brook and Manville in recent years, and I was impressed. I know that they never asked about anyone's sexual orientation, and their help was greatly appreciated. As I have read the Salvation Army's official stand on homosexuality, I am feeling very much at ease ignoring the red kettles which appear at almost ever major store and shopping mall. Recently, I was made aware of a charity which helps OUR OWN LGBTI YOUTH. It is really about time that we set aside a donation for these (our own ) people who are having a very bad time of it.
The Ali Fortney Center in Manhattan serves GLBTI teenagers who have come out and then been thrown out of their homes at ages as young as 13. The startling fact is that 40 percent of our own youth are homeless in Manhattan. They often resort of selling themselves in the human trafficking menace of prostitution. Some become the victims of pimps. Many turn to drugs. The charity is named after Ali Fortney who was homeless on the streets of New York from the age of 13 until his death at age 22. He advocated for homeless young people and he was committed to HIV awareness and prevention. He aggressively demanded a police response to the killing of two of his friends. Ali Forney was murdered in Harlem, and the murderer(s) have never been found.
If you want to help these young people, especially at a time when there are more festivities snd we may feel more generous, your donation to this charity will work wonders. It would help to make a better holiday for these kids and improve their lives far past the holidays. Your money will also help to provide emergency housing, transitional housing while they acquire vocational skills. Most importantly, it gives these young people counseling and a structured approach to grow into proud, healthy and thriving men and women. They suddenly have a safe haven where they never had this before.
Do what your heart and your wallet dictate, but try to help out. Many of us in the LGBTI community think they have no children. THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN, and helping them is a priority.
Please send what you can to:The Ali Forney Center, 224 West 35th Street, Suite 1102, NY, NY 10001
On a more personal note, I wish all of our readers a great holiday and a better year in 2012.