When I was growing up in the ‘60s I was inspired and empowered by the Civil Rights Movement. Not only was the minority standing up for themselves and saying enough is enough, people in the majority stood alongside them as this country went through one of the most transformative periods in its history.
A moment like that is upon us again and this time the minority is the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. This time it is straight people who are beginning to stand side by side with their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to say that this country is about equality, fairness and that never ending pursuit of happiness.
That is one of the reasons why we founded the True Colors Fund, to lend a helping hand in encouraging my straight peers to get informed and give a damn about equality.
While great strides have been made in recent years, when people can still be fired in over half the states because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender… when couples cannot get married simply because they love someone of the same gender… when young people are so bullied and tormented that they feel their only way out of that hell is to end their lives… it’s clear we still have a long, long way to go before we achieve full equality and acceptance in this country.
In particular, we need to help young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Kids who are coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity are often told by their families, peers, and other influential people in their lives that who they are is somehow shameful or unacceptable. They are often rejected and thrown out of their own homes.
We all hear statistics that are shocking, but when I learned that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth make up anywhere between 20% to 40% of all homeless youth, yet only 3% to 5% of the general youth population in this country, I was furious.
As a parent, I cannot understand those who would kick out their kid simply because they are gay or transgender. Your child is a part of you, throwing them out on the street is like ripping out a part of your own soul. That is why the True Colors Fund continues to work to raise awareness about this issue and develop solutions to ending this epidemic. We will not rest until that percentage goes from 40 to none.
Everyone—whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender—should be allowed to show their true colors, and be accepted and loved for who they are. Every American should be guaranteed equal treatment, at school, at work, in their relationships, in service of their country…and in every part of their lives.
It’s time for us all to join together and say enough is enough. I hope you will stand with us as we continue to move our work forward.
All my best,