In light of October 11th being National Coming Out Day, I thought this is an important topic to discuss.
Last week the New York Times published an article about kids in middle school coming out. You can read it here. As with most everything else in today’s culture, youth are getting exposed to, and declaring themselves to be a variety of things at younger and younger ages. There are a few research studies that have been released recently that state the average age of someone who first realizes their same-sex attraction is 13 years old. Those studies also state that the average age of someone who now comes out and declares themselves GLBT is 15 years old. Let those two numbers soak in for a moment: 13 and 15. And those are averages. It’s almost superficially validating for me to see this article, because most of the time whenever I speak in Christian circles, hardly any of them believe me when I say this topic needs to be talked about early, because waiting until high school is too late! I usually get funny looks and some people stop paying attention because they think I’m nuts. So, just in case any of those people are reading this, please read the NY Times article that backs my, and many others’ experiences. Thanks.
I have said for the last few years that the culture war is not an adult issue (even though adults are the ones that strongly perpetuate it, disseminate it, impute it, get media time, etc), but rather at its core is a youth issue. That is why I make a point to speak at as many youth events and partner with as many youth organizations/schools as I possibly can (secular and religious), and think that events such as the Day of Silence are so important to teach our youth (from both communities) how to handle this divisive topic in peaceful and productive ways from early on.
I thoroughly believe mainstream culture will look completely different in the next two decades if we can figure out how to implant Kingdom bridge building in our youth! On we go…
As a side note, the NY Times followed up their middle school article with another that reports on the social pressures of coming out and how it is strongly correlated to the exorbant number of homeless GLBT youth. You can read it here.
This is a lot to chew on—especially since it directly deals with the youth of our country. Middle school pastors and teachers, it’s time to step up!