For many of today's LGBT youth, coming out to one's parents is a much less daunting prospect than it was in the past, as American society's growing acceptance of diverse sexual identities is often translated into a loving embrace within families. Unfortunately, however, an open-armed welcome is still not the universal response. In fact, 50% of LGBT youth still face a negative reaction from their parents upon coming out. In the most extreme form of rejection, LGBT youth are kicked out of their homes by parents unwilling to love and care for them. Although most people would find the idea of a parent abandoning their child abhorrent, it continues to happen with disturbing frequency: around 26% of LGBT youth are kicked out of their homes after coming out. The tragic result is that over 40% of homeless youth in the United States are LGBT.
It is this background that makes one grandfather's letter denouncing his daughter's decision to kick her son out of her home after he came out so compelling.
Obviously emotional at the damage done to his grandson, whose only mistake was being honest, he rightly points out that what is truly unnatural, what is truly an 'abomination', as he says, is a parent's desertion of a child who depends on them. While under no circumstances is such an abdication of one's parental responsibilities acceptable, deciding to do so because of a child's sexual orientation is especially cruel, as it not something the child chooses. On the other hand, as the grandfather explains to this daughter, kicking a child out of one's home is a choice. One that he, as a loving grandfather, simply cannot tolerate.
Ultimately, his promise to provide a loving and secure home for his grandson, something that every child deserves, is what makes him a true hero. However, while applauding this grandfather, it must be remembered that not every LGBT youth kicked out of their home is so fortunate. Ideally, no child, for whatever reason, would find themselves without a place to live. Until that is a reality, society must assume responsibility for those that are and ensure they are not abandoned to homelessness. You can find out how you can help by visiting organizations like the Ali Forney Center. You can also join GLAAD and stand up for LGBT youth by going purple on Spirit Day.