When I was a kid, a teen, and then a young adult, I would look for information on homosexuality. Back then we didn't have access to computers. I only had access to a small library in a small, rural, southern town. And you can imagine there wasn't a lot of information out there.<quoted text>
I do. If I gave it any real thought, I'd not be here for the fun factor. I'd leave the matter be. We all know that you are going to have your way, and I just can't resist throwing out the zingers. My thoughts can't matter that much.
Now kids and teens have access to the internet. And I firmly believe that some gay teens and young adults find their way to these forums and read what people say. They're trying to understand themselves better and trying to figure out where they are able to fit in society.
I think that these kids (I call anybody under 30 a kid) are damaged, hurt, frightened, and feel a sense of isolation when they read some of the negative posts that find their way to this forum.
Even the comments that you say are made in fun can have a negative impact on them.
It is true that even though our country has come a long way in supporting LGBT people--especially the young--there are still kids out there in rural locations where they are so scared of coming out. They fear being harassed at school and in the community. And they fear losing their family and friends.
I guess what I'm saying is that I wish we could tone down the rhetoric and nastiness on here.
Words absolutely have an impact. They can encourage others to act abusive towards gay people and they can cause gay youth to act in negative ways towards themselves.
Nobody suspected that I was gay when I was growing up. But those kids who were effeminate or tom-boyish were such targets. I saw how they began to skip school--some dropped out. Some failed classes. Some got caught up in drugs. No one I knew tried to kill themselves. But that does happen.
Do you think we can just tone it down a little?