This post can be applied to absolutely anyone. While I am speaking specifically to the LGBT communities obligations to the young, everything here translates to every young person whose ever had their creative talents pummeled out of them.
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The LGBT community as a whole has always been fantastic about helping gay youth that are coming out of the closet. Campaigns like "Noh8" and "It Gets Better" are fantastic vehicles for helping LGBT youth in overcome obstacles and show them that its OK to be whomever they wish to be.
But that's usually where it ends. Once that young boy or girl makes the decision to come out, they are promptly forgotten about. Their are a ton of organizations out there to help them understand their life change better. But there are little to no organizations out there that mentor LGBT youth and help provide them with a pathway towards a career that helps them become good people. Many youth get caught up in the bar scene, get a half assed job as a clerk in a Walmart and that's where they stay. They go from being positive about their outlook on life to being bitter and resentful of that life. They get caught up in drugs and sex and they never reach their true potential.
I have a theory. I believe that LGBT persons in past generations had to work so hard to overcome the obstacle of being gay that they challenged themselves to do better. This is one reason I feel there are so many intensely creative people who are also gay. Its not the creativity that makes them gay but the gay that makes them creative. They were forced to overcome such hardships that the only way they could prove to others that they were just as valuable was to force the world to look at them because they contributed such amazing things back to this world.
But I fear that the Elton Johns, Ian Mckellens and Gianni Versaces of the world may be fading away. That's because the youth of today are finding it easier to come out of the closet and then finding they have no guide line to make their lives a positive adventure.
And that is where this article leads back to "the creatives". The artists, musicians, authors, designers who have learned to channel their great gifts into something that society as a whole benefits from. Don't get me wrong, I am not leaving out amazingly talented scientists, engineers,etc. But since I am an artist, this of course is my focus
No matter what your profession is, its a simple fact that we are leaving the youth of today to stagnate. I know that's a lot to lay on anyone's shoulders, but the truth is, if we don't take steps to start mentoring the next generation of LGBT kids, then it will never happen. It has to start with us.
I propose an informal program that involves listening, encouraging and guiding today's youth to help them find out what their true creative talents are. Those talents are in every one of us. Sadly they get pounded out of us in our youth. But they are still lurking on the periphery ready to surge forth in a talented person.
There is a lot of talk these days about taking responsibility for the teaching of the young. It cuts down on crime, lowers drug use, creates responsibility. So why would we think we are exempt from that just because we are gay? We have just as big a stake in seeing our youth grow up strong and vibrant as do straight culture.
So take time to talk to the young. Find out what interests them. Challenge them to find a creative outlet and then foster that outlet into something greater. Within the LGBT population are some of the greatest creative minds this planet has. Help create the next generations great minds!