While i love the Internet for many things, my deepest appreciation concerns how it has helped queer youth come into their own without killing themselves. This is only possible because of the possibility of community and support, people from different geographical regions with good hearts working to help each other make sense of the world.
When i returned to queer youth spaces during my first year of graduate school, i was horrified to find that what was once a safe space for queer youth had become a place where the fundamentalist Christians could attack them. I spent many nights on boards with these kids, hearing how they were attacked by people offline and online, not sure who to trust, not sure where to go. The niche communities that had helped me find grounding were terrifying. I was truly saddened by this.
Max Gordon has just composed an essay called Jesusland where he talks about queer youth, Christian fundamentalism, political anti-queer rhetoric and the responsibilities of a society to take care of its people. We hear about the Gay/Straight alliances but we don’t hear about SAFE – students against faggots everywhere. We don’t hear about what the anti-same-sex marriage is doing to youth. I can’t help but wonder, is there a safe refuge for queers kids now or will the suicide rate just rise?