Why should my son/daughter attend the Pride Youth Program's youth center?
"When our son came out to us we both were uninformed about gender issues/ homosexuality, etc. We did a lot of information gathering. We were deeply disturbed when we found out that the rate of teen suicide among gay teens was much higher than that of heterosexual teens. Although our son seemed comfortable, we didn't want to take any chances. In addition to that we felt that he had no role models, especially living in the northwest suburbs. There was no organization at his high school to belong to. When I called and questioned that, I was told that it was to "protect" the gay/lesbian students since no one else was "out" at his school. Our son told me that most of his communication with other gay men was on the internet. That really scared me. We wanted him to have a safe place to go to discuss issues that he needed to talk about, get safe, reliable information about safe sex, HIV info/testing, and be with other gay and lesbian people in a safe environment. I visited the group, met the staff and some of the kids and was comfortable that he had made a good choice. As the weeks went by, we became more and more grateful for the Pride Youth Group and for the staff. The meetings reassured us that he had someone who really cared about him other than his family. The Pride group became his "extended" family and eventually it provided him with a way to give back through volunteering. The program is well named! It gave him a sense of pride in who he is and Pride will always have our never-ending support because of that."
Mrs. J. G.