Last night James and I attended the Live Out Loud Spring Gala, an event that honors GLBT high school seniors with scholarships for college. Over the course of the evening, six bright-eyed and truly outstanding kids shared their stories of leadership and their plans for college. One of the kids even wants to be President some day (though he should know that the Gay Conservative Liberal is a trademarked name).
It was a lovely night, if only because I got to see James at a resaonable hour on a weekday. But it was also nice to see so many dashing gay men raising a glass and digging into their pockets to invest in the future of our community. While I rarely look at men unless they're of a certain age and tax bracket, I realize that for every liberated man-about-town in Chelsea there's a kid somewhere that has to take a leap into the unknown and make something of his life -- even if people around him say he doesn't have much a life to hope for.
Fortunately a lot of these kids go on to do some amazing things. Or at least they're going to try. And when you look at the options available to young people today, regardless of their sexual orientation, you realize that by virtue of understanding the concept of community and of wanting to be better and do better for others, some kids really are Young Trailblazers (that's the name of the award last night's kids won).
High school wasn't THAT long ago for me. Though I was lucky enough to attend the High School for the Performing Arts here in New York (I majored in fine art), I didn't come out of the closet until I was 22. Surrounded by dancers and boys in mascara I still couldn't muster the courage to say "by the way everyone, I'm REALLY into Antonio Sabato Jr and his picture in my locker isn't just unfortunately stuck and unremovable." I don't even think the promise of a scholarship would have lured me out of the closet.
So, congratulations to yesterday's winners and tomorrow's leaders. As the closet door cracks open even more we're going to need outspoken, driven young men and women to stand up not just for the rights of a certain group, but for fairness for all people.