Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Iowa Teen Triumphs Over Bigoted Parents

Iowa teen Ben Alley just graduated from high school. Unlike most of his peers, Ben already knows what it's like to live on his own in the real world. His parents kicked him out when he was 16 and he's been supporting himself for the past two years with a job at Walmart while finishing high school.

The Des Moines Register reports that things are looking up for this brave young man.

Ben Alley misses his parents. He's 18 and just graduated from East Marshall High School in Le Grand, with scholarships to almost cover his costs at the University of Iowa. It's a time for open houses and pride. But he won't be getting that from his once-close family -- the Southern Baptist minister father and the mother who home-schooled him early on.
They're not dead; he's dead to them. In sophomore year, Ben informed his parents that he is gay. They informed him he wouldn't be coming home after school the next day -- or ever again.
"I do miss them," he said after events last Friday honoring him and other winners of the Matthew Shepard and First Friday Breakfast Club scholarships that are given to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender young leaders. "But I've learned to cope with that because there's really nothing I can do." His parents have since moved back South.
It really does get better!

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  1. I believe these kids need solid, real support systems. They need support from within their local LGBTQ communities, from adults who have been through similar situations as they now face. Yes, it does get better, but it takes effective support to already exist, to not have these kids kicked to the street w/o anyone to help them. It takes real support that is visible to them, and ready for them early on, so that they do not become a tragedy.I believe the story above is not a reflection of the majority of these types of situations. The vast majority are homeless, drug addicted young prostitutes who are lost and forgotten. We as an LGBTQ community must rise to fill this desperate need, a need which sadly is present in the Roanoke region.

  2. Very well said, Frank. There are far too many stories that don't have happy endings. It's up to us older members of the community to make a difference for those coming after us.


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