Originally, when I stared at my new blank word document for this essay, I closed it almost immediately. I had no idea what I wanted to write – what concerns or interesting things I could rattle on about – and felt frustrated. It’s not uncommon for someone who writes to have no clue what to say, or how to talk about something important to him or her personally. The problem itself wasn’t the writing aspect actually. It’s the idea. The concept. 

What do I want to say? To show people how much I care? To have them care too?

So I closed the document, promising I would come back to it, and went on with my day. I wrote, cleaned, cook – did all the normal house things – read, and still no idea came. I was okay with that though. I had time, and knew that when the 19th rolled around I’d have something to talk about, something besides me, because I wanted an important issue to discuss.

It took a while, but I found what I wanted to write about for this essay. It’s also a fitting essay since we are celebrating International Day Against Homophobia. The concept finally came when a friend on Facebook shared a link about New York Michael Bloomberg and his budget cuts for this year (read the article by DIANE ANDERSON-MINSHALL HERE). Reading the article I was mad, furious even, because how? How could someone who in 2010 said how important shelters were, go and cut their budget two years later?

If you know me, then you know volunteer work is near and dear to my heart. If you don’t know me, then please, lend me your ear for a bit, or your eyes actually since this isn’t a podcast but an essay. My first published work centers around volunteers in a violent crime shelter. I have also written about volunteer work in guest posts before. Which means I have written about this before, in posts and a book, but this time it’s different.

To summarize what I read in a few lines:

Michael Bloomberg called for nearly $7 million in cuts to the city’s ‘Runaway and Homeless Youth Services’, effectively cutting 160 youth shelter beds. The Ali Forney Center, the city’s LGBT center, saw a 40% increase in their waiting list the last year alone and only has 250 beds available – there are an estimated 4,000 homeless youth in NYC, many of them LGBT. This is the same administration that released a report recognizing the need of shelter services for LGBT youth because they stood at a higher risk for violent assault, HIV infection and suicide, and the report called for 100 additional beds.

Now, whether the youth is LGBT or not, Bloomberg cuts would affect all youths in the program. Children. Adolescents. Teens – whatever you want to call them – are going to lose services they need, that protect them, to help balance a budget.

I understand that there are financial crises happening around the world, that budgets have to be met, that somewhere someone will no longer be getting services they feel they need. I get that. I also understand that the minority of people are deciding the world’s financial future and deciding what is or is not necessary as part of services rendered. I get that, too. Do I like it?

No.

I don’t think anyone does. That’s why people have a voice. To speak out against things they perceive as unjust.

Before the age of eighteen, we as adults are responsible for feeding, clothing, and educating our children. I could never but a proviso on that as a parent, but that’s how I was raised. Other people were raised differently, the views in their houses more restrictive. Society as a whole has changed drastically in the last decade or two thanks to advancements in technology and the internet. We have a generation of kids who grew up on computers and were exposed to more than we ever were at their age. It’s the same generation of kids who were taught tolerance, and would have a hard time understanding not being accepted for who they were by their parents.

My generation normally – not always – came out after/maybe during college. It was actually the longtime stance of many LGBT organizations to tell my generation to wait until they were educated, could financially provide for themselves, and then come out to their families. But today’s youths have been taught to take pride in themselves, that individually should be tolerated and are coming out younger and younger – 10, 11, 12, 13 – doing so before they can really understand the concept of waiting in case of a negative reaction from their parent.

Which brings to why the youth shelter services are so important.

They provide for kids who cannot provide for themselves.

Youth who are not ready to be sent out into the world at large.

What bothers me most about the cuts are that they affect youth and youth programs. The keyword being youth. Services like these are needed because LGBT youth are a high-risk group and need our help. Youths are so much more susceptible to the actions of others, and don’t always have the means to fight back. Financially or emotionally. They are at the mercy of whoever provides for them.

In today’s world, adults expose kids to a lot of different concepts, ideas, and experiences, either as parents, relatives, teachers, a media personality – whatever they may be. We affect how they grow and function in society until they are able to provide for themselves. What we say and do impacts our youths a great deal, and shapes the kid’s character as they get older. And for LGBT youth who are thrown out of their house by narrow-mindedness, they need someone who is willing to help them, to give them the safe-harbor they were denied.

To me, there had to be another cut somewhere that didn’t affect our services to our most precious commodity… kids – their innocent and wonder of the world makes it a better place every day. They symbolize our hope and promise to the future. The least we can do is give some back to them.

Thank you for sticking with me and reading my essay. Pass it on if you want, let someone else know about what’s happening to NYC youth services. Help give LGBT youth and all youths a voice.

You can find me at:

http://freddymackay.blogspot.com

http://freddysstereograph.weebly.com

News:

My latest release, called Moving Mountains, was released back on April 28th with Silver Publishing. My upcoming release, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, is being released July 21st through Silver as well.

Blurbs & Buy Links:

Moving Mountains
After being dumped by his lover, George Sanders threw himself into his research burying his broken heart. When his friend Max kisses him, can George figure out what's going before it's too late or will Max leave him for good?
George Sanders threw himself into his research trying to bury his broken heart. The past week out in the field gathering research for his doctorate thesis hasn't gone any better than the previous six months. The only positive is the company of his friend, and lab assistant, Max Flint.

Max's behavior has become erratic and their conversations awkward and stilted. When Max kisses him and asks for more, George isn’t sure he can handle his advances, especially if Max is leaving for another university.

Can George figure out what's happening before it's too late and Max leaves him for good? Or will the past keep him from seeing what's been right in front of him for the last four years?

Silver Publishing: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/new-release-c-1/products_id/1054/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Moving-Mountains-Finding-Spin-Off-ebook/dp/B007Z3QY3M/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_2

Incubation: Finding Peace 2
After David's attack, the makeshift group that has become his friends, tries to form a protective cocoon round him, holding him together. The problem is, they don’t know the whole story and David finds the constant noise a distraction instead of helpful. Can he really open up and let go? Will everyone surrounding and cheering for David really help him, or will it push him closer to the edge?

CONTENT ADVISORIES: This title contains both MF and MM scenes.

Silver Publishing: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/coming-soon-c-2/products_id/857/

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