Camping.OUT Provides Support For Gay Teens

GayMICHIGAN – Alexandra Rouble of DeWitt and Travis Navarro, both 17, have become fast friends. But their lives are very different.
Alexandra – boisterous and confident – said her school’s administrators are understanding and supportive. She will soon be the president of DeWitt High School’s gay-straight alliance.
In the rural community of Manchester, Travis said, everyone is not quite as accepting of gay people.
“I don’t go to football games,” he said. “I’ve gotten threats to be beaten up if I show my face there.”
At Michigan’s first-ever state- licensed camp for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied youth, though, they both get to experience acceptance. In between the water games, craft projects and hikes at this northern Michigan camp, these 14 teens talk about ways to tell their friends and family that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
They’re learning how to be advocates for gay rights and getting guidance on being comfortable and confident with their sexuality.
The weeklong Camping.OUT program, created by the Triangle Foundation, ended Friday. It is one of about six in the country.
At this camp – the location of which is not being named for the safety of the campers – there is no harassment.
There are 452,569 teens ages 15 to 17, in Michigan, according to 2005 U.S. Census figures. It’s believed that, about one in 10 people are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Many report experiences like that of Travis. He hopes to start an alliance at his school to help combat these occurrences.
There are at least 83 gay-straight alliances now up and running in high schools across Michigan and more than 3,000 nationwide, according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Triangle Foundation said that these organizations are support groups for teens seeking to come out and for anyone seeking to instill tolerance within their school buildings.
from The Lansing State Journal

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