On Sunday, May 25, 1997, Ann Landers responded to a young gay man in need of support. In her response, she has shown herself to be a friend to youth who face isolation and discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The Ann Landers column is syndicated in over 1,200 newspapers and reaches 90 million people. The article is printed below.
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition has already received a couple dozen letters and calls and expects to receive many more. NYAC will be referring young people to support groups in their area; parents to PFLAG chapters; and will send basic information on supporting GLBT youth to those individuals who contact our office.
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition is the only national organization solely focused on advocacy, education, and information affecting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and their allies. Over 100 national and community-based agencies have become members of NYAC to improve the lives of GLBT youth.
Ann Landers Column, Sunday, May 25, 1997
Dear Ann: For the past few months, I have been thinking seriously about killing myself. I have tried to think of reasons not to, and the only thing I can come up with is that it would cause my family a lot of grief. I am 15 and feel so alone. I am scared. I feel worthless. The problem is that I am absolutely certain that I am gay. At 15, a guy should be thinking about what he wants to do in life, not how to kill himself. I have always wanted to get married and have children, but I now know that lifelong dream is impossible. If there were some pill I could take to make all these sexual desires go away, I would gladly take it. This isn't the easiest letter to write, Ann. I have nobody to talk to, and I need your advice more than anything. I can't talk to my mother because I am scared to death of how she would take it. Please, Ann, help me. I can't go on this way much longer. -- Hampton, Va.
Ann responds: You are not alone. According to some studies, an estimated 10 percent of individuals, worldwide, are homosexual. Did you know that Alexander the Great, Leonardo DaVinci, Michelangelo, actor Rock Hudson, rock star Freddie Mercury, author Truman Capote, poet Allen Ginsberg and playwright Tennessee Williams were gay? They were outstanding in their fields and contributed a great deal to the world. Homosexuals are born, not made. They cannot change themselves. You need counseling to help you accept yourself as you are. Your favorite teacher, school counselor or family doctor should be able to recommend someone who can help you. You have already taken the first step by writing to me. Now keep going, and get yourself some supportive professional help. Write to the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, 1711 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 206, Washington, D.C. 20009. Good luck.