Gay Teenagers Need the Internet
The Internet serves as a platform for gay teens to express their feelings and concerns about being gay. Beyond the pornography on the Net there are also valuable and useful resources that gay teens can take advantage of. But why are these teens t using to the Internet for support? Most of the teenagers questionned for this discussion indicated that parents are not supportive of a homosexual way of life.
Most people would agree that adolescent years are some of the toughest in a persons' life. Teens are getting to know themselves sexually and learning about the world around them. While participating in a gay teen chat room, it was obvious that many g ays teens felt isolated and confused about their sexuality and turned to the Internet for advice. Unfortunately, most of the information on the Net pertaining to the gay community consists of pornographic pictures and chat rooms with dialogue full of gra phic sexual detail. Just type the word "gay" in any search on the Net it hundreds of links to x-rated sites will appear. This, of course, is not suitable for a young gay teenager in need of support. Fortunately, amongst all the porn there are wonderful sites that provide support, answer questions, and provide links to other helpful resources.
Many organizations and support groups use the Internet as their main source for posting information about gay and lesbian issues. Organizations like PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesb ians and Gays) provide education and support for gay teens, as well as gay adults. Branches of PFLAG can be found all over the United States. Each of these branches can be accessed through the PFLAG Web site. The site is full helpful links and encourag ing stories of other gay families. For example, in the small town of Seymour, Pennsylvania, the mother of a gay teenage boy started a branch of PFLAG. The boys' name is Bruce Murray and his story of har assment and torment was printed in the Philadelphia Daily News and later on the Internet. The publishing of this article helped Bruce and his mother fight against the lack of tolerance for gays in high schools. They also continue to help supo rt the broadening of sex-education programs in public schools. Bruce Murray has become a leader of gay activism as a result of his struggles as a teenager. These types of stories on the Internet could help a gey teenager who is looking for support or ad vice.
A site called We Are Family (WAF) provides an abundance of information and links to other helpful sources to support the gay community. Tome Myers, Director of WAF, was asked his opinion about whether or not the infor mation on the Net was useful for young gay teens. He wrote, "Any contact with whom one can be oneself is bound to be helpful to someone who feels isolated and alone. The Net cannot, however, replace loving, accepting parents and other adults, and the co mpanionship of peers." It is evident...