June 19, 2019

Saluting Bayard Rustin Center For Initiating the Pride Parade

To the Editor:

I salute the Bayard Rustin Center for initiating the Pride Parade coming this Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. at the Princeton Municipal Building. Family and community acceptance are hugely important for everyone, but especially for LGBTQ+ youth, so this is not without consequences. The parade is a shout-out of acceptance and affection. The Rustin Center says on its invitation “All are welcome, all are loved!”

Through moderating the local PFLAG support group for families, friends, and allies of LGBTQ+ people these past four years at monthly meetings, I’ve had direct experience learning about multiple families with LGBTQ+ kids. Suicide attempts often come up and are discussed. One father said of his child, “Alive is what I hope for and am thankful for, alive and happy would be even better.”

The rate of attempted suicide among lesbian and gay youth is almost five times higher than among heterosexual youth. No less than 40 percent of transgender adults in a national study reported having made a suicide attempt, nine out of ten of them before they reached the age of 25.

Love, indeed, is the answer. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth from families that accept them are 8.4 times less likely to have attempted suicide than LGB youth from highly rejecting families (all statistics from the Trevor Project). The more we as a community demonstrate the love and acceptance the Bayard Rustin Center is fostering, the better. I will march in their parade!

Sylvia Stengle
Markham Road