Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gay youth, health, and Trump

President Lyndon Johnson set up the Kerner Commission in the late 1960s to investigate the underlying causes of nationwide riots (Newark, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Detroit, etc.). The commission's stunning conclusion was that America was two societies, separate and unequal, increasingly moving apart. As I began to talk to varied audiences with A Thousand Moms, I realized that a similar gap existed today with the gay community. Despite important successes, e.g., marriage equality, mainstream America didn't know about the LGBT community and rather than learning from an increased public awareness of LGBT issues, they remained profoundly unaware of gay life and the severe and unique stresses that can attend it--except in extraordinary circumstances. 

A Thousand Moms' mission is to educate parents, teachers, social workers, counselors, clergy, and the concerned layperson so that in an optimum world, they can support LGBT youth with a deeper understanding of a group of people seemingly from a completely different world. I wrote Healing the Brain: Stress, Trauma and LGBT/Q Youth because I had the training to do it--15 years as an editor to the world's top neuroscientists at the Dana Foundation--and access to my partner Fred's experience in child development. I was also peeved that my previous employer, in its massive reference on the brain, mentioned gay people only once. The reference blithely said that people attracted to the same sex seem to commit suicide in larger numbers and we don't know why. (Or care.) 

So this book is about the brain, but really about surviving extraordinary stress and trauma and protecting our heath. I have been given many accolades for the book, the best one calling it pioneering. But kind words have not translated into wide interest and in this world of self-publishing, the task of getting the word out has been very difficult. Therefore I am now circulating sample chapters so people can get a feel for the book and make an informed decision about getting a copy. Many books on LGBT life get called reference books or "a contribution to the literature," which means being put on a book shelf to die quietly. I am determined not to let that soft bigotry stop this important information from reaching people who can help LGBT youth--and adults--and make a real difference in our lives. We have a public health crisis in the gay community, still and perhaps worsening. And come a new administration that promises rollbacks, not progress, we are going to need education, awareness, and support more than ever. Please take a look at this sample e-book and share it. 


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