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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center helps gay teens at risk

"Darien Winston [pictured] is happy - finally. No longer jobless, homeless or hopeless, the 23 year old is now very much comfortable in his own skin. That wasn't always the case when he first realized he was gay."

Felicia Thomas-Lynn reports:
"I thought I was going to Hell, and there was a demon living inside of me," said Darien Winston, whose discovery at age 14 led to a years-long battle with shame and self-loathing.

In the depths of despair, he tried twice to end his life - first by slitting his wrists, then by trying to drink himself to death. "I was in the red emotionally," said Winston, who left home at 18.

"I was just thrown into the world," he said. "I knew absolutely nothing."

After a few missteps, he was directed to the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, which runs a support program, Project Q, for gay and questioning youth.

"We have created safe space for young people to just be, whatever that being looks like," said Julie A. Bock, director of programs for the center. "We work closely with young people to resolve whatever is going on in their lives.

There is nothing that's forbidden," she said. "You want to talk about safe sex, that's fine. We go there. Whatever the crisis is, we help them resolve it."

She said gay youth are at a significantly higher risk for depression, substance abuse and suicide than their heterosexual peers. "They face discrimination, oppression and low self-esteem," Bock said. "They also take more risks." READ MORE
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
Mission: To further develop our vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the greater Milwaukee area, thus improving the quality of life for all of us.
Address: 315 W. Court Street, Suite 101, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Phone: (414) 271-2656Web site: www.mkelgbt.org

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