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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 14, 2005

Youth support broadens as people come out earlier

Columbus--More people are coming out at earlier and earlier ages, said Kaleidoscope executive director Angie Wellman, increasing the need for her organization�s resources.

Wellman spoke at an October 9 fundraiser for Kaleidoscope, Central Ohio�s chief LGBT youth support center. The annual event was hosted by Lynn Greer and Stevie Walton at Greer�s home in Upper Arlington.

Kaleidoscope is currently providing for LGBT youth between the ages of 12 and 20.

Wellman said that sometimes parents of very young LGBT youth have trouble with how young they are when they come out.

�The parents wonder how their kids know they are gay and not just confused,� Wellman said. �But no one asks heterosexual kids when they realized they were hetero and whether they are confused or not.�

Wellman said that one of her organization�s biggest challenges is reaching the most at-risk kids, who ironically, are the hardest to get to. She said that increased access to schools, counselors, nurses and others at schools will help in reaching more and more LGBT youth so that they may have a safe haven in which to deal with their sexuality and coming out.

Patty Daniels, whose efforts gave rise to Kaleidoscope, was also present at the event.

Daniels said that it was �in 1991 that I started a support group for LGBT youth.� She is happy that today such youth have more tools and resources at their disposal but she also feels that much more is still needed to help these kids.

Greer said that she feels �it is time to give to the youth and join together to demonstrate to them that we are committed to Kaleidoscope.�

She said that anyone 35 and older at the event must realize �how hard it was for them to come out� because it was only recently that groups like Kaleidoscope had begun to have an influence on the vulnerability of LGBT youth.

The evening�s entertainment was provided by Vox Alterna, a specialty group of the Columbus Gay Men�s Chorus, accompanied by pianist Norwin Mergler.

According to Wellman, the event drew close to 200 people and raised approximately $20,000 for the organization.

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