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It's a huge problem, Martin, and not only in Florida. In most of the world, you still aren't officially "allowed" to identify as LGBT until you're over 18, which leaves millions of teenagers in a sort of "sexual purgatory". Even in those more enlightened countries (mostly in Europe) who have set the age of consent at a more sensible age, "str8" adults are uninterested to help, mostly considering it to be a "passing phase", whilst LGBT adults are often afraid to get involved for fear of being branded "perverts" or worse. Most of the counselling and assistance organisations still seem to take a "Thou shalt not" approach to working with gay teens, schools are unwilling or unable to address LGBT issues, being branded "over-liberal" if they even try, and, unfortunately, a LOT of parents are still sadly uneducated about the whole issue. It leaves the average gay teenage boy, especially those under 16, with no option but to search for their "support" in cruising areas and toilets. Successive governments have thrown tid-bits to the campaigning organisations to "keep them quiet", the whole idea of "Gay Pride" has become something of a joke and an excuse for an annual knees-up, and, in the meantime, LGBT teens are still out there contemplating, and committing, suicide and self-harm, while the adult "majority" of the LGBT community sit back, pat themselves on the back, and talk about "how far we've come"! In many ways, things are worse now than they were decades ago. At least when the whole scene was "underground", there was a sense of community. These days it seems like it's more and more "Everyone for him/her-self".


I have been in a volunteer 'Buddy" organization--we help teenagers with AIDS who have been living on the streets hustling for a shower or a sandwich (not a very good picture of gay men--most are not pedophiles in the true meaning of the word--many are lonely and will pay a hustler to spend the night with them--but that's a whole other post!) and most are dying--we have a strict rule that NO adult be alone with a child--that there be two, preferably one of each sex, with them to avoid any accustaions.
I was out as a teenager in the late 40s, early 50s, and though it was suppose to be so bad I had a great time as a gay teenager--I was emotionally supported, mentored, taught how to take care of myself, etc. Yes I was arrested for 'soliciting' in a park but that is still done today.
In many ways with our secret signals---penny loafers, pinky rings, red ties, etc.,--life was better then. No I haven't forgetten people being fired for being gay, names published in papers after a raid at the baths, etc., but many of those things still happen.
Ian ,"These days it seems like it's more and more "Everyone for him/her-self"." was said back in the 50s and 60s and though more came out the percentage who helped was/is about the same---too many a drink at a bar is more important than helping others and that makes me sad.


Totally agree, Martin, but one of the big problems I see in the "Western World" is the "drinking culture". Gay guys tend to meet in bars, which, whilst it doesn't provide the healthiest lifestyle, is mostly safe. Regardless of the age-of-consent in any country, the fact is that so long as that culture continues, and you have to be 18 or 21 to go into a bar, most gay teenagers will be putting themselves at massive risk by hanging out in cruising areas or "Tea-rooms"/"Cottages". It also doesn't help that the almost universal voting age, regardless of age-of-consent or age of majority, is 18. It means that no government has a vested interest in improving the situation. To me, things would really start to change for the better, not just for LGBT people, but for everyone, if the voting age was reduced to 16. I think that would give us better balanced, more representative government, and policies which looked more to the future and less to the "conservative" past.

If governments had to think more about the "youth vote" before making policy decisions, they would be far more inclined to address the issues which affect youth.

There are those who say that a 16 year old is not mature enough to vote. I disagree. Most 16 year olds I've known were more than capable of making a political decision, and those few who weren't (and, face it, there are also a lot of much older people who aren't!) probably wouldn't vote anyway, or would "waste" their vote on a "joke" party.


The bar scene is changing a lot as is 'outdoor' cruising---most are using the Internet--even the hustlers.
When I was 13 or 14 I was cruising 'old' men of 19 and 20 if not older--and I am getting all kinds of bull from that at a blogging site because I said that--I looked older and was going to bars and baths in my teens--I knew what I was doing and, yes, maybe 1 or 2 were pedophiles--I am not condoning pedophiles but they didn't take advantage of me--and in many ways these 'old' guys taught me a lot about life and love--I could write a book about it--in fact I have! 3 to be exact!!LOL
Now most teenagers aren't political and that is fact--they are 'busy' looking for the love (lust) of their life--most people become political in their late 20s, early 30s but I worry about where are the doers of tomorrow???

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