Gay + Lesbian Youth – Making History

Governor William F. Weld,
Massachusetts State House
February 10, 1992

GOV. WELD: The young people of this commonwealth and  every other state are the most precious resource that we have and represent the hopes and the dreams and the very future of the state. The pressures on youth can be tremendous for homosexual, gay and lesbian teenagers in particular those pressures may be multiplied a number of times over.

The unfortunate reality is that nearly 30 percent of youth suicides are committed by gay and lesbian youth and more than 25 percent of young gays and lesbians are forced to leave home because of conflicts over their sexual identity.  Incidents of harassment and violence and discrimination against young people, because of their sexual orientation are all too common.  Our administration, the Weld / Cellucci administration, is committed to putting an end — once and for all to violence and discrimination and hate crimes directed at any category of people. This is especially true for our young people, because for them, the burden of prejudice and violence and discrimination all too often leads to tragic ends. The problem particular of youth suicide among gay and lesbian teens is not a small one and the impact on families is obviously devastating and-far reaching.

Alvin, why don’t you come up here? Byron, why don’t you come up here?

(Applause)

GOV. WELD: We started to address this special physical and emotional health problems of teenagers last year in July with our “Protect Teen Health” program that we announced over at … with Jackie Jenkins Scott and Georgette Watson. This was aimed at AIDS, and STD’s in general, and teenage pregnancy prevention and that program also is aimed at preventing tragedies before they occur. We also supported the legislation sponsored by representative Alvin Thompson and Senator Robert Havern and I’m sure you too, Representative Byron Rushing, back in May to create a Gay and Lesbian Youth Advisory board and while I’m disappointed the legislature was not able to act on that legislation in the past session and I am happy that we are able to create this commission by executive order and here is the executive order and I am now signing it to create the commission.

(Applause)