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Gay teen activist gains accolades for inspiring peers — Freepers go ape

The Miami Herald (sub required) has a wonderful article about a troubled, suicidal gay teen that lived in 17 foster homes before finding stability and support with a lesbian couple that took him into their home. He’s now getting good grades and helping other teens as a peer educator to encourage people to get tested for HIV. Take the time to read this heart-warming story. Then read what the cretins in Freeperville have to say about it.

Two years ago, at age 15 and living in his 15th Miami-area foster home, Steven Alicea came out of the closet.

His foster parents at the time, both pastors, said he would go to hell.

”I thought of suicide — just taking my life. That it was worthless,” Steven says. “Thank God I didn’t.”

…In his 17 years, Steven has lived in 17 foster homes, group homes and shelters — some of them physically and emotionally abusive, he said.

”Being in the foster-care system really sucks, especially for a young child,” he said. “It’s hard to move into other people’s homes. . . . It’s hard to not be with your loved ones and be with someone who is being paid for it. Being gay makes it worse.”

When he told his foster parents he is gay, they reacted with disbelief. ”If I liked a guy, I was told I was going to hell, that you’re not supposed to like boys, that it’s wrong,” he said. “I’ve been baptized I don’t know how many times trying to please my foster parents. It never helped, obviously.”

He ”felt horrible,” often skipped school and thought of killing himself. Gays account for 30 percent of all teen suicides, 28 percent of all dropouts and 40 percent of homeless teens, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Steven found solace at gay-oriented Pridelines Youth Services near downtown Miami, where he became close to the group’s executive director, Denise Hueso.

”She was very cool and down to earth,” Steven said. “I started spending a lot of time at Pridelines, doing a lot of community service. That was the turning point of my life.”

Hueso and her partner, Sandra Newson, wanted children and they decided to become Steven’s foster parents.

Florida prohibits gays and lesbians from adopting but not from becoming foster parents.

”We talked about it for months,” Hueso said. ‘We talked to a lot of people and then said, `What the hell, we’re going to do it.’ ”

In February 2003, Steven moved into their home in Little Gables.

”Now, he’s got two people who care a lot about him. He calls them his moms,” said Michael Guthrie, program director at the School for Applied Technology in Northeast Miami, a drop-out prevention academy where Steven is a senior with a B grade average. He no longer cuts school.

Good things came twice last month. First, the national Colin Higgins Foundation honored Steven with its annual Courage Award after Newson nominated him. Higgins died of AIDS in 1988 and was writer-director of hit films including Foul Play and Nine to Five.

”Steven epitomizes resilience and a willingness to speak out for traditionally underserved communities. He has endured overwhelming hate and hostility, yet has handled himself with honor and grace as he educates and enlightens others,” the foundation’s manager, Catalina Ruiz-Healy, said in a statement. Steven received $5,000.

Then, Do the Right Thing — a program sponsored by the Miami Police Department, British Airways, The Herald and WTVJ-NBC 6 — named Steven one of October’s top 10 Miami-Dade County students.

They cited him for raising his grades from F’s to A’s, his AIDS activism and achieving “success despite adversity.”

This is how I visualize the average Freeper.

Not even a story this positive can be acknowledged by the hateful, ignorant crowd in Freeperville. Actual Freeper Quotesâ„? follow…

“Today his self esteem is being stoked by those with a larger agenda. Let’s revisit this individual in, say, ten years. I predict many problems because all of the root causes of any problems he now has are being glossed over in these cynical “Awards”.”

Might as well say Steven found a street gang that welcomed him as one of their own. He started to pull small jobs for the gang leader and became well respected on the street for his skilz. What a bunch of hogwash.”

“One wonders what type of community services in which a homosexual “clubhouse” engages. Perhaps the work is as mundane as recruiting youngsters for the pleasure of old queens.

Perhaps someday, this youth will wake up, take a good look at himself in a mirror, vomit and seek true help of the spiritual kind that will help him crawl out of the sewer before it’s too late.”

Do not worry aids will get him sooner or later. Communism embraces this type behavior for it is against what is morally right.”

“And rushing or being pushed pell-mell into the homosexual style of “living” has moved this society even closer to Sodom and Gomorrah.

The continued tolerance and “celebrating” of this evil, perverted lifestyle by adherents and by sycophantic lunatics mystifies the majority of polite society. That mystification is (too) slowly turning to awareness of the evil of homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.”

“Behavior modificaiton 101 — rule of thumb one gets more of

that behavior which is rewarded and less of that behavior that is negatively rewarded. Our corrupt society now calls evil good and good evil and rewards what ought be punished. No wonder we see increase in such behaviors.”

Between the outright hatred of people like this (you know many of these Freepers are parents, which frightens me), and the misguided religious nuts in the ex-gay ministry field — is there any wonder that gay teens are so at risk? In particular, the dangerous ex-gay movement could have finished this vulnerable young man off (read Anything But Straight for more on these sick ministries). Steven Alicea succeeded in spite of all the pressures around him.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding