Main | Monday, June 03, 2013

Headline Of The Day

Carl Siciliano applauds Ksen Pallegedara:
Last weekend I found myself in a gym in Portland, Oregon with tears streaming down my face. I was at Lewis & Clark Law School, at the graduation ceremony of Ksen Pallegedara, one of the first young people ever to stay at the Ali Forney Center. As I saw Ksen walk by in his cap and gown with the other law school graduates, I reflected on the obstacles he had overcome and could not help but get choked up and feel a swell of great pride and hope.

And I remembered the first time I saw Ksen. It was October, 2002, just after we'd opened our shelter, the first for homeless LGBT youth in NYC. Ksen had just moved in. He calmly told me in a soft voice that he had spent weeks sleeping in the streets of New York City, after his mother had attacked him for being queer. He said she had become so enraged at learning he was not straight that she violently ripped out a piece of his scalp, and that he had fled from his home fearing for his life. [snip]

In 2010 we began having fundraising dinners where we would honor people who had worked to help LGBT youths. Each year we would also honor a graduate of the Ali Forney Center who had gone on to serve the community. I had no question that Ksen would be our first honoree. We flew him in from Portland, and that evening he told the crowd about that day when his mother had attacked him. He said that as he was running from her down the stairs of their apartment building, blood pouring from his wounded scalp, that she shouted at him "You'll be back, the faggots will never take care of you". He told us that the Ali Forney Center had proved her wrong.
Read Carl's full essay.

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