"Ten years ago, coming out was an adult process. Now it's an adolescent process."
That's a quote from Jim Anderson, a former spokesman for Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York Magazine, about six years ago.
And the trend continues.
There are hundreds of area teenagers who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They are coming out at 12, 13, 14 years of age. Many adult gays and lesbians will tell you they knew their sexual identity at that age, but they didn't tell anyone until they reached their twenties (or beyond.)
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that came out of nowhere.
I was recently in Boston for a weekend with the family and a Monday morning meeting at WGBH. We were supposed to take the kids to the aquarium on Sunday. But then I heard about the whales.
An exceptionally large gathering of endangered right whales was apparently feasting on plankton in Cape Cod Bay. Despite my husband's objections - all valid and practical - I spent several hours on Saturday afternoon trying to find a way out on to the water. I was unsuccessful, but tenacious (a character trait valued by journalists, but not necessarily by husbands.) I woke up Sunday and called Captain John in Plymouth at 7:30 a.m. A woman answered the phone and told me to be at the dock by 11:30 a.m.
I was just thumbing through the transcript of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brook's State of the County address, and I counted 18 "greens." I did not count the number of times she said "sustainable,"" renewable," or "clean."
So, I'm left wondering...is Monroe County really a leader when it comes to being green? Or are we just on that green wagon, trying to look greener than everyone else? Is this political "greenology" or the real thing?
The word "greenology" has not made it into any dictionary yet, but I'm guessing it's only a matter of time. Google it. It's already becoming a cliche on the World Wide Web.
There are greenology sites that explain all things green, and there are a number of businesses jumping on the green wagon by calling themselves names like Greenology Plant Care. My favorite is a link to a t-shirt:
Greenology could also become a political approach that could be used when the economy is lousy, the budget is in the red, your favored projects appear to be flailing, you've lost a lawsuit, and controversy surrounds several recent actions taken by local lawmakers belonging to your political party.
I don't mean downtown. I mean it's neighborhoods, where a lot of people live in rundown houses and apartment buildings.
Most people who drive in and out of the city every day for work do not see these neighborhoods. But there are a lot of them, despite numerous programs to demolish, renovate, or build better housing for people whose income falls below the median. The pace of improvement has been falling far behind the pace of decay for more than a decade.
That is a big part of my job -- making a connection between you and what's going on in the community around you.
It's particularly challenging for me at election time. Research, and my experience with Voice of the Voter, shows most people feel disconnected from politics, government, and community. My sense from the Voice of the Voter participants is a lot of folks have lost faith in ANY politician's ability to affect positive change within the "system." Even the "good" politicians don't stand a chance when they get into the legislative chambers. (If they can get there in the first place.)
But if enough people care, the "system" can't stop progress.