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Ovation: Marcel Neergaard’s Parents.

06/02/2013

NeergardHomophobia sucks.  Sadly, as LGBT youth come out at younger ages, thousands are driven from their homes by families that reject them.  These vulnerable teens are often forced to endure homelessness and destitution.  In New York City, for example, the statistics are frightening as it is estimated that 40% of the homeless youth population is composed of LGBT teens.  It’s difficult for me to imagine a parent rejecting their child.

Of course, not all parents react negatively when their children have the courage, the trust and love required to be honest about their homosexuality when they know the consequences might be extreme.

The parents of Marcel Neergaard, an eleven-year-old gay student from Oak Ridge, Tennessee has spoken out in a powerful video against his state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, and one of its proponents, local Representative john Ragan.

Watching this video, I see a child who is being honest about and unashamed of who he is with the support and love of his parents.

“You have parents who don’t want to talk about gays and don’t want to teach their children about gays, then they don’t know anything about it and they don’t get the education about what being gay is.” – Marcel Neergaard, 11

With his parents’ support, Neergaard has set up a petition asking StudentsFirst to rescind their honor of educational “Reformer of the Year” that was given to Representative Ragan and to, instead, support anti-bullying legislation that could save young lives.  If more parents of LGBT youth exhibited the compassion and love that this boy’s parents share with him, the number of homeless (and suicidal) LGBT youth would surely fall.

UPDATE 05/05/13 – StudentsFirst stands with Marcel Neergaard against Rep. John Ragan and the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill.

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7 Comments
  1. Brave boy! And what open minded parents. Don’t see to many of those every day.

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  2. Great post about a brave person. We need more like him. For parents to turn their back on their children breaks my heart. It iis also not very Christian-like in the bible I have read. Thanks, BTG

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  3. Marcel’s parents were not aware that their son’s right to a fear-free education were denied because they did not know where to find the school district’s school board policy http://www.ortn.edu/Download.asp?L=2&LMID=185396&PN=DocumentUploads&DivisionID=4665&DepartmentID=4515&SubDepartmentID=&SubP=&Act=Download&T=1&I=55877

    They did not know that ALL children are protected in Tennessee already http://www.tn.gov/education/safe_schls/safety_cntr/doc/pc0202.pdf

    And they were not aware the federal goverment protects LGBT chidlren too
    http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.pdf

    http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html

    His parents are not alone in not knowing. The school boards hide their policies, the state education departments make it difficult to find the information, and those links to the federal education department are not readily available. Only when parents know their children’s rights can they demand those rights are enforced.

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  4. I was watching an episode of Andy Griffith just this morning & I was lamenting the lack of family values in today’s society. This episode dealt a lot with issues within the community church & it made me realize how little we see anything about the church in the crop of current TV shows. I know in the days of the Andy Griffith show LGBT issues would never be addressed but maybe if more family values were discussed now then there would be less inclination by parents to disown LGBT youth.

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    • Good point! Times have changed … and so have “family values”. Parents like the Neergards encourage honest and thoughtful debate with their children. I wonder how Sheriff Andy would have reacted had Opie told him that he was gay.

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  5. dear marcel go through the the same thing at the age 12 I want to start a friendship with you im but I live in Indiana. how about I’ll visit you in 4 years. bullies are a sorounding darkNess to me you’re my maricle a true friend. contact me on YouTube martinsixpac

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