BY MICHAEL A. JONES PUBLISHED AUGUST 18, 2009
Earlier this year the world lost one of its biggest gay icons, when former Golden Girl Bea Arthur died. Arthur was ever the champion of LGBT causes, so much so that her name will now carry on in the fight against LGBT homelessness.
The Ali Forney Center, which for the past seven years has worked to serve the LGBT homeless population in New York City, announced today that they would rename one of their shelters after the legendary television and theater performer. The official renaming will take place at a memorial service at the Majestic Theater, and will commemorate Arthur for her work to end homelessness among LGBT youth.
In 2005, Arthur said that her work to support organizations like the Ali Forney Center stemmed from wanting to make the world a better place for vulnerable kids. "I'm very, very involved in charities involving youth and the plight of foster children. But these kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay, or transgender."
It's partly that dedication to fight for the rights of LGBT youth that made Bea Arthur such a beloved figure in the LGBT community. Homelessness is a pandemic among LGBT youth, with statistics saying that up to 25 percent of LGBT teens are rejected by their families and face a life on the streets.
Everything can and should be done to prevent that. And that's something Arthur recognized. And for that, while it seems kind of cheesy, it seems like the most appropriate thing to say is, "Thank you for being a friend," to the LGBT population yet again. Read & Learn more related links - BY MICHAEL A. JONES – Gay Rights – Change.org
Michael is the Communications Director for the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, and previously was Communications Director for Pax Christi USA, a progressive Catholic human rights organization.