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A Haven for Gay Teens

December 17, 1989

In 30 years of daily newspaper reading, I do not remember ever being moved to tears by a newspaper article.

Well, it happened as I was reading Michael Quintanilla's report on Project 10. It brought me back to my childhood when I knew I preferred people of my own sex and was therefore "abnormal."

In those days, as with many other kids in my situation, I didn't feel I could trust anyone with my secret, least of all the people who were closest to me--my family, my friends or my schoolteachers. The hopelessness and helplessness I felt didn't start dissipating until into my 20s when I took my first steps toward coming out.

Project 10's major service to our community is to burst the vacuum that the lesbian and gay kids live in. It is important that this happen as gently, but also as early as possible, so that the child can engage in age-appropriate developmental tasks in sexuality and identity development just as straight peers do.

DINO KOUTSOLIOUTSOS

Los Angeles

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