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GLBT community asks commission for help

Junior Walker came out to his parents in 2009 and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

Junior Walker came out to his parents in 2009 and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

"They were at first extremely angry," said the 20-year-old who is from Mattapan. "We would fight a lot. I got kicked out twice."

Walker made the comments while speaking to the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. The commission held the hours-long hearing at the State House yesterday to focus on the state of life today for GLBT youth. A second hearing is set for today at Holyoke Community College.

Walker urged the commission to provide GLBT resources and education for parents and to further sex education in schools to include more about homosexuality.

Speaking about his family situation, Walker said it eventually got better. His parents began to ask him questions and wanted to know more about his life.

However, it took longer to get better for other people.

Starry Shihoin said he transferred to three different high schools in four years before graduating recently from Charlestown High School.

"My experience there was very traumatic," he said. "I was very close to commiting suicide."

He said he tried to form a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school, but it was disbanded after students directed slurs and hissed names at those who showed up.

Shihoin urged the commission members to work on curriculum in schools to help educate all students about GLBT issues.

Arthur Lipkin, the commission's chair, said that was a recommendation the panel made to state leaders years ago, but it was never enacted.

"That clearly need revisiting," Lipkin said. "That's the life blood at school."

 
 
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