Showing posts with label Young Men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Men. Show all posts

February 2, 2019

Porn Performer Fined for Having A Male Threesome and Filmed in the Tube to The Shock of Passengers

Nicholas Mullan (right) and George Mason who admitted outraging public decency at Waterloo underground station
    An adult performer who filmed himself and his former partner having a threesome on a Tube train in front of passengers have been fined £1,000. Porn actor George Mason, 35, and Nicholas Mullan, 24, romped with a third man, who has not been identified, on a Northern Line train between Leicester Square and Waterloo. The incident happened in July 2017 but was not reported until February last year, when it was posted on Twitter. Mason, of John Ruskin Street, Southwark, south-east London, and Mullan, of Castlehume Gardens, Belfast, admitted outraging public decency at an earlier hearing. They were sentenced at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday after magistrates were shown stills from the video footage. 
    Chairing the bench, Lucinda Lubbock said they had been "humiliated in the court of social media", and added: "This was a very unpleasant and serious offense on the public Underground system."The way it took place back in July, the seriousness of the offense is exacerbated by the fact that it went on social media."Fining Mason for his "more serious" role, she told him: "The uploading, the tagline and so on are very much part of your offense specifically."He was also handed an 18-month community order and told to pay £170 in costs. Mullan, who is on benefits, was not fined but told to pay £170 costs and carry out a 12-month community order.Ms. Lubbock added: "We feel that this is a lesson to both of you. As your defense lawyer said, you have been humiliated in the court of social media."
George Mason
George Mason CREDIT: YUI MOK/PA 
Recalling the events that led to the prosecution, Robert Simpson for The Crown said the police were called by a gay man who saw the footage online and thought it "crossed the line".
He said: "The two men in the dock engaged in various sexual acts on a Tube train...and this was in the presence of the traveling public.""The incident is recorded by them and the video of what happened was subsequently uploaded on to Twitter, where another gay man saw it, thought that had crossed the line of what was acceptable behavior and the incident was reported to the police."An investigation discovered the footage was posted to an account named "Hung Young Brit" linked to Mason. Mullan was traced after another clip linked to an escort website in Northern Ireland, where he shared his mobile number under the name Toby.
Mr. Simpson said the video was posted with the caption: "Full-on live sex in front of the general public on Tube train."A caption described it as "100% genuine footage", the court heard. Defending both men, Howard Cohen said the video was recorded 18 months earlier as the pair traveled back to Mason's flat after a day out. He said they had been in a relationship for "some time" but we're not together when the incident happened."During the course of the journey, the idea came about that they would have sexual relations on the train," Mr. Cohen said.
Mason "works in the adult film industry" and provided the footage to the Hung Young Brit website.He was then "required to upload a snippet of the material on a Twitter account" and used the "salacious" title to attract attention, Mr. Cohen said.Both have been subject to a "virulent and quite disgusting campaign of hate" on social media since details of the incident emerged, he added.
[[Telegraph UK]]

June 6, 2018

Young Men Do Not Look For Medical Help But Virtual Visits Are Changing That

 The Teladoc app on a mobile phone.
Source: Teladoc
The Teladoc app on a mobile phone.

Young men tend not to seek mental health help. Virtual visits are changing that

  • Nearly half of Teladoc's behavioral health visits so far this year have been with men between the ages of 20 and 35.
  • Stereotypes about men not talking about their emotions and phrases like "man up" add even more stigma than what already surrounds mental health.
  • Telehealth is emerging as an attractive way for young men to seek mental health help. 
It's not always easy for men to seek help, especially when it comes to mental health.
Stereotypes about men not talking about their emotions and phrases like "man up" add even more stigma than what already surrounds mental health. Young men busy with their careers may not think they have time to see someone. Telehealth is emerging as an attractive solution to overcome these problems.
Virtual visits allow people to connect with therapists and psychiatrists through video chats, phone calls and texts. One telehealth provider, Teladoc, said nearly half its behavioral health visits so far this year have been with men between the ages of 20 and 35.
The company started advertising more toward young men after identifying a need, said Chief Marketing Officer Stephany Verstraete. It's working. Young men engage with Facebook ads for behavioral health services at double the rate of moms with kids, the group that was traditionally considered the core target.
"What was surprising to us was we actually expected that young women were going to respond better, but I think for us it now feels intuitive," Verstraete said.
Nearly 9 percent of men said they experienced daily feelings of anxiety or depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 to 2013 National Health Interview Survey. Less than half of them took medication for these feelings or reported having recently talked to a mental health professional.
Men may feel ashamed to seek help because of stereotypes like "that's not what tough guys do," said Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They may also think they're going through a rough patch instead of dealing with a mental illness like depression.
If they do decide to seek treatment, the health-care system can make it hard to find a psychiatrist who's within their insurance network. Once people find someone, it can take weeks to see them. Their condition can improve or worsen in that time, or they may change their mind. 
Teladoc says the average time from when a member contacts it to when the appointment takes place is less than a week. 
Dr. Chris Dennis, a psychiatrist who sees Teladoc patients, said he primarily treats young men for anxiety, depression, stress from relationships and work and sometimes substance use.

For many patients he sees, it's their first time using telehealth or even seeing a mental health professional. Dennis said they tend to ask many questions, such as, "why me," "why now," and "am I going to get better?"

Sometimes people will call him from work so their families don't hear. Some will call at home so people at work don't hear. He's seen patients at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. He's even talked with people who were huddled in their closet where he could see their shoes in the background.

"(Virtual visits are) a prime opportunity from a treatment and engagement perspective because they're doing it on their own time in a safe environment that's comfortable for them," Dennis said.
Young men, in particular, tend to be more comfortable using technology since they grew up using cell phones and playing video games, Duckworth said. Of those that use Teladoc's behavioral health services, 29 percent request visits through the mobile app, compared with 27 percent of mothers and 15 percent of baby boomers. 
"If young men are willing to use telehealth, it would be a fantastic development for public health," Duckworth said. "We haven't been able to get them into treatment because of expectations and societal roles that real men don't fill in the blank. That's the thing we're up against. If this is the vehicle they're comfortable with, then that's great."

July 15, 2017

Killer of 4 Young Men Admits to His Crime in Exchange for His Life

A week after four young men disappeared in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and one day after investigators found human remains buried on a nearby farm, the son of the farm’s owners confessed to killing all four, his lawyer said on Thursday.
The man who confessed, Cosmo DiNardo, 20, knew the victims and had been described by the authorities as a “person of interest” in the disappearances. Prosecutors had filed lesser charges against him this week to put him in jail while they investigated the disappearances.
Officials gave no indication of a motive for the killings, but Mr. DiNardo, who suffered from mental illness, has had multiple run-ins with the local police, and an acquaintance said he had talked about killing people.
“Mr. DiNardo this evening confessed to the district attorney to his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men,” one of his lawyers, Paul Lang, told reporters late Thursday outside the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. “In exchange for that confession, Mr. DiNardo was promised by the district attorney that he will spare his life by not invoking the death penalty.” Asked whether Mr. DiNardo, who lives with his parents in Bensalem, Pa., acted alone, Mr. Lang said, “I can’t answer that.” No formal charges in the killings had been placed as of late Thursday.  Matthew D. Weintraub, the Bucks County district attorney, had no immediate comment but scheduled a news conference for Friday morning.
As Mr. DiNardo was being led by the authorities into a police van on Thursday evening, reporters asked him whether he had any sympathy for the victims’ families. “I’m sorry,” he said. On Wednesday, Mr. Weintraub said the remains of one of the missing men, Dean Finocchiaro, 19, had been found in a 12.5-foot-deep “common grave” on the sprawling farm in Solebury, Pa., owned by Mr. DiNardo’s parents. Officials have not said whether they have identified — there, or elsewhere — the remains of the other men, Mark Sturgis, 22; Thomas Meo, 21; and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19.
Mr. DiNardo has had 30 “contacts” with the Bensalem Police Department over the last six years, the department’s director, Frederick Harran, said in a telephone interview. He declined to elaborate on what they involved but said the suspect was well known to the police.   

Dean Finocchiaro, 19; Tom Meo, 21; Jimi Patrick, 19; and Mark Sturgis, 22.
Mr. Harran said Mr. DiNardo had been sent involuntarily to a mental hospital last summer, at the request of a family member, but said he did not know the details, or how long he was held there. This week, a prosecutor described him as mentally ill and schizophrenic. On Feb. 9, police responded to a report of gunfire in Mr. DiNardo’s neighborhood and found him in his car with a shotgun, and he told the officers that he had been involuntarily committed, Mr. Harran said. He was arrested on a gun charge, which was later dropped. He was legally prohibited from owning a firearm because he had been involuntarily committed.
Another Bensalem man, Eric Beitz, who was friends with Mr. Meo and Mr. Sturgis, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Mr. DiNardo had spent considerable time with them recently, and spoke of “weird things like killing people and having people killed.” He also said Mr. DiNardo sold guns.
On Thursday, Mr. Beitz, 20, confirmed to The New York Times that what The Inquirer had reported was correct but said he would not say more, at the request of the police and the victims’ families.
Mr. Finocchiaro, who graduated from Neshaminy High School, just outside Bensalem, and Mr. DiNardo were both members of a Facebook group for people in eastern Pennsylvania who are interested in buying and selling all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. The Inquirer reportedthat text messages shared among a group of young men showed that they knew one another.
Mr. Patrick and Mr. DiNardo went to the same small, private high school, Holy Ghost Preparatory in Bensalem, graduating one year apart.

Solebury Twp.
Site of police

Mr. Meo and Mr. Sturgis were best friends who both graduated from Bensalem High School, and Mr. Sturgis’s father said he had heard the young men mention Mr. Finocchiaro.
The four missing men were last seen from Wednesday to Friday of last week, and the search for them has been one of the biggest law enforcement operations ever mounted in Bucks County, a fast-growing region of suburban subdivisions, farms and country estates north of Philadelphia.
A clue that emerged on Saturday afternoon focused the hunt on the DiNardo farm nearly 20 miles north of Bensalem: Mr. Finocchiaro’s cellphone was traced to that location.
Investigators searching another property nearby, also owned by the DiNardos, found Mr. Meo’s car in the garage, and Mr. Sturgis’s car was found in a parking lot a few miles away. Mr. Weintraub has said that Mr. DiNardo tried to sell Mr. Meo’s car for $500 to another person, who called the police.
Local authorities and a team from the Philadelphia office of the F.B.I., along with cadaver dogs, combed through the farm, sifting the soil between rows of corn, digging up concrete with a backhoe, and surveying the land on all-terrain vehicles. 
 The dogs led detectives to the grave, Mr. Weintraub said. The body of Mr. Finocchiaro, who vanished around 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Middletown Township, was identified on Wednesday.
On Monday, Mr. DiNardo was rearrested on the gun charge from earlier this year. Prosecutors had asked the police in June to rearrest him.
Mr. DiNardo’s father posted bail on Tuesday night, but prosecutors charged him the next day with stealing Mr. Meo’s car, and had him arrested again. The second time, a judge set bail at $5 million, and he stayed in jail.
The first of the victims to disappear, Mr. Patrick, was last seen around 6 p.m. on July 5 in Newtown Township, Pa., and did not show up for work the next day, the authorities said. According to a statement released by his family, he lived with his grandparents in Newtown, Pa., had just finished his first year at Loyola University in Baltimore, and worked at a restaurant in Buckingham, Pa.
Last Friday around 6 p.m., Mr. Sturgis told his father, Mark Potash, that he was going to meet Mr. Meo. Both young men worked for Mr. Potash’s construction business, but on Saturday morning, they did not report for work.
Growing more concerned, Mr. Potash dialed his son’s cellphone, but it went straight to his voice mail. He dialed it again and again, but it never rang. 
Even then, Mr. Potash said, he figured their cellphone batteries had died. Later on Saturday, Mr. Potash said, he called Mr. Meo’s parents, leading to a chain of calls among friends and family members. The two young men were inseparable, and no one had heard from either of them.
“I was hopeful that they just had a wild night,” Mr. Potash said. “My whole way to work, I thought these guys will be at work and will explain themselves.”

July 13, 2017

Many Body Parts Found on The Search for 4 missing Young Men, 1 Arrest Has Been Made

Tom Meo, Dean Finocchiaro, Jimi Tar Patrick, and Mark Sturgis.
Bucks County District Attorney’s Office / AP
Tom Meo, Dean Finocchiaro, Jimi Tar Patrick, and Mark Sturgis.
The body of one of the four young men who went missing in Pennsylvania last week has been discovered and identified by authorities, police said Wednesday.
Speaking at a midnight press conference, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said that the remains of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro were found in a "grave" that was more than 12-feet deep, located on a large farm north of Philadelphia. Finocchiaro went missing last Friday along with 22-year-old Mark Sturgis and 21-year-old Tom Meo. A fourth young man, 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick, has been missing since last Wednesday.
"There are additional human remains inside that grave, so this painstaking process will go on. We're not done yet," Weintraub said. "This is a homicide — make no mistake about it. We just don't know how many homicides."
The "grave," he added, was found by cadaver dogs, he said. "I don’t understand the science behind it," Weintraub said, "but those dogs could smell these poor boys twelve-and-a-half feet below the ground."
Weintraub did not say how Finocchiaro was killed, or if the other three missing young men are believed to be among the bodies found. Police said some or all of the missing men appeared to know each other, but the nature of their relationships, and the circumstances surrounding their disappearances, remain unclear.
The discovery is a bleak development in the investigation, which prompted a massive search effort across the suburban Philadelphia county. Since Saturday, the effort, aided by the FBI, has focused largely on a 90-acre farm in Solebury Township, where authorities have used dogs, ATVs, and heavy construction equipment to dig up evidence.
"We're going to see this investigation to the end," Weintraub said, "We're going to bring each and everyone of these's lost boys homes to their families, one way or another."
Earlier on Wednesday, a 20-year-old whose parents own the farm was named as a “person of interest” in the case, and charged with stealing a car that belonged to Meo, one the missing men. The man, Cosmo DiNardo, had been arrested on Monday, on an unrelated weapons charge, but was released the following day after his father posted 10% of his $1 million bond.

Bucks County District Attorney’s Office / Via
The weapons charge, which was initially filed in February, accused DiNardo of having a shot gun despite not being allowed to own a firearm due to his history of mental illness, according to an affidavit obtained by NBC10. Though the charge had previously been dismissed, it was refiled Monday amid the investigation into the four missing men.
After DiNardo was released from custody on that charge Tuesday night, authorities arrested him again the following day, and accused him of trying to sell Meo's car to a friend. The car was found by police at 4 a.m. Sunday on property owned by DiNardo's parents, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
Meo's diabetic kit, "which he would never leave without," was found inside the car, Weintraub said.
DiNardo was arraigned on felony theft charges, and a judge ordered him held on $5 million bail, saying he posed "a grave risk," the Washington Post reported.
Though it's not entirely clear how all of the missing men might be connected, most, if not all, of them are believed to have known each other. Sturgis and Meo worked together at Sturgis’s father’s construction business, and Finocchiaro was said to have been a mutual friend of the two, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It also not clear what their relationships were to DiNardo. According to the Inquirer, though, he and Patrick both attended Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, while DiNardo and Finocchiaro both were interested in ATVs and were in at least one Facebook group together about quad bikes.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii. 
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

July 1, 2017

Young, Gay and Chinese A New Generation Grows Out of The Closet

The cultural assumption that young Chinese men must marry and have children to carry on family legacy has forced as many as 10 million gay men into sham marriages, but the tides are turning now that millennials are coming out and their displeasure in living double lives prevents them to have a sham marriage. Also, Chinese men are very close to their mom's particularly and it's very hard for them to live a lie with them. 

When Piao Chunmei's son told her he was gay, she reacted the way many Chinese parents do, sleepless and crying for days due to the lingering shame of same-sex relationships in China.

But she eventually accepted her son and is now part of an expanding network of gays and their parents who help other families cope with the stress of coming out in a country which until 2001 classified homosexuality as a mental illness. 

Deep-seated cultural expectations for each generation to produce a male heir — heightened by China's "one-child policy," which expanded to two in 2015 — added to the pressure to conform. But a new generation is more willing to take a stand on their sexuality, despite what their relatives may think.

Piao and her fellow volunteers bridge the generation gap. 

"We don't want to shut them in the closet where no one can see them," says Piao, an effervescent 54-year-old who works for a Shanghai cosmetics equipment company.

Taiwan's top court recently ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Shanghai's low-key annual gay pride festival is in its ninth year, and opinion surveys increasingly indicate greater public acceptance of China's gays.

On May 20, "Lover's Day" in China, a group of mothers, affiliated with the US-founded PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), caused a stir by appearing at a Shanghai park where parents regularly display advertisements seeking marriage matches for their heterosexual children.

The gate-crashing parents did the same for their gay children — before police escorted them out.

But coming out in family-oriented China remains traumatic, often tearing households apart or leading to suicides. The fears are so intense that advocacy groups estimate millions lead a double life — hiding their identity by marrying heterosexuals.   

"Family is the most important part (of coming out) in terms of our emotions, but it's the hardest area to break through," says Duan Rongfeng, a 40-year-old gay Shanghai architect.

Bridging the gap
Volunteers for PFLAG say they are seeing more people confident enough to come out, especially in cosmopolitan cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, which are have more relaxed attitudes than rural areas. 

PFLAG organizes various discreet events but earlier this month arranged its biggest yet, a four-day ship cruise from Shanghai to Japan, which organizers said drew more than 1,000 people.

The group took to sea to avoid interference from authorities, as LGBT events are often abruptly shut down.

But Duan, also a volunteer, estimates more than 100,000 parents and children nationwide have been helped by PFLAG's loose network, which he said is expanding to smaller cities and China's interior.

Piao's initial devastated reaction to her son's announcement reflects the lack of understanding common among Chinese parents.

She wondered whether she had caused it by giving him too much candy as a child or if he was corrupted at university or by foreigners. She asked him to seek a medical cure.

But after reading about gay suicides, she relented.

"I was afraid he would disappear before my eyes," she says.

'He can't change'
Anguished parents reach out to Piao daily by phone, social media, or in person. To some, she is affectionately called "Big Sister Mei," but others accuse her of corrupting their kids.

Her unwavering message: you can't change your child's sexual identity.

"I would give my life away to make him change," she admits of her own son. 

"But he can't."

Piao said most Shanghai parents eventually come around and families end up stronger, but success is less assured outside major cities.

Fearing ostracism, Piao and her son relocated several years ago from northeastern China to Shanghai.

The support network helped He Fenglan, 55, pull out of a year-long spiral of despair after her son came out three years ago.

"The first thing I thought was, how could I face relatives? How could I face society? How could I face close friends? The problem of 'face' is very important," said He, who was "repulsed" by homosexuality.

But she added: "You see more and more gays coming out, as well as their parents. You feel you are not alone in this world."

Today she embraces her son's identity and the prospect of his relationships with a uniquely Chinese twist.

"Having two sons is even better. My one son has turned into two." 

December 13, 2016

Increased Anxiety on Younger LGBT Since Trump’s Election

Giovanni Guerrero says he has been "staying in more and more lately."
The third-year aerospace engineering student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo is both a member of the LGBT community and Mexican-American, and he feels especially vulnerable after a highly divisive election campaign that was accompanied by a rise in various types of hate crimes.
"I mean, [living] in California is a lot safer and I'm grateful for that … [but] anti-LGBT people are very pumped now," he said.
Guerrero's anxiety is shared by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as evidenced by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that works to prevent suicides among LGBT youth. The project's national suicide hotline for LGBT youth received more than twice its normal call volume in the two days after the presidential election.
Trevor Project spokesman Steve Mendelsohn told VOA the crisis center received an average of 150 to 175 calls, texts or online messages a day last December. In the week following the November election this year, the number of contacts was up to 230 a day.
"There's a lot of fear out there … [and] the anxiety was heightened after the election. … They're worried they will lose their rights," Mendelsohn said.
Mendelsohn said people who contacted the hotline disclosed anxiety about their personal safety as well as fears they would be forced into conversion therapy or that laws establishing marriage equality would be reversed after Donald Trump assumes the presidency in January.
A person holds up a "Gays for Trump" sign as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2, 2016.
A person holds up a "Gays for Trump" sign as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2, 2016.
Trump's LGBT position
During his campaign, Trump vowed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse a ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, though he later said the current law was "settled" and he was comfortable with it. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has long been suspected by the LGBT community of supporting conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation. In a recent New York Times interview, Pence's spokesman denied this.
The former Indiana governor supported the state's religious freedom law in 2015, which lets people and companies assert that their exercise of religion has been or is likely to be substantially burdened as a defense in legal proceedings. Critics say this permits discrimination against the LGBT community.
Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans — a leading group of conservatives fighting for LGBT inclusion in the Republican Party — said a lot of the fear people are experiencing stems from myths that were perpetuated by Democrats during the campaign. He said Trump was the "most pro-LGBT" Republican nominee ever.
Trump, he said, is "someone who has reached out directly to the LGBT community during his campaign and who said, and I quote, 'I will be a real friend to the LGBT community.' "
But to Guerrero, the current environment favors those who have a "dark" attitude, exemplified by a man who yelled "faggot" recently at some of his friends who were holding hands.
"It's obvious that a lot of people are more comfortable in showing their opinions, which come off as racist and homophobic," he said.
Heightened anxiety
In an online survey of primary and secondary school educators across the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project contacted more than 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others working with youth in schools.
Ninety percent reported that the climate in their schools had been negatively affected since the election, and most of them said they thought the impact would be long-lasting.
"There's certainly a lot of anti-LGBT harassment reported," said Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance and the study's author.
Eight in 10 educators reported heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students, including LGBT students, immigrants, Muslims and African-Americans.
"LGBT kids, immigrants or kids perceived as immigrants are very anxious about the future and they have now suffered this harassment, and that doesn't go away," Costello said.
Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds up a rainbow flag with "LGBTs for TRUMP" written on it at a campaign rally in Greeley, Colo., Oct. 30, 2016.
Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds up a rainbow flag with "LGBTs for TRUMP" written on it at a campaign rally in Greeley, Colo., Oct. 30, 2016.
Angelo said he would not discredit anyone's personal experience, but that he thought the anxiety about the LGBT community's future under Trump was ill-founded.
"This notion that conversion therapy is going to be forced upon LGBT Americans or whether marriage equality is going to go away are not statements that Mr. Trump made during the course of his campaign and certainly are not of any policy agenda for the Trump administration," he said.
In July, Angelo described himself as "mad as hell" at the Republican Party's platform, which was drawn up during the campaign. The platform opposed marriage equality and included language affirming conversion therapy, supporting adoption agencies that deny gay couples the right to adopt, and endorsing Pence's religious freedom bill. Angelo described it as the "most anti-LGBT platform in the party's history."
But now, he said he's keeping an open mind, giving Trump and Pence a chance to lead.
"[Trump] has already condemned anyone who is bullying or harassing other people and using his election as a justification," he said.
Meanwhile, Guerrero said anxiety and fear were taking him and his friends back in time.
“I don't want to feel that I have to get used to this type of life where I'm always hiding from my personal identity," Guerrero said.

September 29, 2014

Pew Research: There are More Young Republicans for Gay Marriage Compared to Young Dems


In March, the Pew Research Center published a poll showing that 61 percent of “young” Republicans — those between the ages of 18 and 29 — were in favor of same-sex marriage. Compared to young Democrats, Republican support was modest; a difference of 16 percentage points. Still, overall, the difference in public opinion was extreme, with 39 percent supporting same-sex marriage on the right and 69 percent on the left (independents fell somewhere in the middle, with 54 percent support across age groups).
The poll concluded that younger conservatives are generally far more supportive of LGBT rights compared to older generations. And there’s certainly an age gap across parties, as well. Younger Democrats and independents showed considerably stronger support for marriage equality than older respondents.
This means that the coming generation is far more likely to be LGBT friendly, and it may only be a matter of time until the majority opinion is supportive of equal rights — even if that means a long wait. Currently, though, the poll shows an engrained prejudice in the age groups that are in power right now: Not many 18- to 29-year-olds hold seats in the Senate.

Do people change?

Many may have experience with this sort of generational gap. Imagine having a conversation with an older man or woman, perfectly pleasant, when suddenly, the chat is marked by a painfully racist, offhand comment — that can pretty much end the conversation right there. Casual homophobia can create similar moments of shock among youth, who may be more accustomed to hearing about gay rights in popular culture. Contrary to widely held opinion, it seems that people actually can change their views.
A separate poll from Pew quantifies what might otherwise sound like a foolish hope. A poll published last year showed 49 percent of respondents to be in favor of same-sex marriage, with 44 percent opposing it. This year, the overall number across party and age supporting same-sex marriage increased to 54 percent, and opposition decreased to 39 percent.
But what’s most interesting about the 2013 numbers is the section on those who self-report having changed their minds. A negligible 2 percent of the 44 percent opposition changed sides in a stance against gay marriage. A more significant portion, 14 percent, changed their minds in favor of same-sex marriage. That’s 28 percent of the total support group for gay marriage.

The GOP and coming out

One GOP spokesman, James Richardson, came out recently via an article in The Washington Post. He discussed his party membership and his struggle as one of the many who would like to get married but is denied the rights marriage offers. He addressed his party membership and conservative values, saying, “gay couples don’t want to rock the marriage boat — they only want a ticket for two to ride.”
He also discussed, among many things, the fact that public opinion is changing, and not just because of millennials. “Nearly one-third of these belated boosters (in favor of equal marriage) say they were won over through personal encounters with gay family members or friends,” said Richardson. “So the potential reward of convincing even one dubious neighbor is greater than the assumed risk of a diminished social orbit. And it’s okay if I alienate a Facebook friend or two.”

Changes for Hillary and Obama

Richardson is not the only one in the political sphere to recognize the need for entrenched opinions to change. Politicians have seen the ebb and flow of public opinion and personal opinion alike — though whether the two go hand-in-hand is hard to pin down at times. Hillary Clinton is a good example. Anyone who listened to Clinton’s NPR interview in June likely remembers the tense conversation between her and Terry Gross on same-sex marriage — specifically, about when and why Clinton openly stated her support for gay marriage. Age and her generation came up, as did the concept of gradually changing one’s opinion.
“I did not grow up ever imagining gay marriage, and I don’t think you probably did either. This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front lines of the gay rights movement began to talk about and slowly, but surely, convinced others of the rightness of that position,” said Clinton. “And when I was ready to say what I aid, I said it.”
She’s not the only politician to have made slow adjustments — both publicly and quite probably privately — concerning a stance on gay marriage. Even President Obama’s opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted a great deal over his time in the spotlight. At first he was against it, then he was pro-civil unions, and finally, he changed to full-blown support of same-sex marriage. But the change wasn’t immediate, and he’s hardly between the ages of 18 and 29 — just look at that hair if you need proof (sorry, Obama).
 Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS 

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