Somerville Residents Join Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Youth
Gypsy Vidal, André Morgan and Pam Garramone help advise state government and agencies on matters related to young LGBT people.
Gov. Deval Patrick swore in three Somerville residents Wednesday as members of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Youth.
Gypsy Vidal, André Morgan and Pam Garramone will all serve on the commission, which advises state government, service providers and educators on ways to improve lives for young LGBT people.
Julian Cyr, chair of the commission, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, said the commission's work often focuses on health disparities seen in LGBT youth.
LGBT youth are disproportionately prone to attempting suicide and getting bullied, he said.
According to a press release:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth in Massachusetts are seven times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year; twice as likely to skip school because of feeling unsafe; twice as likely to have been injured or threatened with a weapon at school; and two times as likely to be bullied. They are also almost three times as likely to get pregnant or make someone else pregnant and twice as likely to report current tobacco use.
"We know the factors that actually make a difference," Cyr said, and "we actually know how to close the gaps."
"Our role [as a commission] is to provide state government … with a roadmap on how to provide those resources," he said.
On Wednesday the commission also unveiled a series of policy recommendations to state agencies.
As members of the commission (there are 51 members in all), Vidal, Morgan and Garramone will attend monthly meetings, work on committees and serve as liaisons to state agencies, Cyr said.
Garramone is executive director of Greater Boston PFLAG, which offers support, education and advocacy on behalf of LGBT people.
Morgan and Vidal, both 22 years old, are recent college graduates and will be able to provide the commission with youth-focused insight, Cyr explained.
In a statement about the sweraing in ceremony, Patrick said, "We do what we do as a matter of conscience—all young people should have a chance to thrive. In that spirit, we will continue to work with the Commission to promote healthy, safe environments for all youth, provide health education and services to meet the needs of the LGBT population and continue to affirm the dignity of every human being."