At D.C. Dance, Gay Youth Out And Proud

At a dance for gay youth in Washington, D.C., the kids grinding on the dance floor don't remember Stonewall or the AIDS crisis, but they are certainly "out" and proud.

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GUY RAZ, host:

Mr. JAMES STOVER(ph): I've never heard of Stonewall until like five minutes ago.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. MERCEDES SMALL LEWIS(ph): I never heard of Stonewall until just now.

Mr. JORDAN HARKES(ph): I've never heard of Stonewall until just now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RAZ: We found evidence of the gay generation gap at a dance sponsored by SMYAL, a gay and lesbian youth group here in Washington, D.C.

Mr. STOVER: When I came out, my mother was really, really, really excited to do everything she can for me, like, that involved gay people. She took me to SMYAL. And then she took me to see all - she took me to see "Brokeback Mountain."

Ms. LEWIS: Yeah, my sister, She was kind of skeptical on it. She was like, okay, well, you're gay, but I don't want to hear about it. Now she's like, oh, I bought you some rainbow bows, got you some rainbow suspenders. I'm going to get you some rainbow shoes. I saw this rainbow bathing suit.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. LEWIS: And I'm like okay, take it down to the notch.

Mr. STOVER: The only thing, like, I don't like about the real world today is when you're just out somewhere, and you get that awkward feeling like you just shouldn't go in what - like a certain direction, and I don't like having to think about stuff like that. I just want to be able to, like, go and walk down the street.

RAZ: That simple desire is what led to Stonewall itself and what bridges the generation gap 40 years later. We heard from James Stover and before that, Mercedes Small Lewis and Jordan Harkes. They live here in Washington, D.C., and are members of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League or SMYAL.

(Soundbite of music)

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