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LGBT Adults Serve as Role Models for Students

As a new school year begins, the Homecoming Project urges successful lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults to join its campaign to provide positive role models for LGBT high school students.

Research has shown that many LGBT youth actively seek role models to help compensate for the support they lose when they come out to family and friends. The Homecoming Project, created by the non-profit organization Live Out Loud, aims to bridge that gap and provide LGBT youth with the positive role models they so desperately need. The call to action is simple: for successful LGBT adults to go back to their high schools and talk about their experiences.

"Our goal is to create a support system for youth by presenting positive role models whose experiences serve as real examples of success," said Leo Preziosi, Jr., founder and executive director of Live Out Loud. "High school is a critical stage in growing up and creating your own individuality, yet so many LGBT youth are still looking for role models from our communities to help them in this journey."

"We're teenagers. We need people to be encouraging us. There are so many kids in this world who feel lost and they want somebody to be able to tell them, 'It's OK. I'm here for you,'" said a student who attended a Homecoming Project event in California.

Nearly 20 role models have participated in Homecoming Project events in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Utah, California, Kentucky and many others. The program has reached thousands of students. Past participants include Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter for the movie Milk, and Neil Guiliano, the former president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The program is open to adults from all careers, including college students, educators, working professionals and others.

"When I first heard about doing the Homecoming Project, I had no idea it would be so revelatory. I had no idea I would see such great change. It's been such an inspiration to me to see what's happened here thanks to the Live Out Loud Homecoming Project. I know now that we are doing good," said Black.

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