Tanna Thompson

The Welcoming Project is such a brilliant concept and has already had an enormous impact on the youth within the community. As a facilitator of YOTSO (Youth Open to Sexual Orientation) in Norman, OK, I often hear stories shared during youth group meetings about negative experiences the teens have had with their teachers, principals, counselors, or parents of friends that either openly make homophobic remarks, are discriminatory based on the teen’s sexual orientation, or do not support the teen in times of harassment by other teens, and sometimes, sadly, by adults, too. With The Welcoming Project’s mission of encouraging merchants, churches, and other businesses throughout the community to visually display their openness to individuals who are gay and lesbian, it demonstrates the support that’s available to teens that they may have not known of otherwise. In a time when there are such blatant homophobic remarks made for all to hear, it’s important for a teen’s self-concept to know that hate is not the norm. Many thanks to Brian and Meredith of The Welcoming Project!