Scissor Sisters' Babydaddy Supports The Gender and Sexuality Advocacy and Education Program
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Scissor Sisters multi-instrumentalist Babydaddy has been supporting The Gender and Sexuality Advocacy and Education Program at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., long before the bullying of gay youth made headlines the past month following the suicide of Rutger’s student Tyler Clementi.
“They approached me early on because they had heard a radio interview I had done for MPR [Minnesota Public Radio] talking about having a somewhat awkward childhood being a gay kid,” says Babydaddy, whose birth name is Scott Hoffman.
“It’s an organization that helps young kids — boys who don’t necessarily identify as boyish boys and girls who don’t identify as girlish girls — and it’s an organization to protect them and help people understand what they must be going through, which I think is a wonderful cause.”
According to the web site, www.trans-academics.org, “The Gender and Sexuality Advocacy and Education Program (formerly know as the Outreach Program for Children with Gender Variant Behaviors and their Families) provides outreach and education to families and professionals in order to support and affirm children who do not fit — or do not want to fit — society’s definition of idealized masculinity/femininity or sexual orientation.
“The goal of the program is to strengthen the social conditions that allow these children to thrive and to develop a strong and positive sense of themselves and their own talents and capacities.”
Hoffman, who now lives in New York, wishes there was some kind of outreach program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) kids when he was growing up in Lexington, Kentucky. While he had some difficulties, “a somewhat awkward childhood,” as he said, he fortunately didn’t experience the unbearable harassment or bullying some of these kids go through.
“This program struck a chord with me in that it deals with something that I wasn’t specifically burdened with,” says Hoffman. “I was a passable little kid and I didn’t get beat up by the kids on the high school or junior high football team.
“And these kids [who seek out the program] are so confused by their gender or don’t fall into a specific enough gender role that they need really specific help. That specifically touched me, but it wasn’t something that I necessarily needed when I was a young kid, but I think it’s hugely important.
“It’s a very specific issue that not a lot of people get an education on or have people that understand what they’re going through. I definitely didn’t have role models except for the few I found on TV.”
Hoffman donates money to the organization. As much as he’d like to speak directly to the LGBT kids, he’s unable to because the program ensures that they remain anonymous.
“I got the recent pamphlet and the kids are turned away from the camera, so you can see them, but you can’t really see their faces,” he says. “It’s a very protective program to keep these kids safe. They may not keep this gender confusion for very long. You don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
Instead, he gets to speak with young people while he’s traveling with the Scissor Sisters.
“What I found so funny is I remember being in my home town and I met a kid outside of a show and he, I think, at the time was going to my alma mater high school [Henry Clay High School] and I said, ‘Oh, it must be really hard being gay and going there because it was for me,’ and he said, ‘No, actually, it’s not.’ So I think that times have really changed and it’s incredible to hear.
“I know that’s still not true everywhere, but here in my hometown of Kentucky things have opened up so much in a place I never would have considered being out of the closet,” Hoffman says. “It’s incredible. We do meet people who get a lot out of our music. We hear from them more online than we do see them in person because of maybe they’re being shy about these issues as well.”
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.