As a result of the growing acceptance of homosexuality, gays started coming out at younger ages. TIME’s cover story in 2005 touched on the effort to eradicate anti-gay speech in schools and to set up clubs and advocacy groups to support gay teens. But the story also underscored the ongoing tension between religion and homosexuality. For every social group devoted to ensuring gay students get the same chance of acceptance, there’s an opposing group, typically religiously affiliated, seeking to “cure” kids of their gay lifestyles.
Until recently, growing up gay meant awaiting a lifetime of secrecy — furtive encounters, darkened bar windows, crushing deracination. That has changed with shocking speed. “Dorothy resonates so much with older gay people — the idea of Oz, someplace you can finally be accepted,” says Glatze of YGA. “The city of Oz is now everywhere. It’s in every high school.” That’s not quite true, but the emergence of gay kids is already changing the politics of homosexuality. When their kids come out, many conservatives — just ask the Vice President — start to seem uncomfortable with traditionalist, rigid views on gays.