Thanks so much for your generous donation to IYG! We are in our 25th year of serving LGBTQ youth and without support such as yours we couldn't reach as many youth as we do.
I notice that you are from Washington state and I'm wondering how you found out about Indiana Youth Group? Do you have a connection to IYG?
Mary A. Byrne
It's my pleasure to support IYG. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that you've been around for 25 years in a state as conservative as Indiana, but I think it's great that you've been able to provide a healthy environment for those youth for such a long time.
I currently reside in Washington state but was born and raised in Indiana (my work has taken me away from my home state). I have no previous relationship with IYG, and until recently, was not familiar with your organization. To give you background on how I came to donate to your organization, I'm a Purdue alum and avid Purdue sports fan. The other day I was on a Purdue sports blog reading an article about Mitch Daniels' appointment as Purdue's president. The discussion in the comments (not endorsed by the owner of the site) turned somehow to gay rights. There was an individual who spoke very proudly of his disdain for homosexuality, mentioning - amongst other, hateful things - how he quit donating to Purdue's general fund due to Purdue's support of the "queer lifestyle". He carried on for a while with a variety of hateful condemnations and vague references to some sort of societal disaster we were apparently bringing on ourselves (I don't know where he was going with that). To be frank, it really pissed me off.
I'm not gay myself, nor do I have any gay relatives (at least none that are out), and outside of a couple gay acquaintances and a few gay pride events I've attended I don't have a lot of day-to-day interaction with the gay community. So I can't claim to have any special understanding of what it means to be gay and live in an environment where being out puts you at risk of experiencing the type of hate and bigotry exemplified by the aforementioned individual. However, beyond my complete acceptance and support of the gay community, I recognize that having to deal with these issues as a youth must be even more difficult. Especially in a state like Indiana, which, just as a single example, (if I remember correctly) has tried every year since 2004 to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The individual who inspired my donation has the right to spend his money however he pleases. However, I do too. This is something that I feel strongly about, and after being pushed by that conversation, I felt it was time that I start voicing my views with my wallet as well, even if it's just a tiny $50 donation. So I did some research and found your organization and felt that it was the perfect venue for my donation.
Anyway, that's probably much, much more information that you were originally looking for (and I apologize, as it got a little rant-y at the end). Until now, I didn't have any connection to IYG. But I'm happy to donate, I think you do great work, and I wish your organization the best of luck.