Two kids meet at a camp in Maine that brings together Teens from areas of conflict.
One is Jewish.
The other Arab.
Their common desire for peace started their friendship, and years of emails and calls and visits to each other's families strengthened their connection.
So when the Arab youth got into a US college and thought he'd have to turn it down because there was no way he could afford it, his friend volunteered to help.
The Jewish teen asked family, wrote grants, and gave his own money...
And they are now BOTH attending college here in the USA.
Sound like fiction?
Even better. It's a true story!
Joseph Katona and Omar Dreidi are the guys.
Seeds Of Peace is the camp.
Now I know, right about now, you're wondering:
Um, Lee. What does this have to do with GAY teens?
And here's my answer:
Everything. If a Jewish and an Arab kid can connect, get past the stereotypes, the hatreds, the history of cruelties, and see each other for the real, 3-dimensional human beings that they are, and find more than common ground, find FRIENDSHIP, true friendship, where you put yourself out there to help the other realize their dreams...
than so too can each of us who are part of the GLBTQ community. Each of us can connect with others. Create friendships. Nurture Allies.
It is in the knowing of someone, truly knowing them, that stereotypes crumble.
Hatred is only possible when it's a vague "other." Strange. Scary.
That's why we need to be as out and open about being Gay as we can. The more people know us, and see us as real, 3-dimensional human beings that we are, they'll find common ground with us, FRIENDSHIP with us. True friendship, where we are there for each other, and help each other realize our dreams!
So let's reach out to others, to our ALLIES beyond our GLBTQ community. And let's be friends.
Joey and Omar are showing us all the way. And our world really is changing for the better!
I found out about Joey and Omar in People magazine's September 7, 2009 issue, page 86, "Heroes Among Us." And they really are!
For more info on Joey's fundraising efforts on Omar's behalf, click here.