WARNER ROBINS -- A former City Council candidate is seeking the citys support in building a safe haven for the regions young homosexuals.
Neal Erwin plans to present some of his ideas during a public comment period at Mondays City Council meeting. He told The Telegraph hes mulling over several general ideas, such as a club for gay teens and people in their early 20s that could incorporate HIV and AIDS testing. It also could include a home schooling program.
If theyre being bullied at school, maybe this could be an alternative for them, said Erwin, 44, who said he remembered what it was like being a young gay man.
You didnt dare tell anybody. Your friends were dying of AIDS. ... The same struggles I had back then are the same struggles today. You have parents kicking teens out because theyre gay, Erwin said. He said he joined the U.S. Army and lived 10 years under the dont ask, dont tell policy.
Erwin said there was not a specific incident or issue leading him to want to create a safe haven. He envisions a place that would be welcoming to anyone.
Straight people could come if they support us. Anybodys welcome. Id maybe like to start up a church service in there. A lot of churches close their doors to us. In my mind, thats not the message from Jesus to people, he said.
Erwin said hed only heard of opposition from one person. That person canceled a Telegraph interview.
Erwin, who ran for office in 2011, said hes hoping to unite people instead of continuing fights.
Hed like a diverse group of supporters, including nurses and educators, to bring ideas to the City Council meeting.
Can we all not get along with one another? he said. (Homosexuality) is a reality weve got to face.