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National gay rights advocate speaks to young Utahns



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SALT LAKE CITY -- One of the country's best-known advocates for gay and lesbian rights spoke at the Utah Pride Center Monday, and her message was directed at young people.

Candace Gingrich is the youth and campus outreach director for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. She is also the half sister of conservative author and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Her message Monday was actually quite simple: She says while today's youth are more open and supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, they're less likely to battle for their rights.

"Teens today are more out, they're more aware, they're more engaged, and we need to tap into that," Gingrich said.

Gingrich also talked about the challenges that come with living in a conservative state, but said when it comes to perception, it comes down to family.

"Like in any other city, it depends on their families and their perception and their acceptance of who they are. No matter if you're here and Mormon or if you're in Texas and Baptist, it really is your family," Gingrich said.

She also talked about today being the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that sparked the gay rights movement in the United States.

Monday afternoon's session with youth is not the only event planned for the day. There's a meet-and-greet with Gingrich scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Club JAM in Salt Lake.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

Courtney Orton

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