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Brennaman Invited to CHNK Ball to Make Amends for Homophobic Slur

Former Cincinnati Reds television announcer Thom Brennaman will take part in the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky junior board charity ball, the Covington-based agency announced Tuesday.

Brennaman stepped down from his role with the Reds and FOX Sports Ohio following a homophobic slur that was caught on a hot mic ahead of a Reds game earlier this year.

CHNK's Chief Executive Officer Rick Wurth reached out to Brennaman with a desire to share the impact that words - such as the slur used by Thom - have on youth.

"I knew Thom was in dialogue with adult community leaders but felt it was also important to educate him on the higher rate of violence and bullying of LGBTQ youth compared to their peers," said Wurth.

The annual Junior Board Charity Ball is scheduled to take place in a virtual format on Saturday, November 21, and will feature an interview with the sportscaster. Over the past several months Brennaman has spent considerable time in discussion with LGBTQ community leaders learning more about adverse community environments and how those affect minorities who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

Children's Home of Northern Kentucky, also known as CHNK Behavioral Health, is the only organization in Kentucky to have achieved Innovator Status with the National Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation for its culturally competent care of LGBTQ youth and families. CHNK's All Children-All Families certification from the HRC Foundation, which is one of the largest advocacy groups in the nation, confirms that all clients and families served at the behavioral healthcare organization feel safe, secure, and valued regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In recent weeks Brennaman has invested hours of time at CHNK, talking with therapists and other treatment staff about the higher number of adverse childhood experiences and trauma that LGBTQ youth face. The demographic is disproportionately represented in suicidal ideation, substance use, and out-of-home care. 

Brennaman also participated in the same training that CHNK staff are required to undertake relative to understanding how to provide culturally competent care to LGBTQ youth and families.

"I've hurt a lot of people," said Brennaman. "I'm now committed to doing something to address the hurt I've caused by focusing on creating safe environments for LGBTQ youth and other children who have experienced abuse and neglect."

"I've learned a lot over the past few months from the team at CHNK and am ready to be a part of solutions."

During the virtual event, Brennaman will discuss lessons learned since the August incident including his plans for ongoing involvement in advocacy causes for LGBTQ youth and specifically the work of CHNK.

The CHNK virtual 2020 Charity Ball can be viewed at www.chnkcharityball.com on November 21 starting at 6:30 p.m.

-Staff report

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