When we hear over and over again, from our neighbors, friends and even parents that there is something wrong with us – for our whole lives – getting up in the morning is a challenge.
19 year-old Zach Harrington, a young musician “who could play any instrument he picked up,” and who kept to himself and internalized his feelings went to a city council meeting on September 28th. The meeting was to discuss whether the town would officially declare October “Gay History Month” in the college town of Norman, Oklahoma.
The meeting was described by the openly-gay teen’s parents as “toxic.” According to his sister, “When he was sitting there, I’m sure he was internalizing everything and analyzing everything … that’s the kind of person he was.” Having come out recently, his Dad said that it may have been too much for him to deal with. While the meeting provided plenty of support for the LGBT community and had an ultimately positive outcome, the damage that can be caused by a few words from bigots can be irreparable.
What can we do to make sure they stop thinking of LGBT people in the abstract? We’re not an issue. We’re not a story on the 6:00 news. When you say something out loud, we hear it. Please share Zach’s story and have as many conversations as you can with as many people you can about why our words make a difference.
People need to be taught that we are their children and their brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts. We’re their parents and grandparents. If those who ignorantly spread hate imagine saying those words to their own children, maybe they’d think twice about their intolerance, and maybe we’d have one more talented musician around.