Last September, I went to a concert for the founder of a nonprofit I have supported for the past few years. Little did I know, a guy that would become one of my favorite singers was headlining, Jesse Ruben. He has a lot of great songs, but he played a new song that he had not recorded titled “Different”. I have waited for seven months for him to release it, and finally here it is. Below is the part of the song that resonated with me the most.
"To the son or the daughter that someday I hope that I have, I pray to God that I do a good job as your dad. And then one day you’ll find someone who will share your whole life, and as long as they love you no matter whatever it takes, I don’t care about gender, opinion, religion, or race. I’m just hoping that by then this whole situation will end. And I hope that you know that just because someone is different don’t mean their love matters less."
Over the past year, I have attempted to put into words a very important chapter of my life. I probably have seven drafts on my computer, but I have never been able to accurately depict the events and emotions in a sufficient way. So instead of publishing a detailed account of how everything played out, I am going to be short and to the point.
After countless prayers and years of fear and anxiety, I decided to finally accept what I have known with certainty for over ten years—I am gay. I am also scrawny, hardheaded, Caucasian, and a bit egotistical. The list of my defining traits goes on, but in today’s society, my sexual orientation is a characteristic that some individuals struggle with for various reasons.
After coming out, I had two very different experiences. First, I received two letters from my old church filled with more hate than I had ever experienced in my short twenty-three years of life. In the name of religion and God, I was called an abomination. But shortly after, I received messages and phone calls from family, friends, and co-workers, and I was overwhelmed with love and support. I am truly one of the lucky ones.
Unfortunately, so many individuals that identify as LGBT and come out to their families and communities suffer immensely for the sake of religious principles, personal beliefs, and societal norms. Oftentimes, they lose their homes and financial backing, but most importantly, they lose the individuals that they should be able to count on through it all.
Our country has an unfortunate history of discriminating against people that are different. We have created laws to protect society from the perceived threat of equality. Instead of treating people like people, we paint them as lesser beings and remove their most basic of rights. However, several years down the road, we will look back at this time and think to ourselves “how could anyone treat people that way?” Just like Jesse Ruben, I hope that my kids, nieces, and nephews will grow up in a world were discrimination because of sexual orientation is merely an unfortunate chapter in a history book.
By no means am I in a place in my life to offer significant advice, but if I had the opportunity, I would merely say it gets better. As I hinted at briefly, there is a lot of hate in this world, but you must know with certainty that love will prevail. From the Trevor Project to the HRC, there are thousands of people and countless organizations fighting for you. If you ever need someone to talk to, then I am a quick email away (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Thanks for reading,
So proud of Clint. This is why I do this.