Oh my gosh!
This video doesn't even come from Austin. But it DOES come from Fort Worth.
I am just so happy this comes from Texas.
When you look around, it's pretty clear that gay rights are the civil rights of our generation. Marriage. Tax breaks. Don't Ask Don't Tell. These are the big gay rights issues, the kind you hear about in the media, from both sides of the political spectrum.
But when he talks about being a gay teen, and the bullying he faced back then, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns addresses something that all of those hot button political issues don't touch.
How much it sucks, as a kid, to have people hate you for no reason.
Isn't that the most moving thing you've ever seen?
Can I tell you guys something?
This is hard to admit.
When I was a Christian in high school, a girl asked me if I thought homosexuality was a sin. And I said yes.
And then, I outlined why.
I wish I could go back in time, and shake my stupid 16-year-old self, and knock some sense into her. I wish I could tell her: "Hey. Guess what. In a few years, half your friends will be gay."
It didn't take long for me to revise my opinion on that whole thing. Christianity and homosexuality, I mean.
But I think those subtle "tsk tsk" attitudes, those under-the-breath comments of disapproval about gay people, those calm, rational arguments from Christians (or, any religion for that matter) against homosexuality -- are far more dangerous than any "GOD HATES FAGS" sign-wielder.
Because we all know those people are clowns. But a supposedly smart 16-year-old, gently telling her friend why gay people are sinners? What if a gay guy or girl at my school overheard me saying that?
That's the kind of thing that'll drive you crazy at night if you're young and gay. "What if she's right? What if I'm evil?"
I'm not a Christian anymore, but I have the utmost respect in the world for straight Christian allies, who rally for gay rights. Oh my God, do we need more of those out there.
If you are one of them, I love you. I am serious. I think you are about the coolest person in the world, for being something I never could be: A Christian, and a gay rights supporter/activist, simultaneously.
And I love you too, Joel Burns. I love you so much! Thank you for your brave speech, thank you for being from TEXAS and being so vocal about this, thank you for your loving and heartfelt message to gay teenagers. I am so proud of my state right now because of you.
PS. Austinites, here is an awesome list of local resources on this issue, if you'd like to get involved.