In the wake of a series of youth suicides related to anti-LGBT bullying, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns addressed fellow council members at a Tuesday City Council meeting and told of his own personal struggle growing up gay and how he is living proof that life does get better.
Burns said on Tuesday that he felt “ashamed, humiliated and confused” when he was taunted by other kids at school, bullying that almost led him to… he couldn’t finish that sentence, but the implication was clear.
Yet he wished he could reach back through the years and tell his 13-year-old self how life would get better, how he would find acceptance from his family, how he would eventually meet the love of his life and how, in spite of the discrimination that still exists, he would be elected as a councilman for District 9 in 2008.
No doubt he would also want to tell his 13-year-old self about the day that he moved a room of council members to a standing ovation with his courageous honesty as he sort to reach out and help LGBT teens. Watch the video below. It’s long, it’s heart-wrenching, but it’s truly worth it:
Since sharing his story on Tuesday, Burns has made international headlines and received a great deal of praise. However, Burns is keen to keep a focus on why he shared his personal story, saying on his website:
I am moved by the overwhelming support and touching comments that I have received by so many people since sharing my story at City Council on Tuesday. Thank you.
I encourage you to continue to speak out against bullying from wherever you stand today – whether as an adult or youth, whether gay or straight. And, I commit to do the same.
Please share the message with the people in your life and learn more at www.TheTrevorProject.org.
I know this conversation will continue and grow. If you are interested in periodically following what I learn and experience, please click my “Get Involved” link.
Of all the “It Gets Better” videos I have seen to date, the above is perhaps one of the most moving. Burns is not only an example of someone saying “It Gets Better” but also a person trying to make it better for LGBT youth and all youths facing harassment and bullying.
The Make It Better Project
The Make It Better Project is supported by a host of LGBT organizations and charities and is aimed at LGBT youth with the message that, yes, it does get better, but you don’t have to wait. There are people out there wanting to help you to stop the bullying right here, right now; all you have to do is to reach out to them. For more information, and links to resources for LGBT teens, their parents, educators and straight advocates, please click here.
Connect with the Make It Better Project:
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Don’t Suffer in Silence, Get Help!
The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 helpline with trained counselors ready to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk about the issues dealt with in this post.
The Trevor Project Helpline number is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).
Trevor Project Links:
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