I begin this post knowing that the Wyoming House of Representatives just passed a terrible bill outlawing gay marriages AND civil unions performed in other states. Don't Ask Don't Tell, while technically repealed, will not fully disappear from the books for about another year or so. And elsewhere around the world, gay people are routinely tormented - and sometimes murdered - simply for loving the way nature intended them to love.
Yet, in the midst of all this, I found this amazing clip of a young woman - a high school student, in fact - who bravely got up in front of her entire assembled student body and came out of the closet. I repeat: this girl is in high school. And she appears to have the wisdom and courage of someone twice or even three times her age:
For the record, her name is Kayla Kearney, and she attends Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, CA (northern California).
This is what it's going to take to achieve full LGBT equality in our country. This is what has to happen. In spite of all the tragic, terrible news that often permeates the airwaves - the suicides, the discrimination, states voting to take away people's rights - every now and then someone and something like this comes along. Someone comes along who is strong enough to say, loudly and proudly, "THIS IS WRONG - and, deep in your heart, those of you who are not gay or feel unaffected by this - you know it to be wrong, too."
Andrew Sullivan, a pioneer on gay rights and marriage in particular, has written eloquently that, until gay people as a whole are confident enough to be BOLD, and VOCAL, about their sexuality, full equality will not be attainable. It's not enough to be quiet about it - even if you're not being discriminated against. It takes being out to those around you, because that's the only way to put a human face on something that is often misunderstood. With even just one or two degrees of separation, everyone everywhere (for the most part) knows someone who is gay. They are brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, friends, co-workers, teachers, students, acquaintances - they are there, right in front of you. But until they know that these ordinary people in their lives are gay - until they can demystify and connect to it on a personal level - it will remain difficult to change minds for the better.
But - it takes bold, brave steps like this one. Brava to this young girl, indeed. What a fighter.
(Editor's Note: I wanted to embed this video directly into the post, but I first found this video at Towleroad via this link.)