“I thought you were better than that.” These words were life-changing for Joseph Bardin.
When Joseph Bardin was a freshman in high school in Richmond, Virginia, when he made friends with two older girls, Bridget and Johnetta.
He was about to learn the power of words.
An out gay guy, David (a friend of the girls), passed by, and Joseph made a comment.
David had come by to talk to Johnetta and Bridget and he then left. And as he left, I came up, or I might have already been there. But I said, “Oh my god! He’s just so disgusting!” And my friend Johnetta looked at me and she said, “What did you say?” And I said, “He’s so disgusting. The way he acts. The way he just prances. It’s just uncalled for.” And she looked at me and she said, “Wow, Joseph. I thought you were better than that.”
Her words to him would make him rethink not only his actions, but this words and actions of others around him.
And to have someone who I respected and who I’d only known for a short period of time but had become a good friend of mine too – the look of hurt and disappointment in her face – really showed me that this casual homophobia that I had been cultivating, it’s not cool, it doesn’t need to be done, and you don’t need to have friends or to maintain friends. And that’s really powerful.
He came to realize the hurt he could spread, and why he – and maybe others – might feel compelled to do it.
And why that has to change.
Originally published at ImFromDriftwood.com. I’m From Driftwood envisions a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person feels understood and accepted, and every straight person is an ally.
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