It took one young man sharing his story to convince the police to care about hate crimes.
Blake moved from Connecticut to New York, never imagining that he’d be the victim of an anti-gay crime.
He and a friend were attacked in a gay-friendly part of New York, and the police didn’t do anything about it beyond showing up at the scene. He tells what happened next:
“…it turned into a story and it spread like wild fire around Facebook and around blogs and we did interviews with TV stations here in New York and the police called us right back after that and started investigating it, as they should have in the first place. It was a lesson in…you have to talk about it. Whether it’s talking about whether it happened so you can tell people that issues like this still exist, or talking about that it happened to make the response to happen that needs to happen. Whether it was the investigation or so that the police don’t neglect stuff like that in the future. But nothing would have come of it if we hadn’t talked about it.”
But this wasn’t the end of the story. Social media took the story wider than he imagined.
There was a kid who read about it, I guess on Facebook, in California and he sent me a message and he said, “Listen, I’ve never come out to anyone before. It took me a lot of courage to send you this email. I’ve never dated a guy, I’ve never slept with a guy, I know I’m gay but I haven’t come to terms with it myself. And the reason I wanted to tell you, even though I don’t even know you, is because you stood up for it and you’re proud of who you are and you guys are advocates. And you made me realize it’s okay. And that I could be happy to be this person that I’m figuring out.
He sent me a message a couple weeks later. It was amazing, he said, “You’d be so proud of me. I told my sister and she was totally fine with it just like you said she’d be, and I came out to her roommate who’s gay it turns out.” And he’s now in the process of coming out to his mom. And I didn’t really do anything except be me. So it’s pretty amazing the power that you have just by putting ourselves out there and letting people — random people on Facebook or people in our family — know that, hey, this stuff affects me. So it affects you, too.
Why do we talk about GLBT issues in partnership with organizations like ImFromDriftwood.com? Because as Blake said, this stuff – safety, trust, self-image, self-confidence – affects others besides the person living it.
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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