During the October 12 meeting of the Fort Worth City Council, openly gay Councilman Joel Burns used the time reserved for council announcements to share a message with those struggling with suicide and depression as a result of being bullied in school.
But more than a message simply for political expediency, Burns shared his own story of growing up in a conservative Texas home, of feeling he didn't "match" the image of what someone growing up the son of a cowboy and a Methodist music teacher should be, of being bullied and contemplating suicide. Burns' speech was emotional and heartfelt, and tremendously necessary, I'd imagine, especially for children growing up in traditionally conservative states.
I hope that at least one person who needed to hear Burns' message of hope did or does instead of picking up a rope, a gun or pills to end their life.
I hopealthough I'm too cynical to believe it could happenthat one bully might hear Burns' words and reconsider their actions.
And most of all, I hope that those people who have decided they will be voting for politicians like Carl Paladino, Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle, politicians who have clearly demonstrated their hatred for gay people, might consider that sending a message with their vote is less important than helping save a life.
Bravo, Joel Burns. Your courage is an inspiration.