I am wearing purple today.
I am wearing it to show my support for bullied young people, particularly LGBT young people who account for a far greater percentage of teen suicides than their percentage of the population.
To those teenagers, I want to tell you that the folks who are telling you that these are the best days of your life are WRONG. It only gets better from here.
To those teenagers, I want to tell you that the folks who are telling you that there is something profoundly wrong with you are LYING. You are the way you were born. There is NOTHING wrong with you.
Being a gay teenager is hard, even before you realize you are gay. Other people often figure it out before you do, and they make your life hell.
I know. First hand.
I was bullied.
I believed their hate. I believed there was something so fundamentally wrong with me that I couldn't even tell my parents, who loved me unconditionally.
I wanted to die. I prayed for the courage to kill myself.
I believed at the time that if I killed myself, I would go to hell. I don't believe that now, because I can't fathom a God who would punish for all eternity a person who was in such anguish.
But I am glad that I thought so then. Because every moment of my life since those days has been better than those days.
There is nothing about my life today that I would change (well, except that it would be nice if my wife and cats were already here...). I have an awesome job. I get to represent my country as an American Diplomat. I get to live in and visit places most just dream of. I have an amazing wife and an amazing family. I consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet. Sincerely.
One of the reasons I am as out as I am is because I owe it to the younger me, and to all those younger me's out there today, to show how much better it gets. I owe it to them to provide them with what I wish I had had at that time...an out, open gay person leading a happy, successful life. Not a superstar, but an ordinary person, someone I could imagine myself becoming.
So I am wearing purple.
Because it gets better.
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