My name is Justin. This is my story.
The world is filled with people from various backgrounds and cultures. We are all raised differently and have different views on life. My parents raised me to love everyone. To tend to the poor, the needy, the bullied, and most importantly, those who cannot defend themselves. It is because of those lessons that I have ‘come out’ as a straight ally. I am an LGBT ally and I am here to stay.
Friends and family have told me that I have no dog in this fight. So why did I stand up and speak out? You do not need to identify as LGBT in order to have a dog in this fight. I identify myself as part of the human family and when I see friends, family and members of my community hurting, my dog was just put in. Those who alienate, emotionally and physical abuse, and intend to harm the LGBT community brought me into this fight.
When I took this stance my family didn’t blink twice. They saw it as “Justin is standing up for the community.” There is no gay community or straight community when it comes to my family, there is just…the community. The ones who took my stance the hardest were my classmates and those I sit with in the pew. I expected the backlash from members of my Church, but I could not anticipate the amount of voices that would speak out against me.
If I were a superhero I would be able to tell you that I have not been affected by the negative messages I have received. But I am not Superman no matter how much I wish I were. The toll it has taken on me is greater than what I anticipated but when you stand on principle you get right back up whenever you get pushed down. How have I been able to stand strong when others are treating me this way? As a Christian, Romans 12:14 comes to mind, “Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
To me the answer is very clear. Treat them how I want to be treated, talk to them how I want to be talked too. Being the bigger person is not always the easiest way to deal with it, but it actually works. I want my children to see their friends as they are. As people. Not by their skin color, creed, family status, wealth, or sexual orientation but rather as people. Martin Luther King had this dream, and it continues today.
As a part of the Personal Stories Project I want people to know that they are not alone. Whether you identify yourself as LGBT or you’re the parent of a child who is, or if you are a straight ally, like me, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are people who pray for you, stand up for you and reach out. It is very easy to feel alienated through this, but know that you are never alone. We have love on our side and with it we will be able to reach people who are struggling. With love we can stand together.
I know there are many more people just like me out there who have not yet stood up but are eager to. I hope that you may find the courage and to listen to your heart. I’d like you to consider making a donation by CLICKING HERE, a portion of which will go to the Utah Pride Center to help this message reach more people. Together we can create an environment of love and understanding for everyone. Please remember that you are never alone and together we can help and support one another.
We first met Justin after we saw a story highlighting his “accidental activism” in BuzzFeed last year. CLICK HERE to read.