Joel Burns, an openly gay city council member in Fort Worth, TX gave a heart-wrenching, impassioned plea on Tuesday evening to LGBT youth struggling with their sexual identity or facing intense adversity among their families, community or bullying by their peers.
Recounting the tragic stories of several teens who committed suicide recently — Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Tyler Clementi, Raymond Chase, Zach Harrington — as a result of harassment, bullying and intolerance, Burns told his personal story of being a 13-year-old who felt “ashamed, humiliated and confused” after being taunted by bullies.
“Attitudes will change, life will get better,” Burns said.
“You will have a lifetime of happy memories if you just allow yourself, and give yourself, the time to make them.”
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Burns is Fort Worth’s first openly gay city council member. He was elected in 2007.