Yes. We were contacted by a student who lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He’s a college student. And he - I don’t even know how he heard about us, but he said “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.” He’s a young gay student, I forget what institution he attends, but it’s probably small, remote, rural, in the middle of what’s referred to as a Red State. So he was so excited to feel connected to a much larger sense of who he is. In a way, his own sense of himself as a young gay man expanded exponentially when he felt these tentacles of these stories connecting him to people as far away as Maine, Hawaii, Florida, but also right next door in Arkansas or Texas or Iowa. People whose experiences have been similar to his. It’s one thing to hear about the story of an LGBTQ pioneer in a big city like San Francisco, but that may seem as foreign to you as a place in another country. But if you learn about people who come from states or places like yours, experiencing things similar to what you’ve experienced, that’s so powerful to enable a young person to not feel alone. To know that he or she are not alone, and other people in both their age range and al to older have gone down that path, have survived, have been rejected by their churches or families, and are still standing. If they got knocked down, they go back up.
We interviewed a guy who runs a gay bar in a town in Texas that - I kid you not - is called “Gun Barrel City, Texas.” That’s the name of the town. You can’t dream it up. And this guy runs a gay bar there. And he’s a Trump supporter. But his bar provides a safe place for LGBTQ people in this remote part of Texas to talk, get together, have fun. He has people who drive from 50-60 miles away, or people who are in the closet and can’t come out in their regular lives, but for a little while, they can come to his bar, be safe, be who they are, and have some fun, have a beer. And that’s amazing. Without that resource, where would these people go? They would have no way to find anybody. And maybe someday down the road, they’ll gain the courage, the readiness, to come out a bit more fully in their lives.
That’s a long way of saying this kid in Stillwater, we made a big impact on his life. And I think we have the ability to impact a lot more young people, in smaller towns, but also in big cities, it can be very lonely to come out, to come to terms with yourself, your sexual orientation, your gender identity, who am I, what am I. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, I believe learning about people who have gone through struggles similar to yours and are still standing, I believe that’s one of the most powerful gestures of support someone can receive.