THE BRAVEST PERSON IN THE ROOM
By Jennifer McGuire
I don’t know his name. I don’t know his background. I don’t know his story. I do know he was the bravest person in the room.
The room is the City Council chambers of Porterville, California on July 16, 2013, standing room only, and there is a feeling of tension that is palpable.
He is 17. He is very cute. He is wearing a rainbow bracelet shaped like a bow tie. I want to hug him. He is gay. I know he is gay because he stood up during oral communications and came out. He came out for the first time in public. He came out to the community in which he lives. He came out, unintentionally, to his family. He stood in front of a room full of people, half of which were expounding hatred and lies; in front of the council, of which 3 members were openly ridiculing his personhood; in front of news cameras and journalists and law enforcement and thankfully, the part of the audience who were his friends and supporters of LGBTQ persons, and he came out.