I first saw the news via a friends Facebook profile.
“My son Jake was bullied AT CHURCH for being gay. Someone left scriptures on our porch calling him an abomination… Last week he tried to kill himself. He is now in the hospital with several broken bones… Please send messages of support and I will give them to Jake….”
The news went viral and there were 100s of positive messages sent, if not more. Unfortunately, it was a hoax.
I fell for it, posted it on my facebook profile and even tagged a few LGBT friendly Mormon friends. I also sent a message of encouragement to Jake’s profile. It was so easy to believe because it does happen. LGBT kids are still bullied at Church, at school and in their homes. And they still attempt suicide at an alarming rate. It was a believable story because it’s a true story for so many.
Some people reacted with anger at the church community that tolerates bullying. I sympathize with this reaction. I still feel a lot of anger towards the church, which I will discuss in a future post… or two or three… hundred. Even more people reacted with compassion and support for this teenager. The amount of real support for this imaginary teen is encouraging.
Unfortunately, people might feel tricked or cheated by the hoax and hold back their support in the future. I feel tricked. It’s embarrassing to admit you fell for a hoax. The perpetrators could even use the message I sent to ‘out’ me at work or with some family members.
That’s fine with me. I’m planning on coming out to my remaining family members over Presidents Day weekend and at my work in June. And I don’t mind being embarrassed if it means possibly helping someone.
To err is human. I choose to err on the side of compassion.
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