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The story as reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram follows…
Fort Worth councilman offers hope to youths struggling with their sexuality
FORT WORTH — Just hold on. It really does get better.
That’s the message Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns shared in an emotional speech during Tuesday night’s council meeting, saying his goal was to reach out to youths everywhere who are struggling with being gay.
During a moving speech, Burns said it tears him up each time he hears about youths taking their own lives somewhere in America after being bullied because of their sexuality or simply struggling with it.
Burns, who is gay, said he’d like to give his 13-year-old self — who also struggled with being gay — glimpses into the future.
His younger version would see him meeting his partner, being loved by his parents, winning a City Council election, Burns said.
“High school was difficult, coming out was painful,” he said. “I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. … Life will get so, so, so much better.”
Burns’ sometimes tearful comments drew praise from his fellow council members.
“So very proud of my friend and colleague Joel Burns for his stance against bullying of gay youth and those perceived to be gay,” Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks wrote on Facebook during the meeting. “I am sure he saved many tonight.”
Councilman Sal Espino echoed Hicks’ thoughts.
“Burns displayed tremendous personal courage today in speaking out against bullying against youth and children particularly gay youth in light of the recent tragedies,” he also posted on Facebook. “Fort Worth is a diverse community and we believe that all of God’s children should be treated with dignity, compassion, and love.”