LETTER: A Father’s response to City of Burien’s Pride Proclamation

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta presented a proclamation, sponsored by Councilmember Krystal Marx, at Monday’s City Council meeting, declaring June 2 as Burien Pride Day.

As I read the text of the proclamation, I wondered about the current state of issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Human Rights Campaign currently cites statistics that 92% of LGBTQ+ youth say they hear negative messages from school, internet, and peers. 68% say they hear such negative messages from their elected leaders.

Pondering how best to write about last night’s proclamation, how to share an unbiased, fact-based report with more than two sentences, it occurs to me that I don’t want to be unbiased.

My own 15-year-old daughter, diagnosed with psychosis, major depression, and PTSD, attends an alternative school hosted by a LGBTQ+ community center. As we struggle to navigate the chaos that is her reality, I’m so grateful to our elected leaders and local community who strive to share positive, affirming messages rather than hate.

Below is a letter written today to Amanda Jette Knox (amandajetteknox.com), a prolific writer, speaker, and advocate, who has helped shape my own understanding of LGBTQ+ issues:

This is all your fault.

A few years ago I reached out to you as a Christian man, intrigued by the courageous transparency you and Alexis have shown. As I’ve followed you in the years since, you’ve continued to show an amazing degree of strength mixed with an incredible depth of courage as you, Zoe, and your family have continued to champion for LGBTQ+ rights.

Today I’m still a Christian man, fueled by the love of Christ, more finely tuned by the struggles and triumphs you’ve shared along the way.

I’m on deadline today, writing about an LGBTQ+ proclamation presented by our liberal City Council last night, sponsored by a Councilmember who reminds me of you. She’s an openly bisexual mother of four, and wife of a combat veteran, who recently shared her reliance on a local food bank to make ends meet. Though she’s a constant target of criticism and, at times, raw hatred, her love for the community never seems to waiver.

In today’s write-up I’m including statistics from Human Rights Campaign demonstrating that 92% of LGBTQ+ youth hear negative messages about being LGBTQ+ from school, the internet, and their peers. Stunningly, 68% of LGBTQ+ youth hear these messages from their elected leaders.

As I write this, my 15-year-old daughter is at school, attending an alternative education program hosted by a community center for LGBTQ+ youth. With her diagnosis of psychosis, major depression, and PTSD, it’s more important than ever that she hear positive messages more than the negative.

Today I’m a Christian man who still knows very little about LGBTQ+ issues. One thing I do know, thanks to you, is this: love matters.

This is all your fault.

Thank you!

– Aaron Wells

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