Growing up in a conservative Christian family in rural West Virginia, my own journey to a place of self-acceptance has been a long and difficult one. Over the past two years I’ve finally found the courage to look in the mirror and insist upon honesty and authenticity, overcoming so many negative messages I had internalized as a child and young adult. Now in my early 30s, I’ve reached a place where I believe my story can help increase understanding, provide encouragement and be a catalyst for change.
While society is evolving at a breathtaking pace, there are still many places where I could be fired from a job or evicted from an apartment simply because of the person I love, like my home state of West Virginia. I can’t sit by quietly and leave this fight for equality to others. This is my fight.
There are also young LGBT men and women across the country who aspire to careers in public service and need to know that they can achieve success in the political arena. I want to be an example of a leader who succeeds because of my honesty, not in spite of it.
And lastly, it’s important to note that I didn’t shed my faith when I embraced my sexuality. There is a significant conversation occurring within the church right now about the place of LGBT people in faith communities. While there should always be room for theological disagreements, this debate is too often grounded in deep misunderstanding, only perpetuated by a culture of shame and silence. We need more voices who can authentically bridge that divide.
I look forward to the day when emails, blog posts and public pronouncements like this one are no longer necessary. I am increasingly optimistic that future generations will not have to endure the internal conflict that I experienced in total isolation for so many years. But we are not there yet.”
— Rod Snyder, President of the Young Democrats of America, in an essay titled “Some Unfinished Business: My Coming-Out Message to the Young Democrats of America” published on Huffington Post