Bullying | Fort Worth | Joel Burns | News

Watch: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns' Amazing Tearful Statement to Bullied Gay Teens


Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns broke down at last night's City Council meeting during an emotional personal statement about his own taunting by anti-gay bullies as a teen.

"I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a fag, and that I should die and go to Hell where I belonged."

Burns went on to discuss meeting his partner, getting elected, and developing a bond with his dad, promising teens, "It gets better."

Don't miss this.


Writes The Victory Fund: "Burns became the first openly gay candidate elected to public office in Tarrant County, Texas, when he won a special election for a seat on the Fort Worth City Council in 2007.  He was reelected in 2009."

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  1. I wanted to give him a big hug. What a great person!

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Oct 13, 2010 2:05:16 PM

  2. @ Jon Cortez

    "Jubal... Name calling make you no better, sweetheart."

    Sure it does. It was a verbal slap in the face. A bracing splash of cold water. One must call out the hypocrisy inside the LGBT community as much as we do the outside. Sexualizing others is wrong, period. The fact that Mr Burns "look" is the only thing that JGM22 could find to comment on shows the lack of self-esteem that he has whether you are willing to accept it or not. He needs to work to better himself in this regard, not have his behavior tacitly approved of.

    Posted by: Jubal Harshaw | Oct 13, 2010 2:13:36 PM

  3. moved me to tears just like mr. burns. thank you.

    Posted by: James G | Oct 13, 2010 2:39:01 PM

  4. thank you for posting this.

    Posted by: dc20008 | Oct 13, 2010 3:03:39 PM

  5. No matter how passionately you say it to LGBT youth, "it gets better" is still a lie. It doesn't get better. The bullying just takes different forms . . . and for some of us, the form it takes doesn't change at all! Just the other day, I got called a homophobic slur.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Oct 13, 2010 3:15:52 PM

  6. Oh, god, somebody called you a bad name? Oh well then all is lost! Screw hope. This jackass on the city council totally wasted his time.

    (honestly - just because you're a lost cause doesn't mean the rest of us are)

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 13, 2010 3:21:13 PM

  7. I cried a few times during that speech. So well put. This issue touches so many people in our community because it so personal. At the same time many of us carry so much shame over the abuse we suffered that we are reluctant to talk about it. As Joel said he had never shared his pain with his family. I understand why. THESE are the sorts of stories that change hearts and minds. We need to speak directly to the pain and suffering we feel as a result of the harm done to us in the name of Christian love. The more we do it the harder it is to justify.

    Also, while the message of it's get better is valid and true in most cases, I think there also needs to be emphasis placed on the fact that we need to be more aggressive in pushing for our rights. It gets better but there is still a lot of work to be done.

    Posted by: gypsy78 | Oct 13, 2010 3:45:54 PM

  8. @DAN,
    how is he a lost cause, asshole? did you even listen to his entire statement? he was spreading a message of hope. it is you who are a waste of time. he is a real man. that is a goal you will never attain.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 13, 2010 3:48:07 PM

  9. joel burns, you are a beautiful, beautiful man. your husband is a very lucky man.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 13, 2010 3:50:34 PM

  10. NIC, I believe Dan was responding to "Stuffed Animal"'s inane comment.

    I read a whole lot of sarcasm in Dan's comment.

    Posted by: Jack | Oct 13, 2010 3:50:46 PM

  11. Joel I'm so proud of what you did by telling your story. Ever since I met you and JD several years ago I always knew you were a true leader among us. Thanks for addressing the young teens in Fort Worth Council Chambers and telling them "it gets better." You and JD are living proof that it does.

    Posted by: RBearSAT | Oct 13, 2010 5:23:04 PM

  12. As a gay man and a Texan I want to express my support for Joel Burns. The courage he must have summoned to give this speech is near unimaginable, yet it's through acts like these that we stand up for our freedom and dignity.

    Posted by: Balbo1 | Oct 13, 2010 6:33:13 PM

  13. Perhaps I should have a little clearer, Nic, but yes. My comment was directed at the inane comment above mine, not the heart-rending and moving of Councilmember Burns.

    I just don't understand what's wrong with people like Furry-whatever. What's their message to those youth who are considering suicide? "Here's the gun?" I appreciate that we have to do more than just hope, we need to act.

    So what's their secret to getting people to act? Taking away hope? Idiots.

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 13, 2010 6:45:29 PM

  14. damm - just watched it again and bawled my eyes out....so powerful...and what a good representitive of a gay person..Bravo Joel!Thanks for making me cry.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Oct 13, 2010 6:55:18 PM

  15. Bawled my eyes out! BURNS FOR PRESIDENT!! If my 13 year old self could have seen that he would have been filled with hope in such a dark, lonely place.

    Posted by: AJ | Oct 13, 2010 8:12:06 PM

  16. If Councilman Burns is reading this, I would like to thank him for sharing his story. He is an inspiration and his husband is fortunate to have someone like him. I am glad to know that for him, it got better, and it will for all those teens out there getting bullied.

    Posted by: rick | Oct 13, 2010 8:21:39 PM

  17. I admire a man who can cry! and at the same time be so open and honest! Very touching! thank you Joel Burns! I didn't know you existed, but I will definitely not forget who you are now!

    Posted by: Alberto | Oct 13, 2010 9:27:36 PM

  18. What a touching and inspiring story Joel Burns tells. I do hope some of those kids and adults living with bullying get to see this and find some strength and courage in his words.
    Bless you Joel :)

    Posted by: Chaq | Oct 14, 2010 1:07:03 AM

  19. How ashamed should we be as a society, when we have to tell our children to continue suffering, because "it will get better".

    Posted by: suede | Oct 14, 2010 2:35:51 AM

  20. Suede you guys are such an anti-law progressive country that people like joel can't say it gets better because I will oust for a, b and c because as soon as he says that, he would be called an activist politician, which will only make those crazy religious nut jobs in your country even happier.

    Funny ol place the US of god damn mother f*cking A!

    Posted by: Rowan | Oct 14, 2010 6:13:23 AM

  21. Bravo! Thank you for sharing your very personal life to hopefully discourage any more bullying and any more suicides.

    Posted by: Jae | Oct 14, 2010 4:41:17 PM

  22. "Perhaps I should have a little clearer, Nic, but yes. My comment was directed at the inane comment above mine, not the heart-rending and moving of Councilmember Burns."

    To DAN and NIC:
    Inane comment? Hello. Did either of you actually LISTEN to Joel's speech? Apparently not. Otherwise you'd realize that there's no difference between between straight society disregarding gay members and gay society doing the same thing. Just because Stuffed Animal has a different experience or opinion than you doesn't mean he/she is a "lost cause" or "inane". This is the problem. Joel says that things get better once you get away from all the nasty high schoolers, but what he doesn't tell us is that our own population can be just as discriminatory and prejudiced. I would assume that you two are either gay or supposedly "gay friendly" yet NEITHER of you have an OUNCE of compassion or understanding for StuffedAnimal's experience and feelings. The two of you and the rest of your judgmental stuck-up ilk are no better than uneducated redneck tormentors. In fact, YOU ARE WORSE because the rednecks don't know any better.

    Posted by: Tim | Oct 16, 2010 4:50:01 AM

  23. i was once that teen bullied harassed ready to end my life,but i believed it would get better..and it didnt as an adult even in my own community im made to feel like an outcast..and believe that life is not worth it

    Posted by: markyus | Oct 16, 2010 5:02:21 PM

  24. That was amazing
    Like everyone else, I was in tears

    Posted by: Derek | Oct 16, 2010 8:53:18 PM

  25. Beautifully Said. Thanks Councilman Burns.

    Posted by: Cranston | Oct 17, 2010 1:00:46 AM

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