“On February 12th, an openly gay 15-year-old boy named Larry who was an eighth-grader in Oxnard, California was murdered by a fellow eighth-grader named Brandon. Larry was killed because he…was gay. Days before he was murdered, Larry asked his killer to be his Valentine.
“I don’t want to be political. This is not political, I’m not a political person, but this is personal to me. A boy has been killed and a number of lives have been ruined.
“And somewhere along the line the killer Brandon got the message that it’s so threatening and so awful and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay you can be killed for it, we need to change the message.
“Larry was not a second class citizen. I am not a second class citizen. It is okay if you’re gay. I don’t care what people say. I don’t care what people think. And I know there are entire groups of people who face discrimination every single day and we’re a long way from treating each other equally. All of it is unacceptable. All of it. But I would like you to start paying attention to how often being gay is the punchline of a monologue. Or how often gay jokes are in a movie. And that kind of message — laughing at someone because they’re gay — is just the beginning. It starts with laughing at someone, then it’s verbal abuse, then it’s physical abuse, and then it’s this kid Brandon killing a kid like Larry.
“We must change our country and we can do it with our behavior, we can do it with the messages we send our children, we can do it with our vote. This is an election year and there’s a lot of talk about change. I think one thing we can change is hate. Check on who you’re voting for, and does that person really truly believe that we are all equal under the law? And if you’re not sure, change your vote. We deserve better. My heart goes out to everybody involved in this horrible, horrible incident.”
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