Marine Sargent Brandon Morgan on Wednesday advised struggling gay teens to be true to themselves.

A homecoming kiss photo between Morgan and his partner Dalan Wells received thousands of comments and likes after it was posted on the Gay Marines Facebook page. Most commenters left notes of encouragement thanking Morgan for his dedicated service.

During an appearance on MSNBC, anchor Thomas Roberts asked, “For kids around this country that may be struggling with their own sexual identities – afraid, ashamed, maybe even being bullied as we speak – what's your message to them?”

“My message to them would be to not be afraid to be yourself,” Morgan answered.

“I went through my whole life wondering who I was. And it only took the recent mistakes I made in my life to finally figure out that who I was is who I really am. You should never be afraid to be yourself. If you are afraid and you're not true to yourself and not who you're supposed to be, then you end up hurting yourself and others, and it's just a downward spiral.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Instead of national media attention and a shrug from commanders, Morgan would have been facing an almost certain discharge from the military under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the policy which ended last September that barred gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.