Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns on
Friday kicked off a media blitz.
On Tuesday, the openly gay lawmaker
movingly reached out to troubled gay teens considering taking their
At a city council meeting, the lawmaker
became emotional as he talked about his own experience growing up
gay. He suggested that he had once considered taking his own life to
escape the taunting and bullying of classmates and urged troubled
teens to hang in there.
“Yes, high school was difficult.
Coming out was painful. But life got so much better for me. And I
want to tell any teen who might see this: Give yourself a chance to
see just how much better life will be. And it will get better.”
A video of his moving 12-minute speech,
embedded in the right panel of this page, was posted on YouTube and
has been viewed more than 500,000 times as of Friday morning.
On Friday, Burns appeared on CNN's
Newsroom, NPR's radio program All Things Considered,
and ABC's World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer.
Appearances will continue on Saturday
with an early morning segment on CBS' The Early Show, followed
by an interview on NBC Nightly News.
Scheduled for next week are interviews
for Inside Edition and MTV News.
In his remarks to fellow lawmakers,
Burns spoke about the recent deaths of Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Billy
Lucas and Justin Aaberg as he reached out to other troubled teens.
Brown, 13, shot himself in his dad's closet on Sept. 23; Walsh, 13,
died nine days after his attempt to take his own life by hanging left
him in a coma; Lucas, 15, hung himself in his grandmother's barn; and
Aaberg, 15, took his own life in July. All four boys were gay or
perceived to be gay and routinely faced harassment from other teens.