Hillary Clinton Reassures Gay Youth In Viral Facebook Photo With Passion And Compassion

Hillary Rodham Clinton offered moral support to a distraught gay youth who shared his anxiety about his future in a viral photograph posted on the Humans of New York Facebook page, telling him on Friday that it would be “amazing.”


The boy, who is not named in the photo, is shown frowning and holding his head in his hands while sitting on a stoop.


“I’m homosexual, and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me,” he said, according to the caption.


Two hours after the picture was posted, Mrs. Clinton typed out some words of encouragement and signed her comment “H,” indicating that it was written by her and not by a member of her staff.


“Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing,” she wrote. “You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you — there will be lots of them.”


Kristina Schake, Clinton’s deputy communications director, took a screen shot of the comment and shared it on Twitter shortly after it was written.


Humans of New York is no stranger to viral content. Its posts, often showcasing the quirkier side of life in New York City, have been viewed millions of times and have inspired imitators in cities and countries around the world, including SyriaMumbai, India; and Tehran.


But the nature of Friday’s post — a young gay person who appeared little more than a child, and Mrs. Clinton’s comforting response — gave it a lightning-in-a-bottle charge that helped it spread rapidly. Within 24 hours, it had been liked by more than 530,000 people and shared over 47,000 times, with more than 33,000 people scrolling through the comment thread to like Mrs. Clinton’s response.


Mrs. Clinton has made support for gay people one of the cornerstones of her presidential campaign. Two days before the Supreme Court ruled last month that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, her campaign released a video that featured a montage of same-sex weddings.


“Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct, but in fact, they are one and the same,” she said in the video. “Being L.G.B.T. does not make you less human.”


Gay rights organizations scored a major victory with the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, but significant challenges remain, they say. Discrimination is still an issue, and many young people face isolation and hostility from their families and communities.


According to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization, lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are four times more likely than their straight peers to attempt suicide, and roughly a quarter of transgender youth report having made at least one suicide attempt. [New York Times]


Twitter @sheriffali


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