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Gay Teen's Open Letter to Liam Payne

Liam Payne

Dear Liam Payne,

As a gay teen growing up in a small town, I can't put into words how difficult it was being myself, but turning to music helped me pull through the tough times. When I became aware of One Direction many years ago, I instantly became addicted, furthermore even developing a little crush on you specifically. It was safe to say I was a "Directioner".
As I was scrolling through Twitter, I couldn't help but notice your tweet to Phil Robertson's son, Willie, praising him for the "family values he still beholds".
My heart sank as I came to realize what exactly that meant. The "family values" reference is used when people don't support equality and compassion for LGBT individuals. In addition, praising the Robertson family after they compared who I am to those that rape animals is disgusting. As an activist, I'm no stranger to hurtful comments, however there are thousands of gay teenagers just like myself on the brink of suicide, abandoned by their friends and family, teased and bullied day after day. Your support for something so offensive may be the last straw for those folks. To see someone that I looked up to and admired for so many years say something so incomprehensible is saddening to me.
One of my favorite YouTubers' Tyler Oakley, had the courage to call you out by tweeting "Wow. Very confused and disappointed by this tweet. This literally changes everything." Shortly after, your 15.5 million Twitter followers told Tyler he should "Go kill himself" and "Officially lost my respect for Tyler".
Last month, Phil Robertson made comments such as "It all starts with homosexual behavior and just morphs out from there. Bestiality..." I immediately stood up for myself and posted on Facebook how I found his comments deeply hurtful and rude. In the process, many of my close friends wanted nothing to do with me after that. In fact, my best friend and the first person I came out to even posted both on his own wall as well as mine stating "I support Phil Robertson".
The point is, maybe you simply don't understand the implications of the effects those comments have on people like me, but it sucks. It's not kind, it's hurtful, and most of all, it's not what I expected someone like you to support.
It's tough enough being gay in a predominantly heterosexual society, where I don't have the right to marry the person I love or having to worry about getting fired from my job simply because of my sexual orientation. I didn't choose to be gay just as you didn't choose to be straight. In this hurtful world, I thought I could count on music like you make to help me feel better. Apparently I was mistaken.
After receiving minimal backlash over your comments, you took to Twitter again to post "Sick of all this bull il be back again when the freedom of speech law is back" and "Pick your balls up off the floor", which I assume you were referring to those you hurt, much like myself.
Since you likely didn't have much time studying Government 101 in school while being in a popular band, I'll give you a quick lesson on the "freedom of speech law" that you tweeted about. The First Amendment, which covers Freedom of Speech allows us to voice our religious or political beliefs without fear of governmental prosecution. Since neither you nor the Robertson's were fined or imprisoned, this is not a freedom of speech issue.

With love and hope,

Jordan Turner

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