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My name is Melissa Sweeten, but most people call me Missa. I'm a 43 year old mother of 4 and I've been supportive of the LGBTQ community all my life. 
I had a cousin who was lesbian and we always just loved her. I was raised in church, but was taught that you love your family and leave the judgement to God. I'm not real religious, but I do believe in the "Golden Rule". Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

I guess one of the main reasons I began really getting involved in the fight for LGBTQ rights had to have been my very best friend. He passed away last August from AIDS. His family always told him that it was his punishment for being gay. I stood toe to toe with his siblings on more than one occasion. I believe that you love who you love. No matter your sexual orientation, you deserve to love and be loved.

I guess the final straw was back a few years ago. A very happy 15 year old boy turned depressed over night and took his life. He was being bullied in school and went to the counselor for help. This counselor then took it upon herself to out the young man to his parents who were pastors at their church. He came home from school to find his bags on the front porch. His parents told him that he was perverted and was no longer a part of their family. This broke his heart. I saw him only hours before he took his life. I offered him a place to stay, but he refused. He told me he was fine and I shouldn't worry. If only I had been more insistent, maybe he would still be here. I kick myself every day for not being more stubborn. His note said that he just couldn't bear living, knowing that his own parents didn't love him anymore. I was devastated. That's when I decided, I wasn't gonna lose another kid to suicide if I could help. That's when I started making videos on YouTube and talking to kids online.

I don't think you can call yourself a parent if you don't love your child unconditionally. I want to make sure that every kid in the world knows that no matter what your sexual orientation, they are loved. Some kids just need to know that someone out there loves and accepts them just the way they are. I want to be that one person. I may not know all of they kids I talk to personally, but I do let them know that I love and accept them just the way they are. I let them know that they're not broken or evil. Love is beautiful whether gay or straight. If I keep just one kid from taking their life, I feel like I can change the world... one kid at a time.

To anyone out there struggling with coming out or accepting your sexuality, know this: if no one else in the world accepts you, I do. I think you are an amazing person and you are not alone. I'll always be here.

Counselor and Author