A South African soap star has written a powerful open letter to LGBTI youth after he kissed another man on the show.
South African soap “7de Laan” – which translates to “7th Avenue” – earlier this month screened the first gay kiss in its 17 year history, between hunky lovers Logan (played by Simon Tuit) and Divan (played by Arnu de Villiers).
The episode divided audiences in the country, but Simon took to Facebook to write a lengthy letter responding to detractors and to speak to LGBTI youth.
“This letter isn’t directed at those who cried for 7de Laan to be banned or who said they’ll never watch the show again or how disgusted they were by seeing two men kissing,” he wrote.
“As much as your hateful response saddens me and as much as I hope that my words will somehow strike a chord in your heart – I realize the odds of me changing your point of view are very slim.
“But do please remember the words of Nelson Mandela: ‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion (and by extension being any form of “queer”). People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.'”
The actor went on to specifically reach out to young people watching the scene “with a lump in your throat” because they may have seen their family react negatively to the kiss.
“I hope that you will take away from this, that there is a larger society out there who accepts you, and there is a place for you in it, without you having to change,” he wrote.
“I want to reassure you that things do get better. If you are not comfortable standing up yet, try your best to ignore people trying to take away your dignity. We’re a community of amazing ‘moffies’ who brighten up a sad and dreary world with glittery sparkles.
“Don’t think you have to be conform to anybody’s idea of what gay is, be the kind of person you want to be.
“We’re a community of Alan Turings (father of modern day computer technology), Alexander the Greats (conqueror of nations), Leonardo Da Vincis and Michaelangelos (scientific and artistic geniuses who propelled us out of the Dark Ages). And of course, Ellen DeGenereses whose positivity and humor brings out laughter and smiles all around!
“When you’re ready to … accept yourself and love yourself for who you are remember that there is a community of decent human beings, gay and straight and other, and we’re here for you.”
Read Simon’s powerful letter in full on his Facebook page:
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