Editors' Note: Guest blogger Sean Carlson is a writer and organizer from Washington, DC. Sean is the co-founder of Talk About Equality, an LGBT blog focusing on personal stories and leveraging narrative for social change.
Coming out was easily one of the best times of my life. One simple action filled my life with unexpected and wonderful clarity and honesty. For the first time I was truly being honest with myself and those around me. It was a fresh and invigorating time for me and was very nearly ruined by a fellow student: Ryan Miner.
The very week that I began telling my colleagues and friends, brave students at Duquesne University were attempting to start the first gay straight alliance on our Catholic campus and one student, Miner, stood in their way. He took to facebook, a brand new platform at the time, and lead the charge against the GSA with characteristic arrogance, filled our community with anti-gay animus, and even went so far as to say that gays were subhuman.
Ryan Miner almost single-handedly created a hostile and disrespectful atmosphere on our campus. Though he eventually lost, his comments helped me understand the stakes for LGBT people and provided the motivation for me to get in the game.
Now he has again taken to the internet seeking absolution:
“I did not measure my words; I did not think clearly. I made a statement in haste and words can sincerely have hurtful consequences, and that’s the message to students or anyone who uses the Internet,” Miner told Channel 4 Action News reporter Shannon Perrine in a Skype interview.
He believes it’s important to tell others to stand up for what you believe in — but to be careful about the words you use to do it.
“You have to have some principles behind you, and at that time, I just didn’t have it. It was immaturity and I’m profoundly sorry,” Miner said.
What you write on the internet lasts forever. Ryan Miner didn’t get it at the time, but now he’s starting to learn the hard way. After being fired from one job and having difficulty finding others he is finding himself in a Rick Santorum situation (just google it).
Only Ryan knows what’s in his heart now. If he has come around and now regrets his statements, not just how he posted them, then I, as someone most directly affected by his remarks, am willing to forgive him.
But absolution won't come that easy. He’s still paying for his mistakes, and rightly so. I think a demonstration of his commitment to making it right is in order. Spending a few hours volunteering at an LGBT youth center, making an It Gets Better video, or issuing a public statement about school bullying.
That, more than a surface attempt to fix his Google problem, would go a long way to making it right.