The perks of not being a wallflower

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First Posted: 5/23/2014

“So you’re gunna bring your fruity little circus to Montage on Friday?!” began a hateful, grammatically incorrect, misspelled Facebook message from some dude I never met before.

It was two days before the taping of my Adult Swim Night show at Montage Mountain’s water park, and someone voiced outrage that I was having people discuss the topic of a young man who was murdered last year.

“How dare you!” they further expressed. “Get the f—k outta here. You’re disgusting. Profiting $5 from every ticket sold to help you pursue your dream!? How about his mother’s dream of seeing her son get married or holding her grandchild?! Take your sideshow circus elsewhere… Do you even care what happened to him? Do you even know his mother?! I can just see it now… gay freak show, conversation about his death and trial, then males bobbing for dildo’s… There’s a lot of people very close to the whole case that will be in attendance Friday… You’ll be lucky if we don’t tear your stage to the ground…”

They were acting like I was the one who killed him. The message not only cut me apart as a human being, it accused me of trying to profit from someone’s murder and made homophobic rants about a same-sex military wedding taking place on the show.

Little did this misinformed guy know, I actually held the first fundraiser for the young man who was murdered, raising over $1,500 that was delivered to his mother to help with the expenses of his funeral. How much did he raise?

My mind was blown that such negativity could be associated with something intended to be positive.

“The Millennials” is a show I created to give today’s generation a platform to have their voices heard. The Adult Swim Night show was already planned as a fundraiser to help raise money for our documentary, with our guests already booked. A week before the show, I noticed on Facebook that the family I raised money for was having a 5K race on the one-year anniversary of the young man’s murder, and I offered them the platform to come and speak about their event to help spread the word. I sat down with his mother and closest friends, who accepted my invitation.

Misled into an unnecessary argument, the guy who sent me a letter rallied with a group of Facebook “thumb warriors” in protest, begging people not to show up.

A few people told me that they knew people who wouldn’t come if we still let the same-sex wedding take place.

The negativity around something so positive had me questioning if I was doing something wrong.

I was crestfallen.

“Snap out of it,” I told myself. “Wolves don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.”

I chose not to be a wallflower. I continued with the show as planned and watched brave individuals share their stories and have their voices heard.

The people protesting didn’t know me. I realized their problem wasn’t with me, or the people who carried on the legacy of their murdered friend, or the gay couple that got married. It was with themselves. They weren’t comfortable hearing these conversations because they were afraid to have them.

I remembered that’s exactly why I started “The Millennials.” There are certain conversations we need to have so we can open people’s minds and educate them about what’s going on in the world. As soon as I get the money we raised at Montage, every cent will go into a bank account dedicated toward making that happen.