Lisa the Great
"I grew up in Texas and come from a very southern family—racist, homophobic, all of those sorts of things. Difference was not something that was championed. Difference was not something that was welcome. Difference was not something that was ok. I was raised Baptist and was told that what I was feeling was evil and wrong, that I needed to hide it and pray it away.
Lisa was my high school biology teacher and she was the only person who made that all melt away. In retrospect, it’s a strange relationship, but it didn’t seem like it was then. I was like her little brother. I made it through high school because I had this person that I didn’t have to put any walls up around. I had this person that represented safety. I can’t remember if there was ever a time where I looked at Lisa and said I was gay, but I know she always knew. That’s the thing about the relationship—I didn’t have to say anything. She loved, valued and accepted me for who I was. In fact, she loved me because of who I was, which is even more valuable... those people who encourage us to be simply who we are and will stand right beside you as you’re walking through life.
When I think about unconditional love and being an ally in our community, someone who embodies who I hope to be in the lives of others, I think about Lisa. She believes the best impact she can have is to be of service.
Her family has become my family. Her siblings are my siblings. Her daughter, Emma, is my niece. She has raised one of the most remarkable women I have ever met—by herself. I can only hope to have 1/100th of the impact on someone’s life that she has had with Emma. The world is going to be changed because of the woman she raised. I know this."
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