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Wow, incredible story from the Advocate

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My friend Chris just sent me the following email:

Here's a bit of good news for the holidays --

You remember the reality show "Welcome to the Neighborhood" where a bunch of not-run-of-the-mill families competed for the residents of a neighborhood to vote for them to receive a new house? ABC didn't broadcast it because of legal concerns, but one really terrific story came out of it, and is reported in the January 17 issue of the Advocate (the one with Heath Ledger on the cover).

One family that was already in the neighborhood was headed by a total redneck by the name of Jim, and he was particularly horrified when he saw that one of the families was a white gay male couple with an African American baby. (They ended up being the family that got the house.)

Well, there was another angle. It turns out that the redneck guy has a gay son from a previous marriage that he had basically cut out of his life -- and this never came up during the show.

I'm typing in a few excerpts because I think this is so cool, but you should check out the whole article when it's up on the Advocate's website:

"During the six episodes, Jim (the redneck) had gotten to know the Wrights (the gay couple). 'I began visiting with the gay family and realized they are just like everybody else.' Over dinner one night, Jim asked John Wright what a day in the life of a gay man is like. 'John said he'd been chased, spit on, beat up, and humiliated,' Jim says. 'And I started thinking that discriminating against my own son was the worst discrimination there is. As the show went on, it dawned on me that being gay is not a choice. I didn't understand it's in the DNA. I realized prejudice is through fear and ignorance, and in my case, I had both.'

"Two weeks after the show finished taping and Jim had done a lot of soul-searching, he called Jason (his son). Jason was unprepared for what his dad had to say. 'The call came out of nowhere,' he says. 'My dad told me he loved me unconditionally and was a changed person and was ashamed of how he treated me in the past and that he would accept me and anyone in my life -- that was a huge decision. I was crying in my car."

"Jim showed his son he believed that gays should have the right to be families by standing on the state capitol steps at a rally opposing a state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage (this was in Texas). The proposition passed on November 8, but Jason was proud of his dad."

There's more, and you should read it. Just a little ray of hope for a Christmas season that could use one.

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