Teen boy ‘forced out of church music group’ after coming out as gay – but then something incredible happens
A teenage boy who was forced out of his church music group after coming out as gay has had a tidal wave of support from the local community.
Gabriel, 13, performed as a pianist as part of a music group during Sunday services at the church in Lincoln, Nebraska, until this month.
He told KETV7 that he was “a proud member of the church” but was forced to leave when the church elders “found out I was wearing Pride gear” to practise sessions.
The Pride t-shirt in question features a small rainbow and the message “true to you”.
The decision shocked Gabriel and his mother Colleen because the church, which they have decided not to name publicly, was billed as an inclusive and welcoming space.
Gabriel said: “They told me, since I’m a leader, they wouldn’t want me promoting things that they’re against.”
LGBT+ community rallies around teen who was forced out of church music group after coming out as gay.
Colleen posted an account of the incident to Facebook where it “got really big, really fast”, with the Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska group encouraging members to send messages of support to Gabriel in collaboration with a local LGBT+ charity.
The family has since been deluged of cards and letters of support from people in the local community, as well as LGBT+ people from further afield.
Frank Roark, owner of a printing shop in Lincoln, custom-made 500 cards bearing a pro-LGBT+ message which he handed out for free, encouraging his customers to send messages of support to Gabriel.
“These people are the examples of who we should all be,” Colleen said. “[Frank] took what could have been one of the worst experiences and turned them into one of the best experiences.”
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Gabriel added: “It felt really good to know that people cared. Even kids sent stuff… I’ve never felt something so powerful, it just put a wide smile on my face knowing there were people out there that cared about me. And not just people, strangers.
“There’s a lot of good in the world and there’s a little bit of bad in the world. But when the bad comes, the good comes too.”
Drag Queen Story Time Nebraska said: “Thank you cherubs for helping spread love! It warms our heart that so many of you jumped in to spread kindness and love!
“We just dropped off another batch of notes and he is floored by your love! Be well everyone and spread love!”
Supportive messages can be sent to Gabriel via the address: Gabriel B. C/O OutNebraska, 211N 14th St, Lincoln, NE 68508.