Orlando Tribute From 'Middle-Age Straight' Guy Strikes a Chord

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox apologizes for his previous homophobia
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2016 6:36 AM CDT

One of the post-Orlando speeches that continues to resonate comes from Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who addressed a vigil on Monday. He first acknowledged an obvious point at the Salt Lake City rally: "I recognize fully that I am a balding, youngish, middle-age straight, white, male, Republican politician ... with all of the expectations and privileges that come with those labels," he said, per USA Today. "I am probably not who you expected to hear from today." But he then went on to apologize for not treating gay people kindly while growing up in a rural small town. A key passage:

  • "There were some kids in my class that were different. Sometimes I wasn't kind to them. I didn't know it at the time, but I know now that they were gay. I will forever regret not treating them with the kindness, dignity, and respect—the love—that they deserved. For that, I sincerely and humbly apologize. Over the intervening years, my heart has changed. It has changed because of you."

Other highlights from the speech, plus reaction:

  • "I'm here because, yesterday morning, 49 Americans were brutally murdered. And it made me sad. And it made me angry. And it made me confused. I'm here because those 49 people were gay. I'm here because it shouldn't matter. But I'm here because it does."
  • "I am not here to tell you that I know exactly what you are going through. I am not here to tell you that I feel your pain. I don't pretend to know the depths of what you are feeling right now. But I do know what it feels like to be scared. And I do know what it feels like to be sad. And I do know what it feels like to be rejected. And, more importantly, I know what it feels like to be loved."
  • Vox post: "It's an incredible speech full of empathy and humility, and it's worth watching in full. [You can do that here.] The speech is not only a moving tribute to the Orlando victims—it's also a great example of how to be a good ally to marginalized communities that you support but aren't a member of."
  • Queerty headline: "GOP lawmaker gets it right on Orlando attack; this is the Republican Party we need."
  • GayStarNews headline: "Remarkable speech ... "
  • KSL has the transcript here.
(More Pulse Orlando shooting stories.)

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