After all the horrific news in the past few weeks, seeing a message of love and unity spread as quickly as this one is hope we all could use.
On June 15, Pennsylvania mom Devon Berryann penned a touching Facebook post that has quickly gone viral. In her post, Berryann explains that her 6-year-old son Silas sometimes likes to paint his nails and wear tutus to school.
She shares, "He tells me about the boys he likes at school. He says he will marry them and adopt babies. Maybe he will outgrow it. Maybe not. I love and accept him for who he is. I always thought that doing that would protect him from the pain of hurtful words and bullies, and I didn’t worry."
But then a recent exchange at school—in conjunction with the horrific events in Orlando—had the mom rethinking her theory. She explains, "A couple days ago, he came home and told me again about kids teasing him at school for his nail polish, and for the first time ever I considered talking him into taking it off. Into hiding that part of himself. Because, for the first time ever, I was scared that he would be gunned down one night when he was out having a good time with his friends. In that moment, I was so terrified that I wondered if it would be better to stop appeasing him."
But that doubt didn't last long. Instead, Berryann concludes her powerful post by pleading with the world to show more love and acceptance, because Silas is who he is—and he is special and amazing and perfect.
"Then I remembered all the reasons I let him be who he wants. Because it makes him happy. Because nothing hurts more than seeing your child truly sad. Because pretending to be someone you’re not to please other people only leads to self-loathing. To depression and to suicide. And that too made me afraid. Why do I have to fear for him because of what he likes and who he cares about? Aren’t we past all this yet?
"I want this world to change. To be better for him. To DESERVE him. Because he is a wonderful, amazing person. He wants to be president. As scared as I am, I know that this world is not going to change with more fear. It has plenty of that. What it needs is more love and acceptance.
"So, yesterday, we went out and bought more nail polish, and today we wore tutus. So here he is, world. See my boy for the amazing person he is. Show him love. Show him acceptance. Help us change the world into one that deserves him."
Berryman tells ABC News that she shared her story in an effort to encourage people to be more accepting of the LGBTQ community. And the response has been overwhelmingly positive. As of this writing, her post has garnered over 75,000 likes and 13,000 shares. "A lot of people said it makes them more hopeful for the next generation of kids growing up," Berryann says. "After the shooting, I didn't want people to be scared to let their kids express themselves anymore. I've had a lot of people message me saying what a difference it would've made in their lives if their parents would've been just as accepting as us."
And if there are more people like Berryann in the world, we'd say she's heading in the right direction. And as if you needed any more things to bring tears to your eyes today, here's adorable Silas thanking everyone for supporting his mom's beautiful message.
Photographs by: Devon Berryann