Last year, the VMA's inspired Stephen Lovegrove to go public about being a gay Christian, a decision which cost him his job as a resident advisor at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. His story got traction, even being picked up by MTV.
Earlier this week, Stephen sent GLAAD a one-year update, noting how much his life has changed for the better after leaving Charleston Southern University. He writes:
One year later, I am happy to report that my life is in a very different place. I am at a new university that is truly diverse, and absolutely loving it. Actually, I’m the director of Safe Zones, a program we have to create a more inclusive school for LGBTQ students. I also host a YouTube talk show and have spoken with lots of different guests about issues of sexuality and spirituality. Best of all, I get to volunteer with Human Rights Campaign in a program with a youth center helping homeless LGBTQ youth in my city. And I’m in talks for a new independent reality show portraying characters who are young queer individuals grappling with love and spirituality in their college years.
Life is absolutely fantastic. :D I am still speaking out about employment discrimination and other issues faced by the queer community. My story always gets people attention and helps them understand all the work that still needs to be done. We are all in this movement together.
MTV did a one year follow up with Stephen as well, diving further into how his life has changed, and some of the causes that are important to him, including employment non-discrimination, safe spaces, and LGBT youth homelessness.
ACT: Last year you reached out to us after being moved by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s performance of “Same Love” at the VMAs. How do you think that song (and other songs with social messages) can help people?
STEPHEN: “Same Love” came out (no pun intended) at a key moment in my life. That song helped me believe that I could love another human being, that my love was good and real and equal to every other human being. I think songs have the ability to affect our hearts more than any other form of media because we listen to them over and over again. My generation tends to tune out the social messages of cable news and political gatherings, but we’re paying attention to what’s on the charts. Those messages matter.