'If you could see what I feel' - PSA aims to show the pain words can cause

A few months ago, after I did an interview in which I mentioned how hurtful insults and slurs can be, my dad called and brought up the subject. He said he was sorry if ever he had talked a certain way in front of me when I was young, if he'd used certain words that made fun of gay people. "We just didn't know back then, not to use those words. We had no idea. It's not something we talked about much."

I so appreciate that my dad is a sweet man who would take the time to acknowledge this, and I understand completely what he's saying. The reality is that most of us grew up in a pretty homophobic and transphobic world, wherein it was thought normal and acceptable to make fun of LGBT people or use slurs. Whether it's "that's so gay" or "don't be a sissy," or other variations of that, in English and Spanish (I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard "que maricón"), it's hurtful when you're part of the group being made fun of or put down.

Anti-LGBT language can also make you feel ashamed or make you want to hide. It separates you from those you love most. I know that when, as a young person, I heard people making fun of LGBT people, I had a feeling of rejection. I was too young to define myself as gay—I didn't even know the word "lesbian" but I knew that, I too, was one of "them" – that group that was made fun of. And it hurt.

Words are powerful. They can be beautiful and inspiring. And they can cause pain.

To bring awareness to the power of words, GLAAD's Spanish-Language and Latino Media intern Orlando Bedolla created two videos in Spanish called "If you could see what I feel." Orlando, who is studying Television, Film, and Media Studies at Cal State Los Angeles, asked "what if you could actually see the hurt you're inflicting on your kids by using these words?" He put together a team of fellow students, including Alfredo Hernandez on lighting, Danny Mendoza as Cinematographer, and Valeria Gonzalez as makeup artist and recruited actors from the community.PSA shoot "If you could see what I feel"

Two of the actors have, sadly, had personal experience with these types of words. Guiliani Viana, who plays the son in the father/son PSA, faced so much anti-gay hate from his father that he recently changed his last name, no longer wanting to carry the name of a person who did not respect him. Mariana Marroquin, who plays the mom in the mother/daughter PSA also has faced anti-LGBT attitudes. As a transgender woman, an advocate and an actress, Mariana has spoken about personal instances of rejection and discrimination in order to make it clear to audiences that transphobia can have a high and violent cost. Orlando himself remembers hearing words like the ones in the PSA.

It was powerful to be at the shoot and watch the director himself and some actors and crew have to step away at times, go outside, get some fresh air and regroup in order to distance themselves from the painful memories the PSA conjured.

It may be painful, but we have to remember, in order to make sure today's kids don't have to face the same terrible experience.

We know it can take time to understand how to be a supportive parent. It took many of us who are LGBT years to love and accept ourselves. But it's critically important that families do the best they can to accept their LGBT kids. To assist in that process, GLAAD created a resource page in Spanish with links to supportive organizations and articles for families.

Young people who have family support do so much better in life. Their health, education, their outlook on life—all is improved many times over by feeling their family accepts them.

Please take a look at the videos and share them to start conversations with people in your wider community. Only by making the wounds visible do we have a chance to impact the habits and actions of those who may have no idea how much pain they're causing the people they most love.