While there’s still no word from MTV on the letter, the number of people who have contacted me in one way or another to show support has been incredible. I’ve gotten messages from close friends, complete strangers, men, women, teenagers, Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, Australians, young, old, gay, straight, and so on.
While I am still hoping that MTV will answer, or at least acknowledge, the letter, I have received 3 responses that really give me hope.
1. I got a phone a call from the (very macho) father of a close friend.
“Raja, I want to thank you very much for your letter. I didn’t even realize you were gay and I just realized I really don’t care. You’re the first gay person I meet, and you’re not half bad.”
The father didn’t know that his son is gay. The son came out to both his parents this weekend.
2. Two older members of my family, with whom I had never discussed my sexuality, contacted me. They were both surprised and very supportive. One of them wrote me this (in French. I translated it here):
“Growing up, I went through a period where I was questioning my sexuality. I soon realized I was indeed straight, and it was a great relief to me because I knew that my father would not accept it in any way shape or form if I was gay. I just want you to know, that if you need any kind of support, I’m here for you. I would hate for you to think that your family is against you.”
3. The heads (yes, the top management) of two other Lebanese TV stations have contacted me, thanking me for bringing an important topic up. They both admitted to being guilty of some bullying, and both said they would try to see how they can work on it. I am meeting with one of the TV stations soon to try and work together on changing the way things are done.
These are just a few of almost a hundred reactions that I’ve received. I am still trying to read through many of them, but I do want to thank everyone who helped spread this.
If you haven’t done so yet, please post the article (http://ohmyhappiness.com/2012/02/24/an-open-letter-to-mtv-lebanon/) to your Facebook or Tweet about it. The more people read it, the more likely MTV (and other TV stations) are to start changing their approach to these issues.