Previously, I shared a song called “The Village” by Wrabel with all of you. This song is so important that I wanted to share the story behind the story. Stephen’s story is representative of so many in the LGBTQ+ community in that the church has told them something is wrong with them. Here is Stephen Wrabel in his own words.

The Story Behind ‘The Village’

We are here and we are who we are and we are valid.

By Wrabel, Contributor

Singer/songwriter

Aug 15, 2017, 02:01 PM EDT

Childhood

i grew up in church . my childhood was quite nomadic , but church was the constant . fast forward to when I was 23 and i came out to my church in los angeles . it was called “reality” ( how ironic) . there they had a gay guru of sorts . he was the example of what it could be like to be freed from this burden of same-sex attraction . i was offered reparative therapy but couldn’t do it . this “all loving god” i was taught about as a kid . this savior that loves the outcasts . he’s hanging out and washing the feet of people that no one wants anything to do with but he hates me cause i’m gay ? cause i have a beautiful and humongous capacity to truly and deeply love another man ? and so i got kicked out along with my first boyfriend that i met there . and it tore him apart and it tore me apart and it tore us apart . it left some of the deepest scars that still bleed.

On Tour

here i am , twenty eight , living in los angeles , writing and singing songs . i went on my first tour last year . my first time getting face-to-face time with people that have been listening to my songs and my stories . and i meet these two kids , two trans teenagers and here’s where the story really starts .

these two guys . they are themselves , simply themselves with nothing to hide . it took me twenty-three years , six churches , countless blacked out nites , a stint in rehab , and a suicide note to be able to utter the words “ i’m gay “ . even just to myself . and one nite after a show , i meet these two guys and they are just as they are . i was so inspired . i started talking with them and we got to know each other quite well . i’ve met their families and their girlfriends . i hear about what life is like for them .

I cried for trans kids.

come february 23 , the day after trump took away federal protections for trans students in public schools . i cried when i heard the news . i cried for them . i cried cause i knew how hard it was for them already . i feared that this would give other kids permission to hate more freely . i was talking to them that day and hearing about what it felt like . my heart broke . i was on my way to a writing session and the word “village” kept swirling around in my head . like it’s gonna take a village to fix this . to come together and DO something . i asked my friends drew pearson and andrew jackson if they would tell this story with me .

i sent “the village” to those two fans thinking if they were the only people to hear it , that’s good enough for me . i saw how much it meant to them and knew I had to release it . they kept saying “this will help so many people” . if it had such an impact on us , what could it do for everyone out there that feels like an outcast ? what could it do for a trans kid sitting in a church pew in alabama ? or a straight guy in nebraska that hates trans people but doesn’t even know why ? or a pastor’s son that’s starting to question his sexuality but feels like the whole world will end if he even thinks about saying anything .

Spread hope

so here we are . dano cerny made a powerful , bold , beautiful video starring august aiden . dano and august have two of the biggest hearts and the most brilliant minds and both poured themselves into this ten thousand percent . i still can’t watch the video without sobbing . i’ve never experienced anything like the day we shot the video . it was like everyone was THERE . truly there . so present , so invested , so much heart . we planned on releasing it in october , but when we all woke up to trump’s tweets about banning trans people from serving in the military , we all realized the importance of getting it out as soon as possible to shed some light . to spread some hope .

and now we share this with you . it’s so much bigger than me . this is real life , these are real people . no matter race , religion , gender identity , orientation . . . we’re all people . we have to understand that . people are dying . i want to say that again . people are dying . due to what ? closed-mindedness ? is that ok ? this isn’t political . this is HUMAN . lgbtq+ is not a fad . it’s not a phase . it is not a MYTH . we are here and we are who we are and we are valid . we all have our own realities , our own stories , our own past , present , and hope for the future . it’s so so very important that we look outside of ourselves and look to another person and try to understand . to see from their eyes and walk in their shoes .

i give you this song and this video with all of my love .

wrabel

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site.

The Story Behind ‘The Village’ | HuffPost Voices

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