I am writing this letter because I would like to personally thank you for everything that you have done and continue to do for me and all LGBT Americans. Your endorsement of marriage equality is a monumental step forward in our pursuit and demonstrates the kind of progress that we can make with you as our advocate.
I know that making the decision to publicly endorse marriage equality may not have been the easiest or most politically beneficial thing to do as you seek re-election this year but it was certainly the right thing to do and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Furthermore, I know something about making tough decisions.
From the beginning of my early teenage years, I can remember being different. No one really noticed these differences, but I felt alone and afraid. On the outside, I was everything that I was supposed to be. I played on my high school football team, I was elected class president and I served as the editor-in-chief of our school newspaper. I had a job, I got good grades and by all accounts, I had a very promising future ahead of me. Internally, however, I was engaged in an intense battle to come to terms with an identity I had been taught for so long to hate. I knew that I was gay and despite all of my efforts to change that, I knew that I could not.
By the time that I reached my second semester in college, I was so overcome with depression that I feared for my life. I was 19-years-old with all kinds of social pressure from friends and family to live up to all that was expected of me. By mid-terms, my grades had begun to slip. I was so depressed that I couldn't even bring myself to go to class. I wanted it to all be over. I lost nearly forty pounds in those few weeks. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think. I knew that something had to change or I would die by my own hand.
As I lay awake in my bed, reflecting on my life, delusional from lack of sleep and food, my mind began to drift. I'd spent the night watching videos online of coming out stories of other gay kids. I'd also read a few articles about kids who had taken their lives while engaged in this battle. I even came across a video of you, Mr. President, encouraging me to remain strong and know that it would get better. This was my breaking point and I decided then that this struggle would not kill me and that even if it meant losing everything, it was not worth dying for.
The next day, I came out to all of my family and friends. For the most part, they were loving and supportive. Those conversations are very foggy in my memory. I don't know exactly what was said or how it affected me. All I know is that I told them the secret that I had kept for so many years. I was alive. Everything felt different. Everything happened for the first time all over again. My first shower, my first meal...it was truly like being re-born with a whole new life.
Nearly two years have passed and so much has changed, not just in my life but throughout the world. I just started going back to school, I made new friends who love me just the way that I am and I met and fell in love with the best man I have ever known. My fiancé Damian holds me up and supports me in ways that I cannot even begin to express. I am finally comfortable and happy with who I am and I owe some of that happiness to your leadership, Mr. President.
Mr. President, I have always supported you because of your sound resolve to better our nation and I am truly impressed by all that you have accomplished during your first term and I'm not just talking about marriage equality. From ending the war in Iraq, a war that my older brother fought in, to helping our economy add jobs so I have one to look forward to when I graduate; from the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act to the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; from passing monumental healthcare reform so that my mother can keep me covered while I'm in school to becoming the first sitting U.S. president to endorse full equality in marriage, I know that there isn't anyone who would do more for me or for the American people than you.
This November, like so many other Americans, I support you, Mr. President, because you support me.
Thank you for everything
—Dwight, North Carolina