Dear Guido Barilla,
I am writing to you today under unfortunate circumstances. When I woke up this morning, I certainly didn’t expect to end my day by writing a letter to the chairman of a pasta company, but here we are. I am writing to you in regards to your recent statements about my family. I know you don’t know my actual family, because, you know, we aren’t close, you and I. So, let me introduce you. My wife and I have been married, legally, for nearly ten years. We have a four-year-old daughter together. She calls us Mommy and Mama. We eat dinner at our table together every night. We work hard. We love even harder.
We are the gay family that you don’t agree with.
I’m not really sure how you can disagree with a family structure, honestly. We love each other. We’re not doing anything illegal. Our daughter is an incredible little kid who continues to grow and amaze us daily. We take our responsibilities seriously. To her. To each other. To our community.
The thing is, you can think whatever you want about my family. You’re wrong, but you’re free. I actually don’t want to try to convince you that my family rules. It does, but if you can’t see that gay families deserve equal treatment by now, then I can’t imagine this letter is going to change your mind. That’s fine.
I’m not here to change your mind. I’m here to tell you to stop talking.
In a world where LGBT youth kill themselves too often, in a world where my community is still tortured and murdered for something we can’t control, in this world where public opinion has shifted away from your ideas and a lot closer to mine, in this world where nothing is perfect and people are hurting, in this world where you are in a position of power and authority as the chairperson of a major corporation, you need to keep your ideas to yourself. Please. For my family. For my community. For all of us.
While we won’t be buying your products anymore, like many others in the LGBT community and our allies, this really isn’t about that. It’s about responsibility. When you speak, people listen. When your company takes a stand for homophobia instead of against it, the world is paying attention. Many are outraged, many aren’t. It’s those who agree with you that I’m worried about. Those who will now speak of your words proudly at their dinner table tonight in front of their closeted teenager.
The time has come for the hate to end. The world is ready for those in power to step forward for equality. If you aren’t ready to join them, then please, just quietly step back.