In conservative Modesto, Calif., there's a place where LGBT kids can turn to help their families understand and accept them. Founded by Elizabeth Zapien-Plata and her husband (and former Marine) Ed Plata in 2007, PLACE is an acronym for People Learning Acceptance, Creating Equality, and seeks to create a safe space for LGBTQ youth between the ages of 14 and 19, and to provide support and education for their families and the broader community.
In this video, produced by Modesto filmmakers Rob Brittain and Blake Gentry, youth, family, friends, and PLACE alumni hold up touching, honest signs talking about the change and progress each individual has made through the PLACE. The video is wordless, set to the song "Gregory and the Hawk" by Boats and Birds. But the signs each participant carries say everything that's necessary — including a blue-collar father whose sign reads "I fix machines all day, but I can't fix my gay son… Because he's not broken."
The messages ring true, like that shared by a young lesbian who writes, "I'm living a life, not a 'lifestyle.'"
Watch the video below, and just try to keep your eyes dry.