Mother’s Incredible LGBTQ+ Allyship Caught on Video Goes Viral
Author: Christopher Wiggins
A mother of four from Tennessee has been hailed for an epic demonstration of allyship captured on video.
During a meeting of the Maury County Board of Trustees on October 26, 33-year-old Jessee Graham got up to speak from the heart as she addressed the recent resignation of the public library director. After months of controversy over a Pride month display that included LGBTQ+ Brooks, Zachary Fox had resigned. Graham had a few things to say and she did not hold back.
Across TikTok and Twitter, a video of the passionate, heartfelt speech gained more than 2 million views.
“These people have been with us this entire time, and we have never had a problem with it,” she says, gesturing at LGBTQ+ supporters in the crowd.
“They have never done any of the vile and disgusting things that that man and his weird cronies have leaked out of their mouths.”
She was referring to Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller.
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I have been in church twice,” Graham says in the video. “The men at the church told me it was my fault.”
Miller and politicians like him, she says, “moved from another place to come here and tell us that the community that we love, we are related to, we are friends with — they babysit our kids, we work with them — that they’re dangerous! That’s bulls**t!”
Turning to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ people behind her, she says, “They haven’t done anything to anyone.”
She says, “I am so sick of listening to this weird, fake pious crap about Christianity being the reason behind, ‘We have to protect the kids.’ Jesus didn’t go anywhere and condemn people! He did not ever walk into any place, spew hatred and lies, and completely annihilate a group of human beings who just want to exist.”
“Why does hate even have a platform,” Graham asks incredulously. “I’m so sick of these straight, white Christian males who are already at the top of the food chain acting like somebody’s out to get them.”
Then, in the tone of a mother dripping with disdain and purpose, she says, “They just want to exist, Aaron — peacefully! Leave them alone!”
The assembled crowd cheers.
Lukas Banks, 30, shot and posted the video to his TikTok account. The married gay man tells The Advocate that he had been recording other speakers and didn’t know what to expect when Graham got up to speak.
He says he had made a presentation to the board that was “subtle compared to Jessee.”
“I did not know Jesse was going to be so, so — I don’t know how to say it — more forceful with [her speech,] really,” he says. “It was unexpected. I knew she was going to talk. I didn’t know it would be such a fiery speech as it was.”
Graham’s speech impressed him because she didn’t read from notes. Instead, she spoke from the heart.
“And she said what everybody should do,” Banks says. “What everybody’s thinking on our side and what allies should be saying. They should be calling these people because we cannot do it ourselves.”
On Tuesday evening, Graham spoke with The Advocate about the outpouring of support from LGBTQ+ people across the country. Although she has lost a few clients, she has been overwhelmed by the positive responses.
“I keep getting messages, you know, from a lot of the LGBTQ community,” she says. “And they’re all sharing their stories with me, which, if I talk about it, it’ll make me emotional and cry because I’m grateful to be in a safe place.”
The fact that some of the clients she curated properties for no longer want to work with her doesn’t matter to her.
“There’s not a monetary value on morality,” Graham says. “And, that’s just, you know, where that ends.”
She credits her upbringing as the reason she took such a firm stand.
“I would be doing an injustice to the [people] in my family that I hold [in such high regard] if I didn’t also do the same thing,” she explains.
She says that if any of her kids, aged two, four, “almost 9,” and 11, turn out to be members of the LGBTQ+ community, she would celebrate them and encourage them with support and love.
“The youngest [kids’] father is incredible, and he too would have nothing but love for our kids, whether they’re gay, trans, or otherwise,” she adds.
And she says that goes for her expectation of her children’s tolerance as well.
“I will be damned if my kids are the class bully,” she says. “It ain’t gonna happen. And I’m pretty proud of myself, too, because my kids are not bullies.”
She says she believes in providing kids with factual information when they seek to understand or know something.
For example, as an atheist, she says she does not attend church due to past bad experiences, but her kids can make their own decisions.
“My kids do not go to church [regularly],” she says. “That does not mean that they are not fully able to be a part of it. My oldest son, actually, if he does go to church, goes with our neighbors behind us who are, I believe, are pretty devout Christians, but I trust them. They’re really good people, and they’re not judgmental at all.”
Graham adds, “My children are free to explore and access knowledge however they want to. And I’m an open book for them because I feel like my job as a parent is to be someone who provides them with the skills to learn and grow, and whatever growth their path takes them on, I will always be a supporter in helping them get information on it.”
In recent months conservatives and right-wing groups have targeted LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools for removal.
Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow also gave a fiery speech for which she went viral this summer in defense of the LGBTQ+ community in the Michigan legislature. She tweeted her support for Graham.
“Thank you @jesseegraham24 for saying what I know so many are feeling. You are a force,” McMorrow wrote.
Graham welcomes messages from young LGBTQ+ people who do not have a support network and encourages them to keep sending them to her through social media.
“I am happy to hear them, and don’t think for a second that they can’t hit that send button,” she says. “Because I will read it, and I will be there, and I am happy to be a mom for anyone who is looking for one.”
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins