Prepare to have a lot of feelings.
A 9-year-old girl has written a heartfelt letter to her teacher after he revealed that he was gay as part of a week devoted to stamping out bullying. The teacher sent a copy of the letter to Pink News, Europe's largest LGBT news service.
Here's the full text:
"Dear Mr R.
"Even though you're gay, I will always treat you the same way as I do now. I still think about you the same way as I used to. You're a great teacher and these are just some of the words that I would describe you as: great, amazing, fantastic, brilliant, awesome and brave.
"The reason why I say brave is because you shared a personal secret which was very brave.
"You don't have to feel scared because I know that everone in the class feels the same way as I do.
P.S. We are all proud of you"
"Reading it brought tears to my eyes and it took me a little while to compose myself," the teacher, who asked to be kept anonymous, told Pink News. "When I thanked her she just shrugged and repeated something one of the boys in the class had said during the lesson, 'It's just your life.' Then she went back to her maths. For my class it was a surprise, sure. But to them, it was just something simple and easy to file away as another piece of information. There was no judgment, no follow up, just acceptance."
Why it matters: This beautiful letter isn't just a single act of kindness and compassion, it's symbol that homophobia may simply be dying out.
The traditional polling numbers confirm that America is more receptive to gay rights than ever before. Acceptance of same-sex marriage has jumped from 11% approval in 1988 to 46% in 2010, compared to 40% who were opposed, according to the University of Chicago's General Social Survey conducted in 2010.
But that acceptance is overwhelmingly skewed toward the younger generation. Consider that 85% of self-identified Catholics (generally considered the most traditional religious group) between the ages of 18 and 29 said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Consider also that 61% of Republicans under 30 favor same-sex marriage, a significant split from the older sections of the party. It certainly helps that the next generation of politically active Millennials are far more socially and politically liberal compared to their older counterparts, regardless of party affiliation.
So why is this? It's likely because young people are actually exposed to gay people, like this young girl in her classroom, far more than their more conservative parents. A new study published in the journal Science confirms that knowing a gay person will make you more sympathetic to the community's social and political plights.
This is the beauty of this young girl's letter: Not only does it affirm that younger generations are generally more accepting of different lifestyles when exposed to strong role models (like this gay teacher, for one), but it's a beacon of hope for those feeling exhausted by the legal and social battle over LGBT rights.
If this girl is any indication, the kids are going to be quite all right.
Mic has reached out to Pink News and the teacher in question for comment. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
h/t Pink News