Tyler Glenn invokes Harvey Milk in moving coming out speech

Wed. November 4, 2015 1:23 PM by OnTopMag.com

Tyler Glenn, the frontman for the Utah-based rock band Neon Trees who came out gay last year, has described coming out as a "thrilling rush."

Glenn headlined Equality Utah's annual "Allies Dinner" fundraiser, where he discussed his coming out journey.

Glenn, a Mormon, told the audience that an elder came out to him while serving as a missionary in Omaha, Nebraska.

"The only words of encouragement I could seem to utter was telling him he's not alone," he said.

Five years later, "the dark storm of Prop 8 is hovering over California, my home, and Utah, my home. I'm still six years away from mentioning the words I'm gay to my parents and family and friends. And yet I feel the pain and sadness and inhumanity."

"And then around that same time, I'm sitting in a movie theater alone in Los Angeles and I'm watching the film Milk and I'm sobbing. And it's beginning to click. This whole thing is bigger than me."

"Harvey [Milk], I feel you right now," an emotional Glenn started, "and I feel you in this room. I'll never be able to match the courage and the passion for human rights you exuded while you were alive."

Glenn explained that a few months later he heard that the elder who came out to him had committed suicide.

"And I think about him from time to time and what I could have said and what I didn't say. And could I have been stronger or braver at that moment."

He ended his remarks by urging people like himself to come out.

"If you're like me – a wanderer, a questioner, a dreamer, a soul searcher, or misunderstood in any way – come out. Come out as you. It's a scary leap, trust me, but dammit it's the most thrilling rush," Glenn said.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine