An employee of MAC Cosmetics, customers were shocked -- and bothered -- to see Jeremy, a gay male, working for a business that sells makeup. So bothered, in fact, that they took up a petition to attempt to have him removed from his job.

Undeterred by the bigotry he has faced in his hometown, Jeremy encourages people to open up and have conversations with one another in HRC’s new #LoveYourNeighbor campaign, a video storytelling series focused on sharing the stories of LGBTQ and allied people in Tupelo, Mississippi.

“The only way for us to actually come together is if we understand each other,” Jeremy said. “Not that we necessarily agree, but that I see you humanly.”

Sharing personal stories is a powerful tool to change hearts and minds, and helps create new advocates for equality. Jeremy hopes that members of his community make the effort to step outside of their comfort zones and expose themselves to people who aren’t exactly like them.

“Looking toward the future for Tupelo, Mississippi and Mississippi as a whole, I would like to see more inclusiveness,” Jeremy said. “We don’t see the world as it is, but we see the world as we are...You have to broaden your horizons.”

As for MAC? The cosmetics company, which has a diverse and all-encompassing staff, refused to back down to hatemongers and threw its full support behind Jeremy. He still works at MAC to this day.

On Tuesday, March 7, the #LoveYourNeighbor campaign will culminate with a town hall discussion in Tupelo featuring all seven videos of the participants. You can learn more about the town hall here.

In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, a comprehensive multi-year effort to dramatically expand LGBTQ equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.


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