The following post comes from HRC Consultant Rob Hill:

Some time back I was invited to join an acquaintance of mine for a visit over a cup of coffee. The truth about this meeting was that I wasn’t especially looking forward to it. I wasn’t dreading it, necessarily, but was really busy at the time. Nevertheless, I went anyway with the expectation that nothing life-changing would come of it. We’d talk for a while, I thought, and then go our separate ways.

What occurred over that conversation, however, turned out to be more than just casual chatting, but something much more.

There in an ordinary Jackson, Mississippi, coffee shop, something extraordinary occurred when the two of us shared about our lives. We talked about our struggles and our victories. We discussed our disappointments and our hopes. Interestingly, we didn’t believe the same things about faith or politics or about life. We came from two completely different backgrounds, although both raised in the same state. But, in the midst our visit, we made space for each other to share our stories, and neither of us would be same because of it. In fact, we were both better off because of it.

That day, I got something better than the cup of coffee for which she paid-I got a friend!

Conversations have a way of doing that. When we truly invite others to open up about who they are and what they feel, then their stories become part of us. We are no longer ignorant about their lives-their struggles and victories, their disappointments and hopes. We become changed and sometimes we even gain a friend.

This summer, conversations are occurring all over Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama as straight people and LGBT people are coming together in homes and other meeting places. Perhaps these conversations will occur over coffee or beer or good food, but each visit has to potential to open us to the lives and experiences of others as we share our stories. And, who knows, you may even make a few friends.

To find out more information on how you can get involved in hosting one of these conversations visit

This summer, HRC invites you to host a gathering with your friends, colleagues, neighbors and loved ones and begin the conversations we need to have in order to move equality forward. HRC will provide all the resources you need, all that we ask is that you get the conversation started! Learn more here.

Filed under: Coming Out, Marriage

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