The Power of Words by Carrie Bergen

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

I posed in this photo with my older brother Chris. Growing up, Chris was always considered a little different.  His peers played football, he liked horse back riding and figure skating (we were a skating duo).  He preferred to help me pick out my outfits and help me with my hair and makeup instead of doing what the other guys were doing.  He would put on a top hat and dance with a cane to Madonna for me and my friends at my birthday parties.  I was aware that Chris was different from our peers and my friends' brothers, but I didn't care. He was my best friend and we had tons of fun together.

As a child, I didn't know my brother was gay.  He dated girls and denied any claims of being homosexual.  So when using the term "gay" to describe something as negative and when the word "faggot" became popular, I didn't think too much about what they meant- or who they would hurt. During high school those words were a regular part of my vocabulary, and Chris never said anything about my usage of them.

About a week before I was leaving to go off to college, Chris came in to my bedroom to talk to me. We talked every night before bed, so I didn't think this conversation would be any different.  But when I looked into my brother's eyes, I knew something about this talk would be special.  He said he had to tell me something- and it clicked in me and I just knew.  We cried together and hugged and talked about when he knew he was gay and why he decided to tell me.  It turns out that Chris had told his friends and our parents almost a year before he told me.  I asked him why he told all of them before telling me.

His answer broke my heart. He said, "You call people you don't like faggots, and you say things are gay when you think they're are stupid.  I was afraid you wouldn't love me anymore." Nearly eleven years later, my brother is still my best friend, and I may even love him a little bit more because he is gay.

I want to help people understand that what we say can be devastating. The hate needs to stop.  Children, and adults, shouldn't be killing themselves because they feel badly about their sexuality, and they shouldn't have to endure being bullied day in and day out because they are different.  All people deserve to live without fear of being hurt because of who they are.  Stop the H8.

-Carrie Bergen


I wish Photography was a Nobel Prize category. If it was, your photo and commentary would win. The Love and Respect you have for each other helps heal the world.

Much Peace and Love from Canada.

Dennis McGrath 01/08/2011 15:40

Your Story Brock My Heart It Tock A While For My Sisters And Brothers To Accept My Sister Is Now A Bout 21 Am The Oldest She Tock It Heard We Had A Bad Relation Ship For Years And Now She's One Of The Sweetest Persons I Have 3 Younger Sisters And 2 Younger Brothers That I Treat As My Own Kids Since Am Older And It Was Heard Knowing I Was Hurting Her I Still Feel That Sometimes But At Less She Loves Me .

Summy 05/20/2011 07:22

Amazing Story Beautiful Pic :)

Timothy Sookram 03/31/2012 11:47

Such a great story with a meaningful message. It's so good to hear you guys have remained so close that your love has grown. And it's comforting for me even, an only child, to read stories of family acceptance. Thank you for sharing!

And I'm going to be straight forward and say that your brother is EXTREMELY CUTE!!!

Clayton Garber 03/07/2013 07:52

Please sign in to post a comment