I’ve heard people close to me insist that homophobia is no longer an issue in 2017. Since we were granted the right to marry, they argue, discrimination against gays and lesbians doesn’t exist.

Since Disney announced the inclusion of a brief scene depicting a same-sex kiss in their upcoming live-action retelling of the classic “The Beauty and the Beast,” homophobia has found its latest home in a blog post by self-described Christian and proud southerner Brooke Poston. Better known as “This Modest Mom,” Mrs. Poston uses her blog to express a variety of typical socially conservative views that she attributes to her faith.

Poston goes on to detail her distaste for what she believes to be a homosexual agenda, going as far as canceling her $6,000 vacation to Disney.

My open letter to her can be read below. I decided to take a calm approach instead of a scathing one with the hope that she’ll be more likely to value my thoughts. Kill them with kindness, right?

Good morning, Modest Mom! I hope this day finds you well.

On behalf of my fellow members of the LGBT community, I would like to issue you an apology for all the hatred you’ve been receiving. There is no excuse for hatred on the basis of disagreement with your decision to boycott Disney.

I can’t claim to understand your decision, but as someone who was raised in a devout Christian environment, I do understand why you feel hurt by Disney. Admittedly, I, too, would be upset if a source of entertainment I had admired for years suddenly started to endorse something I don’t approve of!

From a very young age, I knew there was something that set me apart from the other guys. I was unable to pinpoint it until a few years ago, and the Christianity I grew up surrounded by may be part of the reason I denied my sexuality for so long. In Christian school and even at home, it was drilled into my head that if I became a homosexual, God would forsake me and send me to hell. Affection for the same sex, I was told, was an abomination. As a result, I suppressed these feelings unsuccessfully by dating girls and experimenting with them. I often prayed for my conversion and even met with my parents’ priest, who I was convinced could help change me. Instead, I slipped into a deeper state of existential depression and resentment for my upbringing.

It’s been a long road since then, and I’m now honest and open about my sexuality – except with my family, as I am a financially dependent college student and I fear for my future if I were to come out anytime soon. I know how hard it can be to listen to those with whom you disagree, but I implore you to have an open heart. My wounds are deep, but I still hope that one day I can reconcile the core of who I am with my upbringing. I’m not asking you to support Disney – boycotts comprise a fundamental aspect of the right to free speech.

Instead, I hope that you open your heart to those of us who have a different sexuality than your own. It may be hard, but it’s what Jesus would have done.

I hope that someday, despite our differences, you can see the humanity in your LGBT brothers and sisters and recognize the struggles we endure daily. I have faith that someday, we may walk hand in hand in pursuit of the greater good, whatever that may be.

Best wishes,