By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com January 08 2014 2:37 PM ET
Victor Cruz, the New York Giants wide receiver, lends his support in helping a gay teen move past the hurtful homophobia and bullying he experienced in high school, in a new public service video from the USA Network.
The video is a part of the network’s Characters Unite series, a public service program dedicated to addressing cultural divides and social injustices.
In the latest inspirational installment, Cruz talks with Joey Kemmerling, a gay 19-year-old who suffered years of torment, especially in the locker room, after he came out in middle school. As Kemmerling recounts his most upsetting memories, Cruz shares his experiences of being bullied in his youth because he is half Puerto Rican and half African-American before taking Kemmerling on a tour of the Giants locker room to help the young man leave his painful past behind.
Though Kemmerling revealed he once contemplated suicide due to the severe the harassment he experienced, he has since become a strong voice in the battle against bullying by launching a youth-led antibullying organization, speaking about his experiences to groups of students, educators, and members of Congress, and becoming active with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
Kemmerling’s talk and locker room tour with Cruz help give the young man closure on a dark chapter of his life and look to a better future.