The boy told his mother that his friends and deserted him and that's when she asked if people would come to her son's birthday.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 31, 2021. It has since been updated.
A 12-year-old boy got the surprise of his life as a crowd of people from the local community came to celebrate his birthday after he was spurned by his friends. Brody Neville had come out as gay earlier this year and lost most of his friends as a result. Leah O’Donnell, the boy's mother said Neville his friends from both the school and in the community turned their backs on him. As Neville looked set to celebrate his birthday alone, O’Donnell reached out to people on Facebook in the hope of rallying some people to cheer up the boy for his birthday. What O’Donnell didn't expect was a small crowd to turn up at their street, reported LGBTQ Nation.
Happy Birthday to Brody! pic.twitter.com/ThZD6shCfB— Peter Kieren 🌈 (@canmoreman) August 28, 2021
“As some of you know, he came out as gay this Spring and since then he has lost a good deal of friends, both at school and from our community,” wrote O’Donnell on Facebook. “While talking to him about his birthday and what he would like to do, he is feeling dejected because he only has two friends, both of which are girls. One of the girl’s fathers is against anything LGBTQ, therefore, does not allow her to hang out very often, the other girl we cannot get hold of.” She added that Neville was down and told her that “nobody likes me anymore now that they know I’m gay.”
O’Donnell wanted to surprise him for his birthday and reached out to the community. “I am hoping that some of our village might be able to swing by to offer birthday wishes as well as support for my sweet little guy,” she posted. “I know he could really use the boost.” Not only did people turn up for his party, but a troupe of local performers also held an impromptu drag show at the park. Brody Neville was overwhelmed by the people and the love. At first, he had assumed a big crowd were waiting for an ice cream truck, and then it slowly dawned on him that they were all there to celebrate him.
“Thank you everybody for this, this is the best day of my life,” he told the crowd, unable to hide his contagious smile. “That’s the greatest present of all, support and people in it together with you.”
🏳️🌈🙏❤️Hang in there, Brody. It gets better. Mad respect to you for the courage at 12 to come out. I hid in the closet, afraid, and behind a marriage that eventually ended. I didn’t have your courage until I was 40 to finally come out. Heck yeah!!!— I AM Mark Ruff 😷 (@ruffmark) August 31, 2021
Acceptance can mean the world, especially when you come out of the closet. Even the smallest acts of support, such as members of the community rallying around Brody Neville can move mountains. As we reported earlier, the simple act of hanging the pride flag outside their window was a huge source of comfort and strength for members of the LGBTQIA++ community in the locality. Stephanie Robertson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, hung the flag and soon received a letter thanking her for the support. "Hello, this is probably kinda weird but I walk past your house every day and I've noticed your flag and I'm glad to know there is at least one ally in this little town," read the incredibly cute letter.
Robertson sent a picture of the image to her son, Levi. "I immediately called her and told her how profound and awesome it was that her hanging [the flag] made a child feel seen. She agreed and kept saying how she couldn't get over how sweet it was," said Levi, who posted the image of the letter online, where it went viral. It meant so much more to the kid because she hails from a small Logan County, Arkansas town where the overall population is under 3,500 people. The anti-trans laws passed in the state have made matters worse for those trying to come to terms with their gender identity and sexuality and during times like this, even a small gesture such as hanging a flag can mean the world to someone. Many people responded to the tweet by posting pictures of Pride flags hanging outside their homes.