Late last week, a stranger punched Cole Ledford in the face for kissing his boyfriend on the sidewalk. But the Ohio State University junior has a message for his attacker: "Love is louder than hate."
After the tweet below went viral with more than 34,000 retweets, we'd have to say a lot of other people agree.
To the guy who punched me tonight for kissing my boyfriend pic.twitter.com/SMVmTpDCdL
— Cole Ledford (@ColeLedford11) November 7, 2014
The note in his tweet reads:
I’m sorry that you called me fag. I’m sorry you hit me for no reason. I’m sorry whatever insecurities you have don’t allow you to accept others for who they are. I’m sorry I threaten you.
I’m NOT sorry I’m gay. I’m proud to be this way. I’m proud to be confident enough to love who I love and to love me. I’m proud to have friends and family that love me regardless of me. Honestly, I’m not sorry.
Ledford told The Huffington Post he contacted Ohio State's Bias Assessment and Response Team, tasked with responding to "hate and bias-related incidents," after the assault. The team responded with a message of support saying it would look into the incident, but Ledford expressed his doubt that the attacker, a complete stranger, would be found. Instead, he hopes to be able to work with the organization to promote tolerance in the student community.
In the hours and days that followed, Ledford has also received an outpouring of love from the Internet.
— Skylar Astin (@SkylarAstin) November 7, 2014
— Missa (@Jinxtaposition) November 10, 2014
While the LGBT community is certainly no stranger to public hate crimes, Ledford's defiant effort to spread a positive message has turned the incident around. Help by spreading #LoveIsLouder.
— Cole Ledford (@ColeLedford11) November 9, 2014