Following the release of Mark Wahlberg’s newest film Joe Bell, the actor has shared some of the messages he has received from the parents of LGBT+ youth.
Based on a true story, Joe Bell sees Wahlberg star as “an Oregonian father who pays tribute to his gay teenage son Jadin”, walking across America to speak to people “about the real and terrifying costs of bullying”.
Following its release, Wahlberg was inundated with messages from parents of gay children, which he shared on Instagram.
One mother said she was “so thankful” for the film, stating: “I have always been accepting of my gay son from day one, but there are so many parents who are not.
“I pray that [the movie] helps open the hearts and minds of parents who are struggling to accept their children as they are!”
Another wrote: “My child attempted suicide in January. They have come out as trans and I will do everything in my power to protect them from the hate in the world.
“The preview made me bawl and hit me hard because I live it. Thank you for bringing light to our LGBT kids.”
A third said: “Thank you for spreading this message of the importance of loving our children for who they really are. This important, brave step forward is about their journey, not ours.”
“I’m a young father with young daughters… my youngest has recently told me she’s gay and I couldn’t be more proud of her [for] living her true self,” said a fourth message. “Your trailer brought tears to my eyes and I guarantee it’ll make our entire family cry.”
In his caption, Wahlberg wrote: “Powerful messages – thank you to Paul and the others tag who have reached out. We love hearing how you’ve been moved by Joe Bell’s mission to honor his son and end bullying.”
Wahlberg has also asked fans to share their own stories of LGBT+ acceptance using the hashtag #ThankYouJoeBell.
The film also stars Connie Britton and Gary Sinise, and tells the true story of Joe Bell’s walk across American after his son Jadin dies by suicide because of homophobic bullying. Bell was later struck and killed by a tractor-trailer six months into his journey at the age of 48 but his widow and friends have been closely involved in the project.
If you are in the UK and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email email@example.com. If you are in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.