I Listened to a Neo-Nazi Talk and Here's What Happened

I Listened To A Former Neo-Nazi Speak, And Here's What Happened

I was scared to be in the same room as someone who, about 20 years ago, would've been happy to see me dead because of my religion. But then, I heard his story.

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Today was far from an ordinary school day. Instead of spending the first two hours of my day at classes, I was invited to attend an Anti-Defamation League breakfast. A group of us students were surrounded by politicians, educators, authorities, and other leaders, as we listened to Christian Picciolini speak.

Christian Picciolini is a former Neo-Nazi.

Many people in the audience, myself included, were Jews. Other people in the audience were people of color or a part of a different minority group that Picciolini had spent almost a decade of his life despising.

At first, I was scared to be in the same room as someone who, about 20 years ago, would've been happy to see me dead because of my religion. But then, I heard his story.

Christian Picciolini is the child of two immigrants, and he grew up in Illinois. His father owned a hair salon, and his mother owned a restaurant, so Christian was left alone for much of his childhood. Christian felt abandoned and out of place, so he started to act up to take out his anger.

When Christian was 14 he was in an alley, when Clark Martell, the former leader of the Chicago Area Skinheads, approached him. Christian was just a vulnerable, angry child, and Martell took advantage of that. Martell promised Christian the one thing he craved the most; to belong. In the alley that day, Martell told Christian how he should be proud to be an Italian man, and how certain groups were trying to take that away from him. Martell instilled fear in Christian, and today, Christian strongly believes that it's fear that draws people to the white supremacist movement, not ideology.

Music was a very important part of Christian's life, as he was a part of one band called White American Youth, and a second band called The Final Solution. Christian also owned a record store, and this ended up changing his life. Christian originally focused on selling white-power music, but he realized in order to make a living he would have to sell other kinds of music.

This drew in a diverse group of customers, including people who were Jewish, African-American, or gay. Every customer knew who he was and what he was doing, but they still came in, and they showed him compassion. For the first time, Christian was having meaningful conversations with people who he had never even considered as human. Christian realized he had things in common with these people, and, slowly, he re-learned love.

Since then, Christian has been able to use his experiences to relate to white supremacists and get over 100 of them to disengage from the movement.

I was left speechless. I never thought that I would leave the morning feeling so inspired by someone who I would once think of as a monster. There is a road from hate to love, and it can be a difficult one for many to chose to take… but it's there, and it's possible to take. We cannot be blinded by the hate in our world, but instead, hold onto that hope that love overcomes all.

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The End Of The Semester As Told By Todd Chrisley

Because we're all a little dramatic like Todd sometimes.
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The last 3-4 weeks of every college student's semester are always crazy hectic.

We have last minute assignments, group projects, and exams all squeezed into the last few weeks before break.

Sometimes we all need a little humor, and sometimes we are all a little dramatic, so why not experience the last few weeks of the semester as told by the king of drama himself, Todd Chrisley of "Chrisley Knows Best."

1. Sitting in class listening to your professor explain upcoming assignments/exams.

2. When your group project members refuse to do anything until the night before it's due or just show up the day of to present.


3. When you and your roommate try to cook with whatever few ingredients you have left in stock.

Because we definitely want to avoid going to the grocery store at the end of the semester if we can.

4. When your parents get tired of you calling them about every little inconvenience in your life.

5. Sitting down to work on assignments.


6. Your thoughts when the professor is telling you what they want from you out of an assignment.


7. When you've had about 30 mental breakdowns in two days.

8. Trying to search out the class for the right group members.

9. The last few days of classes where everyone and everything is getting on your nerves.

10. When your friend suggests going out but you're just done with the world.

11. This. On the daily.

12. When all you want to do is snuggle up and watch Christmas movies.


13. Studying and realizing you know nothing.


14. When your finals are over and it's finally time to go home for break.


You're finally back to your old self.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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The Top 10 Gay-Themed Commercials That Should Be Celebrated

Gay-themed advertisements are an important part of our representation in pop culture. Here are the ten best gay-themed commercials that deserve celebration.

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Advertisements have a long history of reflecting and influencing popular culture. As someone from one of the boroughs of New York City, I've always been surrounded by advertisements. So it is extremely obvious to me why representation in these advertisements matter. Commercials online and on television are no exception. As a gay man, I'd like to present you with ten commercials that make me feel a sense of pride.

1. Israeli Gays Get Distracted On The Beach

Israel is a safe haven for LGBTQ people living in the Middle East. While places like Saudi Arabia and Iran treat gay men horrifically by enforcing Sharia Law, Israel welcomes them with open arms. That open minded attitude was even more obvious with this commercial from 2006.

2. Pepsi Brings Out The Confidence In One Guy (With A Gay Twist)

This Pepsi ad from the UK has a comedic twist that will delight the viewer with the main character's confidence. I find the women's reaction to him passing by each of them even more humorous than his friend's reactions.

3. Doritos Gay Sauna Contest Entry That Could've Gayed Up The Super Bowl

This commercial was created as a contest entry where aspiring filmmakers could create commercials for Doritos. The winning entry would be aired during the Super Bowl and the filmmaker would win a cash prize. This viral smash didn't make it, however. It seemed unfair, as several straight-themed commercials feature tons of innuendo. Unfortunately, it seems as though gay male sexuality is still threatening to some.

4. Campbell's Soup Portrays The Adorable Gay Household We All Wish We Had

This Campbell's Soup commercial is a short and sweet depiction of two gay dads sharing a sweet moment with their son. If it proves anything, it's that gay households are just like any other.

5. Marriage Equality Gets An Endorsement From Tide

While marriage equality has been a source of debate over the years, the only thing wrong with this union was the attire chosen for it. A brilliant twist ending courtesy of Tide.

6. This Heinz Commercial Is A Gay New Yorker's Dream Come True

As a gay man and a New Yorker, this commercial makes me very happy. Affection between same sex couples hasn't always been something we could see on television. However, this Heinz commercial squashes all that.

7. A Sweet And Unexpected Coming Out At McDonald's

This McDonald's commercial from Taiwan features a twist ending that is heartfelt, not comedic. For anyone who has struggled coming out, this should hit you right in the feels!

8. Sister And Brother Fight Over The Hot Pool Boy... With Coca-Cola

A nice bottle of Coke is quite refreshing. Who knew it was the perfect ice-breaker to approach your crush? This ad features a brother and sister competing for the pool boy's attention. However, it seems like someone else beat them at their own game.

9. This IKEA Commercial Was A Historic Turning Point

This classic IKEA ad from 1994 was groundbreaking for gay representation in advertising. It would be remiss of me not to include this important commercial on the list.

10. What Happens When Your Dad Sets You Up On A Tinder Date?

It's always nice to have your parents acceptance. However, even for gay guys, parents can get a little too close for comfort. This Vote Savvy ad portrays just that. But hey, they mean well, right?

Whether comedic, heartfelt, or provocative, these ten commercials have done wonders for gay male representation in advertising. It also reflects the representation of gay men around the world. From Israel to Taiwan to the UK, these commercials reflect the growing acceptance around the gay community. As far as I'm concerned, that's something to be celebrated.

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