Jake Bain’s story is relatively well known. The John Burroughs (Mo.) running back came out at a school assembly on National Coming Out Day, then committed to play football at Indiana State only after a heart-to-heart with the Sycamores head coach, insisting that he would play as an openly gay man. Throughout the process, Bain has been greeted and treated with respect and admiration.
That changed Monday, when the always cantankerous Westboro Baptist Church traveled across state lines to Ladue, Mo., to protest Bain’s homosexuality.
Burroughs’ response? As reported by the Kansas City Star, they helped organize an even better-attended counter-protest, featuring more than 100 LGBTQ activists who drowned out the Westboro chanting and provided a colorful response to the Westboro activists dour expressions.
The contrast between the two sides painted a powerful picture, with Bain’s supporters coming from across the St. Louis region to support the teen, who will graduate this spring and head to Indiana State.
The onslaught of support wasn’t lost on Bain, who spoke to the St. Louis American about the protests and his greeting to the counter-protestors who supported him.
“I thought it was so amazing to see how supportive not only the Burroughs community was but the entire St. Louis community as a whole,” Bain told the American.
“There were so many people there who I’d never met before that were willing to come out and support me and support my community. It was a really cool thing to see that this hate was able to be turned into so much love and support for the LGBT community.”