Meet Jauan Durbin, a student at Morehouse College.
At just 18 years old, Durbin has determined that strict, gender-normative rules about who can and cannot wear makeup would not deter him from living his life the way he feels best: with a beautifully beaten face. Sadly, living his truth does not sit well with his mother.
Recently, Durbin shared a screenshot of a hurtful text conversation with his mother on his Twitter account.
"I do not approve of this bullsh*t," his mother wrote beneath a photo of Durbin wearing makeup. "Wth is wrong with you? I am so disappointed. You are a male. Wth do u have on eyelashes, eyebrows and makeup. I'm completely done."
Durbin responded to the the hateful text with a simple "Ok," and shared the conversation on Twitter. His caption, brave, vulnerable, and unapologetic, inspired thousands of favorites, retweets, and words of thanks and encouragement from all over the Twittersphere. "Lol, this hurts," he captioned the screenshot. "It really does. But I'm going to live in my truth until the day that I die."
Durbin took to Twitter shortly after his initial Tweet to share that he has received tons of moving DMs thanking him for his courage to live fully and wholly as himself.
"...you're a hero to me, i applaud you for being who you are and living in truth," wrote one boy, who fears the reaction of his own mother when he tells her about his boyfriend. "I hope soon enough that I can say the same for myself...Seeing your situation just let me know I'm not alone and just know you aren't either."
For Durbin, this is what sharing his Tweet was all about. "This is why I posted what I posted," he wrote. "It wasn't about me. It was BIGGER than me."
After receiving so much attention and affirmation for his Tweet, something beautiful happened; his mom changed her mind!
"My mom has seen everything that's going on and realized that I was kinda getting hurt by it," he told Refinery29. "She's affirmed me and told me that she was just nervous about what people would perceive me as because of the makeup."
Wow! Although it is difficult to maintain hope that people's bigoted ideas can shift, especially in our current political climate, it is heartening to see that Durbin's mother's love for her son outweighs her own closed-minded view of the world.
So, let's all take a page out of Durbin's book, today and everyday: resist the societal norms that stifle you, be true to who and what you love, and don't let the haters get you down for too long. Who knows, they might even come around one day.