Friday, April 13, 2018

Mitchell Gold on Gay Youth and the Rural County His Company Calls Home

This month's Washington Post Magazine features Mitchell Gold, Co-Founder and Chair-man of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams home furnishings (in Denver at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center), and his important activism in the beautiful rural community he calls home to his company headquarters. Based in North Carolina, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is one of the largest employers in Alexander County. Gold moved to the area nearly 30 years ago and has often attended town meetings and civic functions during that time. For more than a decade he has made it his personal mission to educate well-meaning people about the harm caused to LGBT people.

Gold often shares his own story of the struggles he went through as a gay teenager. “I am proud to make sure in this community every child knows there is somebody out there that does not believe they are broken,” says Gold. “I want to educate people” and “What I want to educate them about is the harm that they’re causing.” LGBT teens are four times more likely to suffer immense mental anguish, have suicidal thoughts and even take their own lives. If they live in a highly rejecting environment, they are a staggering eight times more likely than their straight peers.

Alexander County, which many locals call the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” only legalized the sale of alcohol countywide in 2016, and the article cites this as proof of its conservatism. “The county and the company forged a partnership, spurred on by economic need as much as anything else. Early on, Gold’s message was, on the whole, a tough sell in Alexander County. His business success gave him the platform and ability to reach members of this community.

Gold sees progress in the number of people who have changed in Alexander County, including the several ministers who support LGBT rights and the local high school’s P.R.I.D.E. Club, as well as the small but growing national contingent of evangelical leaders who support same-sex relationships.

Gold, whose company motto is “Comfort for All,” applies this to all aspects of his life, and especially strives to make a difference for LGBT teens. His book, Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know About Growing Up Gay has helped thousands of young adults during their discoveries of who they are and let them know that they are not alone, and that they are perfect just the way they are.

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