Mum’s torment incites growing LGBT-friendly movement
Reading diary entries that detailed the horrific homophobia his mum endured fuelled David Newman's determination to ensure nobody else went through the same torment.
Mr Newman launched Just be Proud, a campaign to make businesses more LGBT-friendly after watching his mum suffer through two-and-a-half years of relentless bullying and harassment when she came out as gay.
He described his mum's experiences as the worst kind of homophobia, harassment and bullying that he had heard of.
"What happened to my mother was unbearable to watch, she is still not the same three years on, she doesn't leave the house for fear of judgment," he said.
"It got to the point where she was that stressed and that physically drained that her teeth started falling out because she was just grinding them from the stress.
"She is just broken; it feels like my mother was taken from me because she is not the same person that raised me."
Mr Newman's mother, who can't be named for legal reasons, documented her experiences and sought legal action after confronting the bullies.
He said the diaries were filled with horrifying incidents.
"My mother and collegues were watching news coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando where a gunman killed 53 people and injured 53 more and while watching that her general manager turned to her and said, 'there should be more of it'," he said.
"She would come back from holiday or days off to ... magnets left on her desk with the words "I love dildos" and this behaviour became a running theme."
After legal action was finalised the former retail manager left his job and launched Just Be Proud.
"I said to myself that I can't let this happen to anyone else, I can't stand by without doing whatever I can to make sure that the next generation of LGBT people ... know that they will be treated with respect," he said.
"My mother's diaries are my fire, that's what fuels me every day to get up and to make this project a success."
Just be Proud includes a new Online Series, OKAY TV that highlights businesses and organisations who join the OKAY Campaign, taking a stand against homophobia, bullying and bigotry in the workplace.
Businesses are encouraged to join the OKAY Campaign by placing the okay sticker in a position of note.
Mr Newman said 20 businesses from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast had joined the campaign including Coles Sippy Downs, who placed a sticker at the front of their store.
Shine Lawyers, which represented Mr Newman's mother and settled the case, declined to comment for legal reasons.
For more information visit Just Be proud.