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Florida Principal Harasses Gay Sports Writer For Kissing Husband

Florida Principal Harasses Gay Sports Writer For Kissing Husband

Outsports' Cyd Zeigler shared the photo after the tragic shooting in Orlando last month, and a local educator called the touching embrace "sick."

Like many, Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler was moved by the tragedy in Orlando and posted a photo of himself in a loving embrace with another man. In Zeigler's case, the photo was taken with his husband in front of Prague's Lennon Wall of Peace, just days before the shooting.

Zeigler posted it on Facebook with the comment, "Photographs and imagery of two men or two women kissing should be as common and natural as people of opposite genders showing affection. If they were, there would be a lot less hate and a lot more understanding."

After publishing the photo, Zeigler was shocked to receive a one-word comment, "sick," by someone he did not know. Steve Kenney, who most likely had friends in common with Zeigler, went on to post quotes from Leviticus in the comment thread of the photo, including a passage calling for gays to be "put to death."

The comments were timestamped less than 36 hours after the shooting in Orlando.

Zeigler, an enterprising SB Nation contributing writer, wrote and reported on the developing story himself: "My heart sank as I clicked on Kenney's Facebook page to see he listed himself as the head of Center Academy in Pinellas Park, Florida, just 100 miles from where the Orlando massacre took place."

What followed was a short-lived correspondence between Zeigler and Kenney's school, which Zeigler went on to discover is an institution that caters to special-needs students. He succeeded in making contact with Center Academy CEO Andrew Hicks, who ensured Zeigler that he had spoken to Kenney about the offensive posts. Given the proximity in both time and place to the Pulse nightclub shooting, it was Zeigler's hope to turn this into an opportunity for more communication and understanding, perhaps to establish a program of sensitivity training within the school. But apart from forcing Kenney to remove the posts, Zeigler never got concrete word that any action, disciplinary or otherwise, would take place. His requests to speak with Mr. Kenney were also ignored.

Zeigler spoke to Out exclusively about what he's taken away from this experience.

"My only hope in sharing the story is that there entire Pinellas Park community takes the opportunity to learn and grow together. Words of hate written in a book 2,500 years ago should not have any place in a school today."

Since going public, Zeigler has received an outpour of support on social media, from within Center Academy as well.

"The messages I have received from people in and around the school make me hopeful," he said.

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