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Empathy

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I’ve come to the pizza parlor so many times now, and yet he doesn’t even notice me sitting here, eating my ice cream ever so slowly, just to watch him filling orders. I’m not stalking him, I just have a crush. And who couldn’t? Those black skinny jeans, tight white t-shirt with a black peace sign on his left breast, brown hair cut emo-style, and yet no studs or tats. I’d call that perfect.

You’re probably wondering why I don’t just make a move. Sure, I’ve had a crush on him for months now, but… I’m not sure if he plays for my team.

You see… I’m a guy.

Is that wrong? Are you going to stop reading this now? Maybe you should if you have that attitude. But on second thought, maybe not. Maybe reading this will teach you empathy.

How do you think it feels for me to be homosexual in a hetero world? Maybe you should first imagine this. Imagine you were ostracized for openly admitting or displaying your feelings toward someone of the other sex. What if movies, TV shows, and advertisements portrayed homosexuality? Would that make you comfortable? I didn’t think so. And finally, imagine your family was pleading with you to change your heterosexual life-style and to enter into a homosexual relationship. Have I made my point yet?

Maybe not.

If you were me, would you hide your sexual orientation if you heard this everyday of your life?

“That’s so gay!”
“Gawd ---, you’re such a homo!!”
“F*****!”

I don’t understand. So is gay a synonym for stupid? That’s like me saying “That’s so straight!” But then I’d be just like them. I’d be hating on you. And I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. “Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!”

There are so many arguments about why I’m this way. Did I choose? Was it how I was raised? Or maybe I was born this way. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t really care. This is just how I am. It’s like you. You’ve always been how you are now. I can’t change myself same as you.

It’s so sad. So sad that so many have tried to change themselves. In the fear of religion, family, and society, so many have committed suicide, have chosen to hide their orientation and have heterosexual marriages, and even elected to attempt conversion therapy techniques. This is their choice. But fear of not being accepted should not have to force them to these alternatives.

I can try to look at things from your point of view. Maybe you feel it’s unnatural. That’s alright. Maybe you think I’ve chosen this. That’s alright, too. And maybe you think I’m whining and should just accept my lot in life and let you get on with yours because you really don’t care whether I’m hated because I’m different… And that’s alright. Because this is me, and that’s you, and we should all just get along. Right?

So, have I made my point? Do you understand? Do you feel empathetic?

Just as “gay” is not a synonym for “stupid,” “empathy” isn’t a synonym for “pity.”

Don’t you dare pity me.

Love me. Just as you might hate me.

Inexplicably.




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