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One Shoe to the Next

By , Oak Park, IL
Homophobia to me is a bit more personal. Hearing someone scream “That’s so gay!” is as bad as getting a slap to the face. In class we were given the choice of group topics such as gender, feminism, and homophobia. I knew right after the topics were brought up in class that I’d have to pick homophobia. My heart stopped and I drew in a breath. In the past I guess I just pushed it to the back of my head, and labeled it “safe keeping” and “handle with care”. Still, after avoiding talks about homophobia and how homosexuality started, it still sent shivers down my spine. After five years why couldn’t I still believe it? The guy who promised a lifetime of hugs and outings broke off from my “everything” and announced he was gay. Now he’s merely the number labeled “Man named father” in my phone.


I grew up accepting homosexuality. For me, it was as normal as saying please and thank you. As I sat on the gym floor during 7th grade, my friend, who was a year older, pulled me aside and sighed. “Caroline…I’m gay”. I guess I couldn’t blame him for being a tad bit shocked at the sight of me stifling back a smile. I wasn’t sure if I was delighted that he had picked me to tell first, or that I was just relieved he was finally able to be comfortable with his life. When I had reached high school a year later, I reconnected with my friend. One day I had brought him up to a fellow student but they’re reply was what hit me the hardest, “Oh, you mean that weird gay guy?” I realized I had always been brought up to understand it was perfectly okay to follow your happiness, but I never fully understood that some people can’t accept lifestyles in all forms.


Kind of a big load I guess. I was in the middle of 6th grade. I had just moved here from a year in California. I guess I learned to be the silent girl, and never realized how many more people whose voices were silenced out of fear, or religion. I was once sitting at my friends church, hearing her father, who happened to be the minister preaching the sermon, talk about homosexuals. He said it was wrong, and people cheered. He said they should be punished. I left. Since my dad has been long gone and announced he was ready for his city lifestyle, one he still hasn’t figured out yet, I just wish that people could understand. Four years ago, when I marched in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, so many protestors shut down by the sensational smiles on peoples faces. Even the minister up on the crane, megaphone gasping for a breath, couldn’t break it. To me, it’s a way of some people’s lives. So why are they less important?





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