Here I Am, Lord This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Mililani, HI
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.

This is me talking, now, not an ad on facebook, or the well-intended video of a politically correct club, attempting to impact the student body. Thus, my goal isn't the same as those of others on my side. Thus far, though, I've tried approaching this topic subtly, passively, with a gentle shake of my head and a shoulder shrug and a smile. I'm sure you've seen it. Well, I've realized it doesn't work, and I could almost laugh at how long it took me to realize it. I. Must. Be. Strong. The time for subtlety is over, and that's even with the assumption that subtlety was the right thing to do at one point. I'm through being shy, ashamed, or timorous. A direct address is what everyone's waiting for. Well, here it is: I am a homosexual teen, and I am tired of being hurt every time someone uses a term that's derogatory to my sexual orientation, whether flippantly or not.

I know there are some who, after reading to this point, are scoffing, smirking, or refusing to read on, because it's a reaction I saw to a particular piece in the previous Ka Wai Ola that approached this topic in a slightly less frank manner. I'm writing this because I need to articulate my thoughts without feeling pressured or nervous; no one knows how vulnerable I feel almost every minute of every day. So I ask that you think of who I am, perhaps our little discussion in math class, or the moment I held the door open for you when entering the library, or smiled and waved at you accidentally, instead of instantly refusing to hear what I'm finally saying, which would be judging me for a group I fit into (in a word, being prejudiced). That, itself, would be a progressive step.

But wait…I can't do this. I can't go on. I have friends, a future, and sometimes I wonder if that involves going back into "the closet" after high school. There are some who have told me this honestly, some friends and some family, included. "That little 'interested in' field on facebook is better left blank, Daniel," or, "Why give someone another minority to see you as, Daniel?" On a very subdued level, I feel the way these people, who care about me, have felt.

However, I have enough faith in humanity to declare who (or what, if you see it that way) I am, and to be myself, and to allow people to see me for that person. I am a Filipino-Black, gay Catholic 16-year old. Three very different statements, squeezed into a sentence... concentrated in it. I'm made from 100% concentrate minority juice. I'm everything Hawaii has gained its renowned "mixing pot" classification for! I'm…just Daniel. I didn't choose to be anything in that concentrated statement. Sure, "they" can debate whether homosexuality is genetic or learned, but I know, deep down, that I've been gay for life. But that's a tale for another time.

My Lord is the same Lord that all other Catholics believe in. I can still hold his people in my heart, for I am one of them. I can love, sympathize, and believe, just as my fellow Confirmandi. Confused? Look it up.

This isn't an SOS. This isn't a dramatic change in the "Daniel" you met in 6th grade, or 9th, or just this year. This is, for me, a revelation. I can say it, here or there; I can say it anywhere! How loud could I say it? How loud should I say it?
All I want is for you to say
that you're fine with me being gay.

Now let's get this clear. I think that I'll review: I don't want to have scared you.
You can tell me I'm too loud
Or that you think I'm too proud,
Just remember I vowed
To live without a shroud.
You can perch on a cloud
'Cuz I don't mean to overcrowd,
Just know that I'll shout it aloud
Because I think I'm allowed.

Here I am, Lord. I'm living my life, in my body, with my personality, and everything that comes with it. This is me. Now you know that this wasn't a random rant, and that I'm not going to be a sycophant. I'm just going to be who I am, and I ask you not to condemn me unjustifiably.

I'm sorry, I just have to say the sappy life-long lesson: The next time you feel a "that's so gay" slipping out, grab a thesaurus, or a dictionary, and find a word for what you actually mean; the next time you want to laugh out loud and follow it up with a "NO HOMO," think of what you're implying; every time you speak to someone, make sure to be politically correct, because everyone deserves your respect.





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

AliciaH This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 5, 2010 at 12:58 am
Great article...it must have taken a lot both to write it and to post it online. (For what it's worth, my piece "Don't Say It's So Gay" is somewhat relevant to your article. And I'm Catholic too.) One suggestion though? I had no idea what Ka Wai Ola was, and most Teen Ink readers probably won't either. Maybe if you edit this again you could explain it in the text. Anyway, overall, good piece. :)
 
Asianflowers said...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 4:05 am
Excellent! Brilliant! Incredible! Bravo!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback