Second Class Citizen This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 10, 2011
By , Albany, OR
Hello, my name is: Second Class Citizen. I’m the one that blends in perfectly, the one that you think is “average”, and then get a rude awakening about and find yourself faced with the choice of ignoring my presence and/or tormenting me or accepting me for who I am and loving me as a friend anyways. I live in a small town, so the chance of your acceptance is pretty slim. I live in a small religious town where if you don’t “fit in” then you’re an outcast. I live in a small town and I’m a homosexual.

The choice isn’t mine, it’s yours, but by the time you realize that it’s too late because you’ve lost a great friend. I’m not saying I’m the greatest person ever, but I’m rather certain that I am a good person. I’m not a superb friend but I am quite excellent. The notion that I can be judged as a human being purely by what gender I’m attracted to is just plain silly. And you’d think that I’d spend time chasing after you as a friend, but after a while it all gets old and honestly I stop caring because if you can’t see that I’m a good person without thinking about what I do in my private time then you’re not worth my time.

You’ll try and justify why you can’t stand me by religion. You’ll convince yourself that it’s alright to treat me as subhuman, as an animal, simply because of your religious doctrine. You’ll disrespect me; my feelings, my beliefs, my sexual orientation, my relationships, my friends, and you’ll try and butt into my family life. All the while, I’ll be expected to just stand here and take what you have to offer silently and I’ll be told to respect you fully. Honestly, I won’t even be tempted to disrespect you though because you’re a human being and I understand human rights. You’ll verbally threaten me in the halls, write me hate mail that I’ll find in my inbox and you’ll verbally threaten me, but I’ll still stand strong. Not because I have no other choice, but because I am strong. You’ll call me a coward when I refuse to strike back, but I know I’m just moral.

My relationship will be fought tooth and nail by you, but I’ll never understand why you even care. You’ll claim that I can’t love my partner, but you love your best friends aren’t they the same gender? There’ll be lewd jokes and you’ll call us names. Rumors will hit the playing field and I’ll be expected to fight them, but how can I when it’s a homosexual person’s word against a straight one’s? I’ll be told that I’m flaunting it while you make out with your boyfriend/girlfriend in the halls, and I only hold my partner’s hand. While you bounce carelessly from relationship to relationship and judge me I’ll stay with one or two people and love them, but remember that apparently I cannot love.

Teachers will treat me differently, as will coaches, childhood friends and their families, and religious leaders. They will criticize me and treat me as an animal simply for being me while my straight counterparts are glamorized on MTV for having teenage pregnancies. I’ll be seen as a threat and I won’t be allowed to legally marry when I grow up while you can easily start your own family and marry when you want. You can bring a child into the world “by accident” but when I have my first child they’ll be very much wanted and loved, but according to your favorite politicians it’s immoral for me to have a family. I won’t even go into what discrimination my children will face at the hands of your politicians, you, your friends, and your own offspring. My children will be strong though, they’ll have learned from the best, and while your children scar them with ugly words they’ll only use respect and love.

My parents will either kick me out or worry for my safety all the time once I’ve come out. Chances are, if they’re religious, that I’ll be kicked out or ignored. Comments will be thrown at me that will brutalize me, I’ll be disowned, I’ll never be respected or accepted, but according to you being gay is “a choice”. Why would I chose to be disowned, hated, tortured, and why would I chose to be discriminated against and persecuted for the rest of my days? Why would I intentionally make my life so difficult? If, by a miracle, I’m not kicked out or ignored by my parents then they will worry about my safety constantly. There will always be the possibility of suicide in their minds, and they’ll always worry about what I don’t tell them that happens at school which is so much. Unfortunately, I’ll feel the need to protect them so I won’t tell them and one day because of you and your cohorts I may close my eyes for the very last time either at your hands or at my own because I simply don’t see the way out. My parents will be scared of the emotional, physical, and mental pain which I will encounter throughout my life and being my parents they will wish that they could go through it all for me. This is my battle, I must fight it, but I do not need to fight it on my own.

There are others like me and they, like me, know what it’s like. They may not all have the same story as I do, and they may not all be from the same town, city, state, or even country. They may not be of the same race or gender, and we may not all dress or act the same way but that’s the beauty of it all there is no true stereotype that’s something created by the ignorant. What we all have in same however, is our homosexuality or the fact that we love someone who is a homosexual. Everyone knows someone who is homosexual or is struggling with possibly being a homosexual. You’re shaking your head now and insisting that you know no one like this, it couldn’t be possible, and you’re fighting the mere idea nearly as hard as you fight my very existence but the truth is that you do and chances are that you love them.

This person, the one that you know, how often have you said a comment that tore their soul to pieces? How often have they cried alone at night due to your words, your actions? Do you know the fear which they feel or the pain which follows them everywhere they go? Will you abandon them as you will me? The truth is simple: You do not hate me, you do not hate homosexuals. You don’t truly know much about homosexuality because you fear it, that’s right, you’re scared of it. You’re scared of it, as I said, because you are ignorant. So take some time, get to know one of us. I promise that we’re not scary, we’re just like you, and we’re not like the stereotype you hear about all the time or view constantly in the media. A lesbian doesn’t automatically mean she dresses like a man and a gay man doesn’t mean he sounds like a girl. Just because we’re a homosexual it doesn’t mean we automatically think everyone of our own gender is attractive, and it doesn’t mean that we’re positively lustful that’s just a common misconception.

So think about it for a moment or two, consider it before you decide to judge me as a person and make assumptions. Think long and hard before you call me names, send me hate male, physically threaten me, spread rumors, and lose a friend. Thing is, we may be friends now but when you act that way it shows that I really don’t need you as a friend; you don’t deserve to be my friend. You liked me and treated me with dignity and respect when I was straight but now that you know that I’m a homosexual will you still treat me the same way? You shouldn’t fear me for one little descriptor of me, an adjective about me, that I’m gay, nor; should I fear what you’ll do, how you’ll react, once you know.

Yes, I am “lesbian” but I just like to call myself “human”. And yes I’m dating a girl and I’m a girl, but that doesn’t make either of us any less than you or anyone else.

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