On June 26th, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution guaranteed the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 US states, but has that changed the way people view same-sex couples? Anyone should be allowed to love who they love without question.
Throughout my life I have slowly come to find my own shoes to walk in. My freshman year I came out to a girl on my cross country team whom I then ended up dating; my first girlfriend. To my surprise, when I told my parents they had already assumed, but my mom was a little rough around the edges with the situation. I have found that many people in our world voice a negative opinion about same-sex couples.
Sophomore year I decided to cut off all of my hair and immediately noticed people looking at me differently. A couple of friends and I went to the Spare Time Bowling Alley for my friend’s birthday. I went to use the bathroom and was glared at by an old woman a few sinks down. While I was washing my hands I could feel the burn of her eyes on my neck. Confused, I looked up at her and smiled, but she walked over and nudged me with her purse, “You’re going to go to hell,” she said, “I can tell by your clothes and haircut.” Shocked, I made my way over to the door as she yelled back at me, “You’re a disgrace to God. You’re going to rot in hell.”
Why was it that she felt the need to say these words to me all because she assumed my sexuality to be something against her religion? Not every person who doesn’t support LGBT people thinks this way, but there are people in our world who think it’s okay to say things like that to someone they don’t know. In that case among other, religion is not an excuse.
The main argument from people who are against same-sex couples is religion. If these people really do follow the rules of the bible, they also should not eat bacon, get tattooed, get remarried after a divorce, have sex before marriage, eat more than what they need, allow women to speak in church, play football, work on Saturday, or even trim their beard. The issue is that people who blame their religion do, or have done, at least one of these things.
“Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss. Finding oneself is one of the hardest things a person have to do in life. Each day we discover new things about the world and how that relates to us, but teens are told that being themselves is a “sin” or that they will go to hell for simply falling in love. This makes “finding yourself” that much harder. LGBT teens and young adults have one of the highest rates in suicide attempts. If falling in love and not being accepted in our society causes harm, why is it that same-sex couples are not accepted?
Imagine waking up to the buzzing tone of your iPhone alarm going off in the morning. You dwell on your thoughts. Your brain is telling you to do it, just get it over with; today is the day. You walk downstairs in your tomboy getup. Your parents are sitting at the table, Mom drinking her coffee while Dad buries his nose in the newspaper to avoid the sight of your “gay looking” outfit.
“You’re giving people the wrong idea,” says your mom as you take a seat at the small kitchen table. Your palms sweat as the butterflies in your stomach begin to flutter too fast and tear up your insides. “I am gay.” The three words you have been looking to tell them. You watch the cross pressed on your father’s neck swing back and forth as he peers over his newspaper to give you a disappointed look. You hear the three words, but cannot feel your tongue shape them. Time stops. Your mom drops her coffee as your father’s eyebrows furrow over his paper. No one speaks as the butterflies start to climb up your throat. Your parents tell you it’s a phase after staring at you for what feels like days. You are a disgrace. You are wrong. You’re a “fag” or “dyke”, but most of all you feel like a failure.
For many LGBT kids, this is reality. We are not allowed to love who we do because of conformity, judgment, religion, tradition and opinions. If children were taught at a young age that LGBT people are no different from anyone else, suicide rates would go down, “coming out” wouldn’t be necessary, and more people would feel welcome in our world. So why is there a question of whom people should be allowed to marry? Anyone should be permitted to love who they want to love, no questions asked. Not all paths in life are straight; neither are all people.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.