Just Be

March 12, 2012
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If I were to ask if you were completely intolerant or discriminative towards a selective group of people SOLELY based on their race, ethnicity, religion, social status, or sexuality. . . You would likely say no, which is good, but what people may not understand is that there are people out there who DO actively discriminate against people for their race or religion, trust me, it has happened to me. You may be thinking, “What has this guy got going against him? Who is discriminating against him?” I am gay, and proud of it. I have been bullied and discriminated against for YEARS. Sure, I try not to let it affect me, but discrimination and intolerance affect me and millions of others every day; resulting in negative impacts on the world.

Poor treatment and discrimination have detrimental effects on society. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suicide is the LEADING cause of death among gay and lesbian youth. Young teens are killing themselves because they feel there is no place for them in this world, and that death is their only option. I KNOW how these people feel. . . I personally had a huge span of my life where I wanted to commit suicide. I was bullied and tormented for many years of my life. Every day I would hear someone call me “faggot” or worse. Sure, I could shake these insults off usually, but what I really didn’t understand was why my sexuality mattered to them; Why did they have to make fun of me as if being gay was something wrong? What did they not know or understand that was making them have to say things like this? This is just one example of probably hundreds of thousands of examples of how lack of education on the idea of homosexuality causes problems.
Not only are our homosexual youth being discriminated against, many homosexual couples are being denied their rights. What happened to, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?” Not letting homosexuals be open and married without having to hurdle over huge legal and social hurdles is NOT a fair chance at happiness, nor is bullying, intolerance, and non-acceptance. It is obvious that equality was an idea in the forefront of our Founding Fathers minds, and to this day, REMAINS a virtue that we as America, pride ourselves on. An example of this inequality in today’s society is that homosexuals are being discriminated in workplace. Studies show that homosexuals make 12 to 32 percent less at their jobs than their heterosexual counterparts. Another survey conducted by the Williams’ Institute shows that 90% of homosexual and transgender workers received some sort of harassment or mistreatment on the job. Lastly, and probably the most mind-blowing statistic of all is that 26% of gay and transgender employees were fired from their job because of their sexuality. Statistics like these show that there is a huge problem in society with inequality in the workplace. Homosexuals have contributed so much to the world already. Socrates, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the list goes on! We could ALL contribute so much more to society if society was not fighting us the entire way.

Now that we’ve established that there is a problem with treating homosexuals as basically second-class citizens in terms of pay and marital rights. I feel obligated to remind you what happens when superiority-complexes occur in society. If we look back in history, discrimination of people through a superiority-complex is present on the large-scale on multiple occasions. The Nazis are a prime example of discrimination of MANY groups of people. During the World War II era, Nazis not only tortured and killed people who believe in Judaism, they also tortured and killed gypsies AND homosexuals. Racism and violation of natural rights are not just present during World War II. Not 50 years ago, in AMERICA, it was illegal for a white man and a black woman to get married, or even go to the same school for that matter. Yes, we did get over this VICIOUS racism and hate after an immense amount of time, but what did it take? It took riots, protests, shootings, and hate-crimes to achieve racial equality. Discrimination against homosexuals and trans-genders is no different than discrimination against blacks, Jews or anyone! It must stop. Superiority and intolerance creates violence and uprising in society.

There is a solution to this discrimination and violence. For citizens to understand homosexuality with more accuracy and a different perspective are what will help people become more accepting. Whether you accept homosexuality as a part of society or not, it is my belief that education, tolerance, and understanding are what will help achieve equality for all. Now I am going to clear up some confusion on a few common misconceptions about homosexuality so society can understand all the positive effects of living in a society that is equal for ALL races, genders, classes, and sexualities.

The first misconception about homosexuality is that all gay people are extremely promiscuous and are inherently, immoral. Of course, within ANY group of people, there will be the people who are indeed promiscuous, and homosexuals are no different, but often times, people categorize ALL homosexuals into one category of extreme sexual promiscuity. I personally do not consider myself to be SEXUALLY promiscuous . . . but one thing that is hard for me is maintaining stable relationships. Why? Because having a relationship between two men or two women, is automatically subjected to scrutiny and gossip. This makes relationships difficult because it forces people who are questioning their sexuality to hide their relationships, and based on my personal dating experience, hidden relationships, are not lasting ones. In conclusion, sure, there are some very promiscuous homosexuals, but that does not mean people can classify all homosexuals as promiscuous.

Along with the notion of promiscuity, there is the foolish notion that if you are a gay man, you are simply BOUND to get AIDS. However, this is not the case, quite the contrary. In fact, a majority of the people with AIDS have never been involved in male-to-male sex. This just goes to show that it is just as possible for heterosexuals to contract AIDS as it is for homosexuals

One of the things I hear far too often, which frustrates me greatly is, “Sooooo, When did you decide to be gay?” This is an inaccurate question. You may not realize it, but asking this to a gay person implies that being gay is a choice, which in reality, it is NOT a choice. Sure there are always the questioning homosexuals who never discover their true sexual identity, grow up, marry, and have kids, but these people can never deny that they never had feelings for someone of the same gender. So in response, I propose a more accurate question: “When did you realize you were gay?” But back to the original question, I propose a counter-question, “Why would anyone CHOOSE to be gay?” The discrimination, hate, and bigotry that society brings upon people who are gay, is nearly too much to bear, and it is frightening our homosexuals youth, it frightens ME. Sexuality, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual is who people are biologically. Just like you may have blue eyes, red hair, dark skin, or you may be tall, or short. All are biological differences that make people unique. Yeah, I am gay, but I did not wake up one day and say, “Hmmm, today I am going to be gay,” my feelings developed over time as I went through puberty, just as everyone develops sexual attractions at this age. This lack of acceptance is psychological torture for a teen. Feelings like this are the catalyst for suicide amongst gay teens.

Furthermore, being gay is not a disease, nor is it, “curable,” and you cannot, “catch the gay,” simply by being around homosexuals. Although you may be thinking, “Who in the world thinks this?!” You would be surprised how many people who do believe this. People who believe this foolish misconception, disown their friends and family members because they are gay, which in turn, leaves gay and lesbian youth virtually alone in the cruel, cruel world. This is yet ANOTHER reason that one-third of all suicides are committed by homosexuals, and perhaps this is the root of the workplace discrimination problem we have in America.

Something rather annoying, that just makes me mad in general is when people say that all gay men want to be women, and that all lesbians want to be men. I can see where people could formulate this misconception, but it is still exactly what it is; a misconception. This common misconception is due to a lack of education on this matter. Not all gay men want to be women, and not all lesbian women want to be men; In fact, there is an entirely different name for this feeling, it is called, ‘trans-gender.’ Many people believe that there are only two, “options,” for sexual orientation: gay, or straight, or in the case of a female, lesbian or straight. This is not the case, there are actually many more. The acronym LGBTQA is representative of all sexualities. I am going to identify each group of people in this acronym to more accurately define our diverse sexual orientations. The, ‘L’ stands for lesbian, the ‘G’ stands for gay, the ‘B’ stands for bisexual. Let’s define bisexuality with a little more accuracy. The term bisexual refers to a person who is sexually attracted to people of both genders. Being bisexual in no way whatsoever implies that a person has multiple partners, or that they simply want to double their odds. Moving on, the next letter is ‘T.’ ‘T’ stands for transgender. Someone who is transgender has urges to BE the opposite gender in order to connect with someone of the same sex. The ‘Q’ stands for questioning. This is likely the most controversial group. A person who falls into the category of “questioning,” is everyone who is going through puberty as well as anyone who does not know what they are sexually attracted to. We were all in a “questioning,” state at some point in our life. I am not trying to imply that we all had phases of our life where we wanted someone of the same gender, but we were all in the questioning state, you may not have been their very long, but we were all still there. MOST of us had no idea at age 7 that we were straight or in some cases lesbian, or gay, what these terms meant, or even what sex was. But people who question their sexuality for a prolonged period of time, are usually discovering their sexuality and are afraid to be who they are meant to be because society is backlashing at them through bigotry and hate. These people are afraid to tell people because they do not want their friends to not accept them. They do not want to be criticized or laugh at. These are all feelings I felt when I was questioning my sexuality, and all of these things happened to me when I came out. The actions of society toward people in question and homosexuals in general are what make people afraid to be who they are destined to be! Lastly, the “A,” stands for allies; which is in my opinion, the most important group. The allies are people who are heterosexual, but are proponents of the gay cause because they DO understand that homosexuals are just as much of people as heterosexuals and they DO understand that all misconceptions are not true. These allies can be a huge influence on the heterosexual community in easing transition of gays and straights into a more integrated society.

I have presented the facts to you today. I have put myself out there and told you about even my own personal struggle as a homosexual teen. If society does not understand people and have knowledge about other groups of people, then society has ultimately failed. It is often said that the more someone knows about a particular topic, the less nervous, or scared they while be. So let people be who they are destined to be, or else they will never be able to reach their full potential! The acceptance and tolerance of ALL people to work in an equal and non-judgmental society could save SO many innocent lives! Tolerance and equality reduce fear for people who are questioning their sexual ity and they make people feel accepted in their social environment. This gives people a more positive take on life which can have amazing impacts in their lives and yours! ALL of us, ALL people, people of ALL genders, races, religions, backgrounds, social classes, and sexualities; we all are just people, people trying to live and love, like everyone else.

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