That's Why Being Gay Is Different This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 11, 2017
By , Random, AK

My sister had sworn off romance novels, which was fine by me. She was a huge romantic and loved chick flicks and love stories, which I hated. She could be boy crazy and was obsessed with makeup and hair products. I was a closeted bisexual and a huge tomboy. I hated all things romance, which was unfortunate because there are so few young adult books without romance. It’s exhausting. Anyway, she’d sworn off romance books because they were “too insincere” and cheesy. She didn’t want to be reading about things that would never happen in real life. But one day we were wading through books at the public library. I’d picked out two that I wanted to read and was impatient for her to do the same. I might have complained a little. She tossed a book that she’d already picked out at me.

“Go check this out. I’ll meet you in a minute.”

I stalked over to the self-checkout registers and checked out our books. While I was waiting for her to join me, I read the inside flap of the book she’d picked out. It was a love story. But it was about two gay characters. I was slightly annoyed (being bisexual and all), but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she wasn’t swearing off romance novels after all? I shrugged it off and proceeded to start my own book while waiting.
After she finally came to join me, I handed her book back to her.

“Here’s your book. I thought you were swearing off romance novels.”
“This doesn’t count,” she said grumpily and changed the subject.

I let it go, but inside I was fuming. I wanted to confront her, but I decided not to. I didn’t want to get in a fight or have the subject of my own sexuality come up. I was still closeted, after all.

And that is why being gay is different.

Only four percent of middle and high schools in America discuss LGBT+ issues in health classes. Most sexual education curricula define heterosexuality as the norm and don’t deviate at all. This leaves many LBGT+ kids confused and they have to resort to the internet, which is not always a safe place to go.

And that is why being gay is different.

There are still thirteen states where gay marriage is banned.

I didn’t know that gay people existed until I was eight.

I didn’t know there were other sexualities (besides gay or straight) or other genders (besides male and female) until I was twelve. I found that out from a Seventeen Magazine and I then used Google to learn more.

Only 1.9% - 2.4% of YA books published in 2013 had an LBGT+ main character or featured LGBT+ issues.

Only 4.8% of characters on TV were identified as LGBT+ in 2016.

And that is why being gay is different.

LGBT+ couples get berated in the streets.

Any open act of affection is revolutionary.

LGBT+ kids have been kicked out of their homes after coming out and 42% of homeless teenagers identify as LGBT+.

There is only one country in Asia that legalized gay marriage.

In some countries being LGBT+ is a crime punishable by death.

LGBT+ teens are more likely to skip school and have lower average GPAs as a result.

LGBT+ teens are three to four times as likely to kill themselves as their straight peers.


And that is why being gay is different.

One in twelve people is LGBT+.

But from books, TV shows, magazines, ads, movies, everything, we are bombarded with heteronormality.

And that is why being gay is different.

So, when straight people go around with fanciful ideas that they treat everyone the same, regardless of sexuality, I’d like them to remember these facts.

I’d like them to remember my “accepting” sister who thinks that gay relationships aren’t romance.

I’d like them to remember that I, who lives in an “accepting” city, didn’t know that gay people existed until I was eight.

I’d like them to remember that it takes most people years to come out and that every person is considered straight and cisgender until told otherwise.


And that is why being gay is different.

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jl637This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 15 at 5:42 pm
amazing piece!
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