Baby,They Were Born This Way

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"Gay": exhibiting sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one's own sex; homosexual. I never realized what this word meant until the 4th or 5th grade. I would never question the topic when it came up, nor would I try contemplating what it meant. But, when I heard peers saying "That's so gay," I started becoming offended by this term.

I have always been sensitive to the feelings of others. Ever since I fully understood homosexuality, I have been a supporter. Who was I to judge someone's actions, when they did not affect me at all? I believe everyone deserves their own rights, regardless of who they love. This was strengthened when my closest friend came out of the closet.

Chelsea *(name has been changed) and I had been friends for a while, and I seemed to notice her interest in girls even before she did. At first, she told me she was bisexual, as she had just gotten out of a relationship with a guy. For those who don't know, bisexual means liking both the same and opposite genders. Sometimes it may be that the person likes girls more than guys, or vice-versa. In this case,I doubted what she told me. For the longest time, I never brought up my thoughts because I wanted her to develop her own identity and find out who she was. She probably knew all along, but never wanted to admit it to herself, let alone her friends or family.

When she came out, we were with a group of friends, hanging out at her house. No one was surprised by the news she shared with us:"I am attracted to girls." Her words shook from anxiety, fearing she would be shut out. What she got was a pat on the back and an endless amount of hugs. Needless to say, nothing changed amongst us.

There are a few types of people who accept homosexuality: those who accept the idea, those who actually know someone that is gay, or those who are gay themselves. I fall into the second category.

Knowing someone is very different than just supporting the cause. You see the way other people react, but oftentimes you don't know what to say to make the pain and hurt go away. Knowing them just makes everything more real for you.

When I hear the words "faggot", "dyke", or "queer", I cringe inside. I have become more empathetic when these terms are said. I think of not only Chelsea, but also how much these words especially, could break someone down.

To deny friendship because of their sexuality is petty and shallow. Those who do not accept it should at least accept them for their personality. Gay is a label that identifies a person from others, and it shouldn't be.

The support inside of me grew when I heard struggle after struggle, horror story after horror story. I wanted Chelsea to be happy, not feeling afraid every day to embrace who she was. Even though I'm not homosexual, I still possess the emotions and empathy for the gays as if I was. I watched her struggles; coming out to her friends and her mom was very stressful. Finding someone to be with was also a fight. I felt helpless for awhile, like there was nothing I could do except sit and watch her life unravel before our eyes. As I found out, even the little things helped. Just talking through what she was dealing with made both of us more relieved. I gave her as much advice as I was capable of giving;she could tell I was making an effort, which was comforting.

Since these experiences, I have gone to the Gay Pride Parade, tried to make a few love connections, and joined the GSA at my high school. It makes me happy being surrounded by love and knowing others can be open about who they are without being judged.

Though Chelsea and I no longer speak on a daily basis, I will always remember how strong-willed and courageous she was. The way she handled certain things made me feel good just to be around such a kind person. I learned how to protect and talk to everyone; no matter their sexuality. I have become a more open supporter, and I urge everyone else to do the same.

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