The world can be a cruel place.
Fighting to be yourself is a battle no one should ever have to enter, let alone fight; but those who are a part of the LGBT Community have learned some wars can not be avoided. Whether the war is with the world or with themselves, it one filled with pain and agony. It is filled with discrimination and fear.
Today, people speak but are never actually heard. Their words form sentences that are never truly understood by others because those who are trying so hard to condemn for being , ‘different’, do not think it is important to listen – but, we do.
We reached out to several members of the LGBT Community and asked them this:
If you could say anything to the world, to confront those who both support and chastise what you represent, what would you want everyone to know?
This is what the LGBT+ Community needs you to know…
“I think it is crucial that instead of looking at differences as a way to be divisive, we should be celebrating them, and encouraging that celebration at a young age! Growing up in the LGBTQ+ community, it is really hard to know you are different and struggle with how to live with that, especially in high school. I was absolutely miserable at OBHS because I felt like an outcast because of who I was—being called a faggot almost daily never helped.
No matter LGBTQ+ or straight, we are all human beings—we all love, cry, laugh, play video games, and make stupid decisions. So our differences, the things that do make us unique compared to others, should be shouted from the rooftops and celebrated. The divisiveness needs to end.”
-John Michael, 24
“Growing up I always knew I was different. I always had a different feeling inside of me. When I was in 8th grade, it was when I first identified myself as bisexual. Being so young I didn’t know the consequences of coming out; the guy friends I had who were no longer my friends, feeling like an outsider, not being accepted for who I was. I tried desperately to fit in- even suppressed my feelings of being attracted to men and tried being “straight” for a while, but eventually couldn’t handle just suppressing my feelings and not being happy or who I was. Finally in high school, I identified as a happy gay male and decided to embrace who I was and love myself.
If you told me back then I would have the life, I would have called you a liar. I have a wonderful boyfriend a supportive group of family and friends. The world is a cruel place and unfortunately some of us aren’t as lucky as others. The hate is still out there. My boyfriend and I happen to not care about holding hands or kissing in public, we know hiding our love will never get this world anywhere. Unfortunately some still feel like I did when I was younger- you all need to know it will be okay. We just want to be accepted we don’t want special privileges, but to be considered as a couple instead of a ‘gay couple’ or ‘oh look at the two gay guys at the bar’ -we all need to come together in these times and overcome the hate and discrimination in this world.”
“Please understand that being gay is one hundred percent not a choice! I did not wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make my life and little bit harder. I did not wake up and think to myself, ‘ how can I truly disappoint my parents with news of how the dream of my wedding to my prince will most definitely never be a reality’. Let’s face it, Life can be hard. Love sometimes hurts and being gay and the day you come out is one of the hardest days of your life.
So if I could tell the world anything it would be that being gay isn’t a choice and our life isn’t all beers, cheers, parades and rainbows!! We all have a story of coming out to our family and friends. Some worse then others and we don’t want special testament from the world. We don’t want anything except equality and understanding. So the next time you see two women holding hands walking down the street, just know they didn’t decide to do that to grab your attention. I can almost promise you each of them went through a lot emotionally to be able to hold the person they loves hand and walk down a public street. And all they really want from you is nothing at all- For you to think it’s just two people in love and that there’s nothing strange at all. We didn’t chose our sexuality, we just chose to love another person.”
“In the wake of the events following the Orlando Shooting, it sent our reality into a ricochet of emotions. I’m not going to speak on the shooter nor will I speak on the massacre. We’ve seen the news station reporting on every minute. There is no need for me to elaborate. However, I think it’s important to learn what the power of community can do- how in the days that followed the attack, vigils, masses and gathering’s all came together with urgency. The bravery of the LGBTQ people is so immense that it’s a shame the extent of it’s reach doesn’t hit all areas of the world.
I think of my life personally, coming out at 16 in high school and being accepted with fairly open arms by everyone of my peers. My parent’s were a gradual journey that took years but being 25 now, I can tell it gets better. I was lucky to say the least because I had the support to back me and my personality isn’t at all quaint or feeble. I don’t have overcoming stories of homophobia and my sexual identity isn’t a threat in my daily life. You hear these stories of our queer youth struggling with their trails to acceptance, all because gay acceptance doesn’t exist in their world. How can someone so young be expected to live comfortable in their skin when it has to be camouflaged? We will never live in a world where homophobia is dead the same way we will never live in a world where racism doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean our strides now are in vein. Every day, we’re opening eyes and banishing preconceived ideas. I want to live in a world where my child won’t get bullied because he likes the color pink and idols Wonder Woman over Superman if he so chooses. Our voice as a community is all we have and if you can make someone feel like he or she is home, you are an important piece of the puzzle. So speak up if you can, when you can. You know, these last couple of days, I just continue running a quote by Anne Frank I read a few months back. She wrote, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” Her world was on fire but she still sought water. Just look how we still hear her voice, almost three quarters of a century later.”