Let’s get one thing straight, I am not. That is not up for discussion, my personal life is not a subject for a debate, and neither are my rights as a human being. This isn’t a Coming Out Of The Closet greeting card. This is an effort that I am making for my LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, to spread awareness. As a Rotary international ambassador of goodwill and understanding, that is what I’m here to do.
I have spent enough time studying how harsh and destructive the suppression of speech or other public communication can be, and I am strongly against it. However, it is not because you have the right to say something, that you should, or that I will listen.
I won’t debate “gay rights” with you because it simply implies that you have the ability to dictate what I deserve and what I don’t. And let me tell you something: You don’t! No one does. I won’t debate “gay rights” with you because I don’t want to hear about how – in your narrow mind – you truly believe you deserve more than me, that you are righteous, rightful. Lastly, I won’t debate “gay rights” with you because individual rights just aren’t a matter of opinion, and shouldn’t be subject to a public vote. This is human rights for everybody.
If you are against civil rights and marriage equality, than you are against my personal freedom and individual happiness. And if you are, I’m sorry, but subscribing to this privileged way of thinking is IGNORANCE. Unfortunately, your lack of knowledge, information, and capacity to accept, hurts me. It just happens that we live in a world where you get to decide my future. The political function of rights is specifically to defend minorities from oppression by majorities. Yet, I have been put in a position where I am subject to your approval, or as it happens to be, your rejection.
It was difficult growing up in a reality where I wasn’t part of the majority. Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught. It comes from the fear of the unknown, from the inability to understand and love. As a child, and as a teenager, I didn’t know that. I didn’t understand how or why somebody could hate me for something I didn’t choose. So, I always assumed it was my fault, that I could do better, and that I had failed.
This isn’t a Coming Out Of The Closet story, because if it were, it would be followed with the question: “For how long have you known?” Well, the answer is obvious to me, I don’t know and I couldn’t tell you. But I can tell you about my “firsts.” First time I was “diagnosed” by my peers as being gay, as if homosexuality were a disease. First time I was the target of a trivial, hollow homophobic joke. First time I got beat up in front of my house for being “too flamboyant,” and unusual. And the first time I realized I had wasted a lifetime, trying to be someone I was not.
As a majority, you were unfairly given the ability to decide my future. But as bystanders, you have the power to join me, in changing that. Remaining silent, oblivious, or ignorant won’t change your life. But it will doom mine. I demand equal rights, not just for myself, but for my children. I couldn’t bear the thought of them ever thinking they are inferior, that they are worth less – if they just so happen to be different – like I did. No! It is embarrassing and heartbreaking that parents somehow find it acceptable to reject their children out of bigotry. The next generation will enjoy equal rights, without a fear of this predetermined idea of what it all means. They won’t struggle to understand and embrace their sexuality in families who do not welcome them. They won’t grow up in the same toxic, alienating, personality inhibiting, environment as I did. And I’m here to make sure of that.
Now I beseech you to fight on my side. To be my Ally. Let’s talk about marriage equality, about civil rights, and about loving thy neighbor as thyself. There is no commandment greater than that. Grant me the rights I so justly deserve. Give me the respect you so greatly treasure, and make the unfair, fair.