Monday, January 30, 2017

Fear, Shame, & Discrimination: It's Enough Already

Have you ever had fear of family rejection from doing nothing other than being born? I have. Maybe you've experienced the fear of your family’s reaction when you got your girlfriend pregnant, or wrecked your car, or got a DUI, or failed a class. But that’s different than fearing your family for the way you felt inside because of who you were attracted to. 

Have you ever felt completely isolated from everyone (your parents, your preacher, you teachers, your guidance counselor, your friends), unable to ask questions or talk about how you were feeling, because you feared their reaction? Well, guess what. I have. It was sad and terrifying and lonely. And I felt ashamed of myself for most of my life. That fear was caustic; it tried to destroy me.

I’m done with that! I’m done with it. I’m not going to apologize for being attracted to men, for enjoying kissing a man, for wanting to hold a man’s hand. I’m not going to apologize for enjoying makeup and a fantastic shoe. I won’t do it. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone condemn me as less than worthy of rights and protections because of how I feel, who I love, what I wear. I WON’T DO IT!

Too much time was wasted living with shame and fear. Too much time is still being wasted with the residual effects of those feelings. I am not a victim. I am a survivor: of my childhood, of high school, of religious men and women who would have me believe that Hell awaits me if I continue down my path. I could easily play the victim card, but that is unproductive. I am not a victim, but I am angry. I have risen up and I will continue to rise further.

Even the hint of a whiff, via Twitter today, that Mr. Trump might sign an executive order allowing for discrimination against LGBTQ humans has incensed me. It’s enough already. I stand proudly, a capital G, with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It is time to stop this nonsense. LGBTQ humans needing protections wouldn’t even be necessary if so many homophobic people, hiding behind religion, afraid of what they won’t or can’t understand would just get over themselves and realize that equality isn’t going to change their lives. It’s going to change the life of someone else. And by doing so will make life better for all. 

We could indeed make America great(er) if we all took a second to support, love, and help each other. We truly are stronger together. I just hope we haven’t destroyed each other by the time we figure that out.