Open Your Mind
Do you ever hear the word ‘discrimination’? Or ‘prejudice’? Well, I’m not good at words so I’ll borrow someone else’s words. You may not know these authors, but I’ve read their fictions and they’re really great. C.E. Gray said that being prejudice is when you don’t like somebody just because they’re not the same as you. Some people are prejudice against people who have different colored skin, or talk with an accent, or are gay. SX Meagher said that prejudice means taking something that bothers you on a visceral level, and then intellectualizing a way to rationalize discrimination.
Well, I’m not new to discrimination. Or prejudice. Not that I’ve ever been abused or hurt physically because of the discrimination, but still, it’s far from nice. I’ve heard many stories about people who are not as fortunate as me, and it just breaks my heart to imagine that there are people who are harmed just because they are different. For now I’m only going to talk about prejudice against gay, because I’m gay and I’m still teen, and I know how hard it is to be young and gay. But mostly, I want to share with you about gay life, so that maybe, in small ways, it can make it easier for you to accept gays. If accepting is too much, all I want is for you to try to be understanding.
The first time I realized that I am attracted to girls is when I was in senior high school. I was prejudice back then. I thought about gays as abnormal people, disgusting people, and even sinners. Of course I was thinking that way, because people around me always told me that gays are like that. I rejected myself. When I had my first crush on a girl, I assured myself that it was a love of friendship. But the feelings didn’t stop and I had no one I could talk to.
Fortunately it was at that time that I read fictions about relationship between women. I got them from the internet. They are great fictions, and that’s why I read them in the first place. The more I read those fictions, the more I realized how similar the lives of gays and straight people. And the most important thing I learned is that the love between members of the same sex is just as pure, as sacred, and as true as the love between men and women. After I knew those things, slowly I admitted to myself that I am gay.
Until now I have only come out to one person, my best friend. She accepts me for who I am and she doesn’t change a bit. Well, actually I even think that after my coming out to her, we’re closer now than ever. It feels so great to have someone who understands when it seems that the world is against me. I’m grateful everyday that she accepts me. If she didn’t, maybe I would have lost my nerve to even think about coming out to another person. I’m still in the closet now, but I’m planning on coming out to my family and friends someday, after I’m ready.
Being young and gay is not easy, I’ll tell you. It is very confusing and depressing. No wonder there’re many gay teens out there who commit suicide. I felt that way once. No, I didn’t want to kill myself, but I was very confused and very depressed. I felt that I was nothing and that I was a sinner. I felt so unworthy but I had no one I could talk to. I felt so alone because I knew no one gays. And people continued to condemn gays. Every time I heard them talking about gays badly, I just wanted to disappear, fearing that maybe they’d find out that I am gay. When teens that are discriminated because they have colored skin or accented talking, they can go home and seek salvation from their parents. But gay teens can’t do that if their parents are straight. Their parents can even be an additional threat. Many gay teens are disowned by their parents or are kicked out of their homes.
I was saved by those fictions. By reading them, slowly I learned to love myself more and even be proud. One line I love most from SX Meagher: ‘God loves you the way He made you’. I believe it wholeheartedly. My being gay or straight is NOT a choice for me. Just like straight women can’t answer exactly what makes them like men, I too can’t answer why I like women. I think that’s why being gay is called sexual orientation. Some of us maybe choose to be with women, but some of us can’t do anything about it. We only have two choices: being gay or living celibate. Oh, yeah, there is one last option. It is to refuse to accept who we are and being what the society wants us to be, even though that won’t make us happy.
At school, my religion teachers often discussed about gays. I can’t understand them. One moment they refused to believe the theory of evolution because they thought that comparing human with animal is too humiliating. The next moment I know, they compared gays with animals. They said that even animals are never gays. Well, it’s true, but who can explain God’s secret, why did He make us gays? All I know is that I was born this way. Who am I to refuse what God’s given to me? Sometimes the teachers also said that being gay is almost the hugest sin of all. I used to believe that way, but now I know better. How can we be sinners just because we love? And those teachers are just funny. They told us that Jesus loves all of us, without exception, that we must love others without exception, even when our friends or family commit crime, we should still love them and care for them. The next thing I know they told us that gays are condemned and they should repent. Repent? So that means that all gays should be nuns or pastors? Being celibate all our lives? Well, we even don’t get to be married by law. Yes, in America there has been a law to protect gay’s rights. But it’s just because the gay bashings there are too harsh already. That doesn’t mean that having people completely ignore us like in this country is better.
All people are just the same. We want to be loved, to be happy. But sometimes gays are fired from jobs, being victims of hate, or disowned by their families just because they love, just because they are flesh and blood, just like you. It is not fair at all. I’m thinking about gay teens in this country, who might be confused and depressed, but who have no guidance like I had. I’m thinking about gay teens that are disowned by their family and have nowhere to go. I’m thinking about those who commit suicide or turn to drugs or free sex. I’m thinking about gays who have to marry someone they don’t want to marry just to satisfy the society. I’m thinking about those who are not as lucky as I am and until now still believing that they are sinners, or that they’re unworthy. I’m thinking too about those who just like me, aren’t out of the closet yet, wondering everyday how many of friends and families we’ll still have after we come out to them someday. I can only hope that if they read this they’ll know that they’re not alone. And if you’re straight and you read this, I hope that you’ll be more understanding to those who are different from you, no matter about skin color or accent or sexual orientation. We are all people, and there’s one thing that’ll be just the same for any people. Love.