This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
Being different has always been something that people are judged for. In history, people were judged for having a different religion, skin color or gender. These judgments led to wars and violence that plague our history books. Yet, humanity always finds new ways to judge a population.
Today people are judged based on their sexual orientation and sexual identity. The people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual face daily prosecution and prejudiced people who are seeking to take away their rights. Every day is a battle to gain rights to marry for love and to merely exist as who they are.
Although I identify as heterosexual, the LGBT community has my respect and support. Even I suffer from judgment merely for voicing my unwavering support. I grew up in Orem, Utah, and faced bullying for my ideals. I was called immoral and a sinner by my peers. I once had a teacher tell me, “You’re a dyke who will never amount to anything.”
Why is that in our world being different or even showing support for people who are different is such a terrible thing? The lack of respect for differences showed by so many people is something we should be ashamed of, not show off.
We have the freedom of opinion, the freedom of choice and the freedom to be different in our country. If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, you are free to think as you wish. You may think however you want, this is your right, but you can’t expect everyone to conform to your ideals merely because you want them to. You have no right to tell a homosexual person that they do not have the right to marry who they love.
The judgments on the LGBT community swept across our world and barred rights from people just like you and me. The FDA still has a ban on men who have had sexual contact with other men (even once) from giving blood. Despite the proof that HIV can be contracted by many means, the homophobia in our society has stopped good blood donors from being able to give.
We sling insults around like “poof,” “dyke,” “fag,” “gay” and “lezzo” without any thought to how disrespectful we are being.
Misconceptions about the LGBT community plague everything. From the belief that homosexuality is contagious, that all homosexuals have AIDS or that people who have same sex partners are loose or always have open relationships. Many people will say, “Oh well… I don’t live that lifestyle,” when their lifestyle is no different than everyone else’s. The only difference is the fact that they are attracted to people of the same sex.
In the heterosexual community, we find men and women who live loose lives and indulge in open relationships with others. Your sexuality does not determine the lifestyle you live, you do.
Our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends are terrified to be who they are. These wonderful and exceptional people are afraid to wake up in the morning because of the judgment they will be met with. Life is a beautiful thing and this obvious crime is making people unable to experience life as it is meant to be experienced.
A change needs to be made in how the LGBT community is viewed and treated. The real sign of a good person is in how they treat people who are different than them. A person does not deserve any less of your respect because of their sexuality. It’s time that we step up and strive to be people worth knowing.