Of course, it’s no secret that I am gay. It’s who I’ve always been, it’s how I’ve always lived, and I’m not ashamed about it. However, I was not always as strong-willed about my sexual orientation as I currently am today. By the grace of God, I’ve never been physically harmed by the likes of homophobic people. I have, on the other hand, experienced a great deal of homophobic slander like most to all of my peers in the LGBT community.
I’ve been called almost every name in the book from ‘faggot’ to ‘batty boy’ (a homophobic patois term), and as much as I thought that they were just words, in reality they’ve cut deeper than any punch or kick that I can imagine. There have been times where I would break down and cry because I couldn’t understand how someone could hate me for just being myself. In my eyes, I didn’t see–and still don’t see–what was so different about me other than the fact that I just so happen to love the same gender. I would walk down the street minding my own business only for a complete stranger to blatantly defame my being. I’ve had family members talk behind my back and didn’t want others to “be around a bunch of faggots.” At one point, I had pennies thrown at me in high school when I walked into the lunch room or down the hall. Yet somehow in some fashion, I continued living my life and slowly trained my heart to become sturdy and strong…or so I thought.
Yesterday, a friend of mine reposted a video on Facebook called “Love Is All You Need?” This short film depicted a world where being straight was the taboo and homosexuality was the norm. Now of course, it’s not necessarily a new concept, however seeing the shoe put on the other side and ultimately the end result had opened up a wound that I thought had healed. To put it in black and white, there are people out in the world ridiculed for living “differently,” and in the end take their own lives because they feel they have no one else to turn to. Despite the film being a fictitious account of what really happens in our society, it still hurts my heart to know that there are people out there who lost the will to live because another–who in most cases aren’t righteous themselves–looked down upon them and belittled them.
I cried. I cried because in all honesty, if I didn’t have the support of my mother and the friends that I have in my life, that could have been me. I cried because I felt the pain and the agony of those who are still out there struggling with who they are. I cried because I felt the heartache of those families who, despite disagreeing with a life they most certainly don’t understand, lost a child due to the cruelty of the world. Personally, the wounds are still fresh. I haven’t been called out my name in awhile, but knowing there are still people who may look at me as if I don’t belong subconsciously hurts. Nevertheless, I constantly remind myself that I do belong. I was brought into this world for a reason just like the next person, and I refuse to believe any differently.
To those who may stumble upon this, you are not alone. There will be days where it gets rougher for some more than others, but at the end of the day we are not by ourselves in this thing we call life. It took awhile for me to realize it, but it’s something worth knowing as you wake up each morning and go to sleep each night.