As everyone who knows me knows I’m an extreme advocate for the LGBT community — anyone who is an advocate knows that in being one, it usually stems from some type of personal experience, something close to home, or something that you just find downright wrong within society that you will work to change. As advocates, we all know that change is not something that’s easy and oftentimes in being an advocate, we are not glorified but rather frowned upon within society–we are different, we are passionate, we are influential, and oh boy, are we stubborn. We are willing to call out injustices as we see them happening, we are willing to voice our opinion strongly in every form of free speech when something rubs us the wrong way, and we don’t back down from our cause regardless of what it can do to us, personally.
I’m an advocate for the LGBT community because before I was outwardly living it, I was hiding it and in hiding it, I was ashamed. Why, you might ask? Because of our society–the same society I live and function in now as an out individual, and let me tell you, I will fight for every single individual to live freely and openly as they are meant to live because for me, and for us, falling in love was never a choice but the hate in our society is. Who would EVER be ashamed of falling in love if they were straight? No one. We’ve taken the right to love and to be cared for and made it a disgrace for those who happen to be attracted to the same sex….
Wait, wait, wait. Back up. We’ve taken the right to love and care for another individual and made it a disgrace. Isn’t that enough right there to fight this fight? Perhaps not.
Maybe, it’s the number of those preaching the words of God as a way to perpetuate hate but my God knows no hate. For a personal example, Lindsay and I were minding our own business in a store and a woman, who we thought wanted to help us, approached and began on a religious rant, cornering us, in a public space, for who we are privately, for who we are because of our genes, and simply, for who we are. Can you imagine every day worrying that someone will go on a crusade in the name of religion ostracizing, belittling, and maybe even killing those who don’t conform to their principles in a public space that you thought as humans you share? We do.
Maybe, it’s the number of individuals who don’t outwardly discriminate but have an anti-gay agenda. For example, we went searching for a place to move once our previous lease was up and had to be concerned about whether or not the person doing the showing was homophobic, and if you took a guess at how many said they’d get back to us and provide an application, who didn’t, you’d be correct in saying most. It didn’t matter that we could pay the rent, the utilities, were responsible, fully employed individuals with a clean track record, they’d rather offer their rental to someone else because we promised to love one another in sickness and in health, until death do us part. They’d rather offer it to someone else who might not be able to make the monthly payments, might be a raging alcoholic, maybe a pedophile, possibly a murderer, and that was still better because they weren’t gay. Do you ever worry that because you’re simply breathing that you have the possibility of being refused housing? We do.
Maybe, it’s the number of times we need to correct individuals who devalue our relationship because it isn’t heterosexual. “I uh, saw you with your friend the other day.” “Lindsay isn’t my friend, she’s my fiancé.” “I saw you with your boyfriend.” “Lindsay isn’t my boyfriend, she’s my fiancé, she’s a girl…” Why should we be made to constantly feel inferior? Society doesn’t single out those who are unfaithful, those who are abusive, those who live alternative lifestyles within the heterosexual realm and make them fight for equal opportunity. These segments of the population don’t have to explain continually and be made to feel ostracized because of their choices, which they can control. Our love was and is not a choice. Do you ever get tired of validating your love to everyone around you? We do.
Maybe, it’s the number of times you’ve read in the papers that another member of the LGBT community was killed. Lindsay and I were planning a trip to New York City and on my newsfeed up pops that a gay man was shot directly in the face, simply because he was gay. First off, although we don’t live in a bubble and understand the presence of hate, it was New York City, we were appalled. We then went on to cancel our trip and now, we have to look up news alerts for the gay community before we make travel plans. Do you ever have to worry about whether you’ll be walking to your hotel and just because you might touch hands, get killed? We do.
Maybe, it’s the number of youth that turns to suicide each year because the struggle is too much for them to bear in an unsupportive environment. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t heard from my friends who went through the same struggle that they didn’t contemplate suicide, and I’d be lying myself if I said I hadn’t thought of that as the only way to finally be free. How sad, to kill myself was the only way to finally be free.
So I’m an advocate because I live it every day. I’m an advocate because I will continually fight for everyone’s right to love. I’m an advocate because I know there are thousands who feel voiceless. Above all, I’m an advocate because I am in love and being in love is as good of a fight as any of us have. So what’s next, society? Throw it at us. Our love will conquer all…you’ll see.