In 2015, all fifty states of the US officially made same-sex marriage legal. Finally.
Lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell said “…(this) affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in their hearts: our love is equal.”
As a young gay, this moment was huge to me.
I was very young when I realized I was gay, and I kept the feeling to myself for a very long time. It wasn’t until highschool that I finally said the words “I’m gay” out loud for the first time.
This might sound a bit dramatic, but I was shocked at myself as the words came out of my mouth. It felt unreal. It was almost as if saying the words made them true for the first time in my life. Which clearly wasn’t true, but it’s the closest I can get to explaining the feeling I had.
I was in denial back then.
And I was horrified to tell anyone because I hardly had the guts to admit it to myself.
Then my best-friend, the one I had spoke the huge “I’m gay” words too, did the best thing anyone could ever do, he was accepting and chill. It didn’t matter to him. I was his friend and he was mine and nothing was going to change that.
Once I was able to accept my own internal feelings I was able to share them with someone I trusted and once he accepted me I was the happiest little 18 year old ever.
Acceptance is powerful. I don’t think either of us realized that at the time, but I know that our mutual acceptance of each other is the reason we’re still best friends today.
I would say I was around 9 when I started having *feelings* that I didn’t understand. (And this has a lot to do with the fact that the social world wasn’t nearly as accepting as it is now.) Gay marriage was still illegal, making gay jokes and saying “that’s so gay” was more than okay, and being gay basically made you a weirdo in the public eye. How is a nine year old supposed to get past all that?
I’m not innocent either, don’t get me wrong. Being surrounded by so much anti-gay talk I found myself being homophobic with my language at a young age. This contributed to me not wanting to come out for so long, and it also lead to some intense self-hatred. You aren’t my therapist so I’ll just leave this by saying ACCEPTANCE MATTERS.
Aka the point of this article. Mic drop.
Don’t underestimate how important your ability to truly accept others is. Don’t underestimate the importance of the language you use, the actions you make, and the way you treat others who aren’t like you.
Make It Stop by Rise Against is one of my favorite (and one of the most heartbreaking) songs about acceptance in the gay community. The hate and unacceptance needs to stop. Hate, not accepting someone, or using hateful actions/ words toward an individual or group WILL hurt someone.
Why would you do that then? What do you gain from unacceptance?
And what do others lose?
I’ll tell you what. Jobs, services, and communities. Just to name a few things a person can lose by loving or living LGBTQ+. And what about mental health? A person can face a lot of challenges if they’re whole lives they are meant with little or no acceptance.
I see no reason to hate or discriminate, but I see every reason not to.
It’s crazy to me to think that I only came out my senior year of high-school, 5 years ago, and now I’m about to get married to the woman of my dreams. (That’s where things are with me now). I would’ve never guessed that my situation would clear up so much and that’d I’d be so comfortable, surrounded by the most supportive people ever, and I’ll be forever grateful for my situation.
But here’s the reality: it’s not like that for everyone. And even within my own life, I still get weird reactions from people and worry about disclosing my sexuality in certain situations.
Sometimes my fiancé and I keep our hands away from each other or play things off as just friends if we don’t feel totally safe where we are, and a lot of people have to do way more than that for their safety.
I hate hearing people say things like “Things are so much better now. Why do people make a big deal out of being gay? It’s stupid. You have your rights so shut up.”
Hate crimes still happen, here in the US and otherwise. People still face serious consequences for being themselves, and it’s inhumane and wrong that these things happen.
Even if you aren’t directly punching someone in the face, being unaccepting and judgmental still hurts a lot of people.
Never forget: our love is equal. And no amount of hate will change that.
I hope this article can serve as a source of support for any LGBTQ+ people out there facing discrimination for living and loving as they do. And I hope it can help someone second-guess their choice to be unsupportive and hateful.
1-800-273-8255 by Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid is another amazing song that shows how serious support and love is.
Love is the most powerful thing in existence.
And that’s why we want our love to be seen as equal.
From my fiancé and I…
Thank you to everyone who’s been super supportive of us and makes us feel equal for our love. We’re just out here living and loving and trying our best, and we love you all for showing us so much love 😉
We want to speak up since we are able to (not everyone has that right). So please, if you take anything from this, just be accepting. It isn’t hard and you’ll be making a world of a difference in someone else’s life. A lot of someone else’s.
Until next time stay supportive, stay accepting, and as always…