If you like it, then you should be able to put a ring on it.

You saw the big red equals sign and wanted to run, didn’t you? You read the title of the post and thought with exasperation, “Dang it, she’s gonna defend her opinion.” Well don’t worry, I won’t try to preach about one thing or another. I will express my opinion, but not directly about the extremely controversial subject of gay marriage. This is merely a reflection about an assembly that we had today.

A young, handsome man came to our high school to talk about LGBT awareness and inclusion. Hudson Taylor started the non-profit Athlete Ally because he had initially never really been very active about these issues before. He talked about his interactions with these sort of social issues when he was in high school and college and I must say that I agree with the majority of the things that he said today.

First off, I believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBT. I find that as I grow up, even in a school that is viewed as Christian and conservative, more people are coming out of the closet, or questioning/exploring their sexuality, at least. I personally am not LGBT; I’m pretty sure I’m straight.

To be completely honest, I was definitely not always like this. I didn’t know anyone in my childhood that was not straight; at least, I was too ignorant and young to be able to distinguish someone as “different”. I do believe that the first time I even learned that there was such a thing as men loving men and women loving women and everything in between was in seventh grade. I heard the term gay being thrown around derogatorily, as you would probably expect seventh graders to do, being very impressionable, having conversations that they don’t understand. I asked someone what “gay” meant, and they looked at me as if I were stupid and said, “It’s when guys like guys.”

The concept was completely alien to me and thus I shunned it for many years; it took so long for me to even accept the idea. Gradually though, I started seeing more blatant gays in the streets and when I went on vacation with my family. Once, when we went to Boston, I saw a pair of lesbians making out very passionately in public. Young and innocent as I was, it was sort of disturbing to look at simply because I had never seen a girl kiss a girl like that. Now that I look back at it, I’ll admit that I was weirded out due to a mixture of surprise and disgust at the general show of such obvious PDA. Ew.

The issue with LGBT, I think, is that there’s an ongoing debate between two radically different groups of people about whether or not being LGBT is “moral” or “right”. If that universally controversial question is decided, it’s onto the next contentious topic of what to do about gay marriage, as is evident from the debates that happen in the political world. But there’s a difference between dealing with this issue on a governmental level and on a personal level, such as for a person like me, who is not at all involved in politics (still 16 woot).

By distinction, the government’s role is to deal with laws that dictate the way that the public lives. They aren’t really supposed to settle on whether or not being gay is “moral,” but rather, how to deal with the fact that gay couples want to get married. They also have to consider external factors such as spending, priority issues, and backlash. It’s frustrating but I can sympathize with the government on this issue; it is hard to make such big decisions, when the country is so divided about it. They definitely feel pressure to please as many people as possible, without causing a huge stir.

But what I’m concerned about, and what is more relevant to my personal life, is the way that we deal with this issue in our everyday lives, whether it be face-to-face in this place that we call high school, through the internet, which is rapidly changing, whose utility is transforming everyday. Our actions and words often demonstrate our positions on these sort of issues. The guy that come today, Hudson Taylor, sort of articulated that we should be open and accepting of anyone. Victory through unity, I think he said, was the motto through organization.

Now, I am not an athlete. I haven’t played a team sport in such a long time. I am, however, on our school’s debate team; the national debate community is probably overall more accepting of LGBT people than lots of sports. We’re radical radicals. There are lots of openly LGBT people out there that manage perfectly fine at debate tournaments. I’m so glad of that. When the drama subsides and everything else fades away, all you have left is your identity, and if the environment that you’re in accepts you, it makes everything else SO MUCH EASIER.

Not only is it unnecessary to try to preach what you believe in to other people, it’s also extremely annoying. My opinion is as arbitrary as yours. This issue doesn’t even come down to religious or faith-based questions. Regardless of what you believe in, and what you were taught, you still have an obligation to be as objective as possible. If you don’t try to change my opinion, I won’t try to change yours. Homophobia, while illogical in my opinion, is still a very ideological force of sorts that people strongly embrace.

If push comes to shove and you still believe that it is wrong to be LGBT, that is fine with me. But still, there’s no need to express your arbitrary opinion in such a negative way, as you never know what the people surrounding you believe in.

(Daily Post)

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