This I Believe

Susan - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on October 16, 2006

I believe there is nothing wrong with me. I believe I am no better and no worse than anyone else. I believe I was created to be exactly who I am. And on most days, I am pretty secure with these beliefs. However, there is an occasion, every few years that seems to cloud the strength of my convictions. And once again, it is upon us- election season.

For the past few years, election season has been a difficult time for me. I choose to live in a city where, for the most part, I am treated as an equal. And I choose to spend my time around people who treat me as I deserve to be treated. And I choose to attend a church that accepts me for who I am. But during election time, it seems that outside influences make their way into my world via television, radio and the internet. They materialize and conjure hate, anger, confusion, and fear, all hiding within the depths of my self. Together, these ugly feelings create a sense of separateness, of being less than. It becomes difficult to feel equal and o.k. Why? Because I am a lesbian. I make no apologies for this, as I am quite happy with my life. But there are others who feel differently, and election time brings issues of gay rights and opposing opinions to the forefront.

I live in a state that has an initiative on the ballot to ban gay marriage. For the past few months, I have heard how, because I am gay, I am not permitted to have the same protections under the law as a heterosexual person does. And I have heard that homosexuals should not raise children because they will damage them. And I have heard that gay people molest children. And I have heard that being gay is a sin and that homosexuals are going to hell. And I have heard that gay people spread sexually transmitted diseases and are responsible for promulgating pornography. These statements are talking about me, and they hurt. The words make me feel angry…they make me scared…and they make me hate. And hate begets hate. I am afraid that people who don’t know me, or any other gay individual, will believe these words and judge me based upon them- contempt prior to investigation. I know that I judge the people saying them, mainly because I don’t understand their point of view. Maybe they don’t understand mine either.

I suppose in a perfect world the solution would be simple. If we could just open our minds and our ears, lay aside our prejudices, and go have coffee together, we would see that we are not all that different. I want a life of happiness, love, and peace. I want children to grow up safe, healthy and cared for. And I want to believe that I live in a country where all people are treated equal and that by laying down our swords and putting out the welcome mat we will see that none of us are the monsters under the bed that we imagine.