This I Believe

Tessa - Lolo, Montana
Entered on September 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I have always believed in the basic American idea that each person deserves the same rights and respect as the next person. Many people believe that should not include homosexuals. I believe gay equality is an issue worthy of the next big revolution.

Many groups of Americans have had to fight for their rights throughout history, including women, African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos, all in an effort to make “a more perfect union” as is stated in the Preamble. Today it is time for another step towards that dream of a more perfect union. It’s time for Gay Rights.

My first experience with “The Gay Issue” came when I was a malleable middle-schooler. Before then, there had been no influences to pre-maturely mold me one way or the other. At this age, it was common for kids to use the word “Homo” as a taunt, no matter how false the accusation. After experiencing the jeering directed at myself, I came face to face with the simple moral question of, “Is homosexuality wrong?” My answer was, and has always been, no.

After I came to that conclusion I tried to discuss the issue as often as possible. Most of my close girl-friends agreed with my views and we often got into heated tirades about the “unfairness” of it all. I even tried discussing it with my best friend, who was against gay rights because of her religious beliefs. One can easily imagine that didn’t go over so well. I started responding to mean ol’ boys who were calling others “HOMO!” with my meager retort, “there’s nothing wrong with homos!” Though these attempts now seem childish, those times were just a prequel to my devotion and awareness now, and my hope for an active future in the founding of gay rights.

Eventually, one of the boys who was often teased about sexuality, called me at home. This was not out of the ordinary because Stan was a close friend, but what was said in the conversation made of the biggest impacts on both our lives. “I’ve never told anybody this, but I’m bi,” he said. (Bi being short for bisexual). The only thing about this statement that shocked me was that for once, those mean ol’ boys un-knowingly hit the nail on the head with their spiteful accusations. After I assured him that I was happy for him and glad that he was willing to come out to me, he said something I still don’t understand to this day: “I didn’t think you’d like me if I told you.” Never have I been this perplexed by such a simple statement. How could he believe I would dislike him for homosexuality when I’d only ever spoken strongly in favor of homosexual rights? Perhaps he was so afraid of society’s fear and hatred of homosexuality, that he thought even his close friend, who had always supported gay rights, could still be poisoned by the majority’s discrimination? Receiving my support has made him more comfortable admitting to himself and to others who he really is.

Since the day Stan came out of the closet to me, he’s gone from bisexual, to homosexual, to transgender. This fall, he will start on hormones to grow breasts. By next summer, he will be able to wear a bikini top without a bra and tissues.

Today, I do all I can o promote equality for one suppressed group of American citizens. I am a member and president for GSA (Gay-Straight-Alliance). In GSA, we organize activities that bring awareness to our school about homosexuality and encourage a larger support group and safer environment for the homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals of my school. The Day of Silence is an annual event observed nationally when we offer visual displays of support and participation. Participation in this event demonstrates that there’s a larger population that’s supportive and tolerant of gay rights.

My convictions so far have only grown, and will continue to become more influential. I hope not only to encourage acceptance, but to also bring about real change in laws and policies regarding gay rights. Why? Because all Americans deserve equal opportunities.