Taking a Stand

Sara - Brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on September 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe you should never let anything get in the way of something you strongly believe in. Don’t let people’s opinions change the way you feel about something. It isn’t normally acceptable for people to go against the majority’s opinion, but sometimes you have to make social sacrifices to fight for something you think.

I was raised in Brookline, one of the most liberal and tolerant towns I’ve ever known. I come from an adopted family with a single mother, so I am not used to a cookie cutter lifestyles. My mother preaches peace and tolerance. She teaches with a ‘make love, not war’ mentality. I was also taught from a young age to stand up for what I believe to be right and to take charge of the things I want to change.

During the summer of 6th grade one of my classmates came out saying he was gay. Aside from the constant heckling he endured, most insults weren’t said straight to his face. Mocking is frowned upon in a school environment, so instead they would send cruel e-mails and IM’s because they couldn’t say it straight to his face. Then all the hype died down, and it didn’t seem to be such a big deal.

For a while I thought everyone had either forgotten, or didn’t care about his declaration anymore. I continued to think this until the taunts started up again. But this time the insults were addressed to his face. One boy was particularly mean and he felt that because his uncle was gay, he had free reign to use derogatory words to address homosexuals. Many girls disagreed with his offensive words, but for one reason or another they wouldn’t make their opinions known, possibly because of the social consequences of speaking out against a larger group of people. Seeing cruelty but not doing anything about it was not the mindset I was exposed to.

Although I didn’t particularly like this person, I defended him. I told the others to lay off, that whether he was gay, straight, or bisexual they had no right to belittle him. They told me to relax and that it wasn’t that big of a deal, but of course I disagreed. I voiced my opinion even through the controversy of defending someone in his position. This was the way I was raised to behave in a social situation. Even though those people thought I was taking the situation too seriously and my social ‘status’ probably dropped, it doesn’t bother me.

Some of those people may have thought that I needed to chill and not take situations like this so seriously. But I believe you shouldn’t let your feelings take a back seat to how people might view you.