This I Believe

Emma - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on September 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: equality, family

All of my life I have witnessed people treating my brother, Luke, disrespectfully and poorly because of his sexual orientation. He would never treat someone the way he has been treated. He wakes up everyday and goes to school where he can’t walk down the hall without hearing at least one hateful remark or go to class without at least one teacher that looks down upon the supposed decision he made to be gay. Despite the fact he is scorned by many others, he goes throughout his day staying relatively optimistic and trying not to let other people’s opinions affect him.

When Luke was four, his preschool teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. When it was Luke’s turn he replied, “I want to be Snow White.” Luke’s dream was immediately crushed when his teacher responded, “No I mean something real like a fireman or a cowboy.” How real is that? Luke felt the need to change his “future occupation” to an ice cream truck driver, which later at home led him to tears when repeating the story to our mom. Our mom was appalled by the teacher’s reaction and told Luke he didn’t have to be an ice cream truck driver and that he could be Snow White if he wanted to. Now that Luke is an active theater student and is soon going to college as a theater major, he very well could live up to his four-year-old dream of “being” Snow White.

Whether it means walking down the hall without hearing “fag,” “spick” or “the n word” or being able to marry the person you love regardless of gender, I believe in equal rights. No one should be discriminated against. Everyone deserves the same rights regardless if the differ from the mainstream.

My brother has taught me to stay strong and not listen to what others say. Being called “gay,” “queer” or “fag” is an insult and I truly try to never use any of those hurtful descriptions. I try to support equal rights for minorities, but at this age it is difficult to do something highly effective. I have participated in the day of silence and worn rainbow bracelets and I plan on joining my brother at the Gay Pride parade in Chicago. In high school some students have decided that being gay is wrong or being unlike the majority is undesirable. In my opinion, people have no right to judge others. My brother has changed my ideology and has helped me become a more open-minded person.