This I Believe

Kelsey - Gig Harbor, Washington
Entered on January 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance
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I Belive in the Day When Gay is as Normal as Straight

Seven years ago, I was taught the biggest lesson of my life. My second of three older sisters came out as being a lesbian and my life was forever changed. Since those seven years ago, I have never experienced something that has more well-rounded me as a person. Although I was only a fourth grader, I had already been exposed to the disheartening hate demonstrated against gays. I found it difficult to cope with during the years of middle school. I couldn’t seem to grasp why kids found such pleasure in ridiculing the same thing that I so maturely understood from my earlier childhood. It got to the point where I would detest people that would make gay and lesbian jokes and completely shut them out of my social realm. I often caught myself putting my gay rights beliefs in the back seat – for a quick shutter of laughter – in order to fit in. Often my punishment was dealing with days full of cognitive dissonance and the desire to apologize to my sister for something that at the time had appeared so innocent. It wasn’t until high school that I began to execute my voice and appreciate where I stood on the topic. Other than my close family, I only confided in my friends that were the most open-minded when telling my sisters secret. Silently, I vowed to myself to act against discrimination towards gays and lesbians whenever I experienced it, in hope to change the ignorant students minds amongst me before they too were morphed into our bitterly brutal society. With the early stages of my vow I found my own actions to be deceitful. Frequently I picked and choose the people I would stand up to, and limited myself with fear in being made fun of. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I broke down my self constricted barriers. Something had come over me and demolished all of my fears, I simply no longer cared what people thought about me. I am ashamed of myself for being embarrassed of the one person who so effortlessly taught me not only to be more understanding but who guided me to find myself. Looking back on my earlier days, I’m apologetic for those kids who weren’t privileged enough to grow up in the same educated household environment that I did. If it were possible, I would want every child to grow up and experience having someone who is gay in their life – but honestly it shouldn’t take that. Someday, people will step outside of themselves for a change and realize that life isn’t all about who’s gay and who’s straight. Each day up until that miraculous day, I will continue to honor my older sister that opened my eyes to a greater existence.