So why am I, a self-proclaimed God-Fearing Republican posting about Gay Rights? Simple. Because I am also a mother, and THAT is far more important than any political affiliation, and it is more important than what some man in a little white collar tells me I am "supposed" to think. Yes, I believe in God. I have very strong faith. But the God I know loves all His children, whether they be black, white, brown, purple, green.....Or gay.
If you have been paying any attention to the news, you already know that prejudice against Gays, Lesbians, and Transgendered people is one of the few last "acceptable" forms of discrimination. People are ignorant and closed-minded, and seem to forget that regardless of sexual orientation, we are all HUMAN. We all have the same emotions, the same fears, and we all just want to feel safe, happy, and loved. Unfortunately, kids are growing up full of hate because that is what they are taught by their parents. They have automatic prejudices against Gays based on totally inaccurate stereotypes. Here are some examples:
- Gays MUST be pedophiles.
- Gays are promiscuous, dirty, and all have AIDS or HIV.
- Gays and Lesbians cannot possibly be good parents.
- Gays are weak, "sissies", or whiny.
- Gay males must not have had strong male role-models.
- Gays are all obsessed with fashion, drama, and the arts.
- Gay men can not be masculine.
- God does not love gays and views them as being sinners and unworthy of Salvation.
Why does this matter? Why should you care? Simple. Contrary to what many believe, no one makes the choice to be Gay...People are born that way. They aren't defective...They aren't "freaks". They are people. Just like the heterosexual community. Any of us could have a Gay child, and by feeding into these negative perceptions, a parent can make a child feel worthless. Unloved. Like a mistake. In my humble opinion, God makes NO mistakes, and loves all of us equally. If someone is born Gay, they are born exactly the way they are meant to be. And it is not something anyone should be ashamed of. No child should ever fear that their family will not love them because of their sexual orientation. No child should ever say they hate themselves, or that they feel like they have a disease and wish God would make them change. Being Gay is NOT a choice...It is NOT a disease that can be cured by taking a miracle pill. Being Gay is nothing more than being attracted to members of the same sex. And really, why should it matter who someone prefers to be intimate with...Who someone chooses to love? Being Gay is not contagious. It does not make someone dirty. It doesn't make someone immoral. It just means they love differently than straight people...But as far as I am concerned, it's not about WHO you love, it's HOW you love that really matters.
More and more Gay youth are committing suicide because they feel alone...Hopeless...They cannot see a future for themselves as an openly Gay adult, and they do not like hiding who they really are. It is a constant internal struggle that many young people face. This struggle is often made harder by bullying, being ridiculed, or being made to feel like they are somehow less than human. Too many kids come home crying after school, wondering why people have to pick on them. For many kids, school is not the safe haven it should be. Rather, it's a living Hell where they are persecuted for being "different." For many, the thought of suicide becomes appealing as it is a permanent escape from their pain. Pain they should not have to feel.
Many Gay youths feel they cannot confide in their families or their friends. They feel alone, afraid, ashamed, and like they don't deserve to live. This is something NO child should EVER have to endure. So please, if you have children, please don't teach them to hate. Don't teach them to bully. You never know if YOUR child just might be struggling with their own sexuality, and are being hurt by your words and actions.
And if your child finds the courage to confide in you that he or she happens to be Gay, please wipe away their tears, hold them close, and let them know that you love them just the way that they are. Be their soft place to fall. The world is cold, and kids can be very, very cruel. Please make it known that your child can come to you without fear of rejection or loss of love. Let them know that it's OKAY to be exactly who they are and that God made them exactly the way they were meant to be. Listen to them. Talk to them. Be their rock. Let them know that no matter how hard it can be to face the outside world, they are safe, secure, accepted, and loved at home. This can literally be the difference between life and death. If a child has a positive and loving support system at home, they will learn to accept themselves eventually. Even though there may be a ton of anger, confusion, and sorrow that they will have to work through in their own time, if the child KNOWS without a doubt they are loved and worthwhile, they are FAR less likely to become another statistic of a life that is ended too soon due to unwarranted shame. No child should ever be ashamed of who they are.
If you know a young person who is struggling with their sexuality, and is being bullied because of it, please check out The It Gets Better Project. Here is more about this movement, taken from their website:
About the It Gets Better Project
Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.
Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. They were tragic examples of youth who could not believe that it does actually get better.
While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.
What is the It Gets Better Project?
In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.
Two months later, the It Gets Better Project (TM) has turned into a worldwide movement, inspiring over 10,000 user-created videos viewed over 35 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of "Glee", Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more. For us, every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.
The website http://www.itgetsbetter.org is a place where young people who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans can see how love and happiness can be a reality in their future. It’s a place where our straight allies can visit and support their friends and family members. It’s a place where people can share their stories, take the It Gets Better Project pledge, watch videos of love and support, and seek help through the Trevor Project and GLSEN.
On March 22, 2011, six months following the launch of the campaign, the It Gets Better Project book was released. The book , It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living is on-sale wherever books are sold. It includes essays and new material from more than 100 contributors, including celebrities, religious leaders, politicians, parents, educators, youth just out of high school, and many more. All proceeds from the book will be donated to LGBT youth charities. For more details and to purchase the book, visit http://itgetsbetter.org/book.
Here are some GREAT videos about this project's message:
***If you know a young person who is being bullied or is depressed by their sexual identity, or is contemplating suicide and needs help, please call the Trevor Project at 1- 866-4-U-TREVOR. There are trained counselors available who can help 24/7.***