I'd Die For You

I'd Die For You

A tribute to the bravery of the LGBTAQ+ Community
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Everyone has something they’d be willing to die for that is what they live for, whether it’s a relative, a partner, or a cause. I have several — my loved ones of course, and, now seemingly more relevant than ever, the LGBTAQ+ community.

The struggle this community faces with the Church and for equality is something I plan to spend my entire life trying to improve, even if I make zero progress. It’s something that I believe in so deeply that I would die for it. If I thought such a sacrifice could bring a peaceful resolution, I’d be gone tomorrow. That’s the level of commitment I’m talking about here.

You’re thinking great, you’re a little too enthusiastic there. That’s not my point. This is something I’m passionate about, something I care about deeply, so it’s not that weird when I say that I will gladly devote my life to it because living for something is sometimes much harder than dying for something.

It would be weird if I expressed the same feelings about some part of my identity, instead of something that I believe to be a calling. Like, if I said I’m part Swiss, and I’d be willing to die for that. If I said I’m a sister, and I’d gladly give up my life for that. I appreciate my heritage, and I do love each of my siblings more than anything, but it’s not exactly a calling.

It’s not the same as saying that I’m devoting my life to something that makes the world a better place. It’s saying that I’m devoted to the people closest to me, so much so that I’d rather die than have anything bad happen to them. Again, this is not an unusual feeling.

Nobody asks that of me. In all likelihood, nobody is going to target me because of my status as a sister. Nobody is going to target me because I’m a daughter. Nobody is going to target me if I've got a boyfriend.

If, by some crazy chance, somebody found out that I am one of those things, and came to me for that reason, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that my attacker was definitively in the wrong. Nobody would say that I deserved it because I happened to have siblings or aunts, or that the world was better off without me.

It wouldn’t happen. If it did, anyone who said those things would be dismissed as an awful human being (and rightly so). Because that’s madness. Nobody should be attacked over something they cannot control.

Who you love is something you cannot control. Your family. Your friends. Your partner. Love is love, and love is not a crime. It is not something hateful. It is beautiful and valuable and pure.

Nobody is asking me to defend my love with my life. Nobody is asking me to put myself at risk every time I go out in public simply because of my identity. And if nobody is asking it of me, or of you, or of anyone else, then nobody should ask or expect it of anyone in the LGBTAQ+ community either.

If I get to choose what and when I am willing to sacrifice my life for, then so does everyone else.

If I don’t have to worry about being attacked for being myself, then no one else should have to either.

I don’t care what you believe about the Bible or Quran or any other religious text. I don’t care what you think about gay people or Muslims or people who enjoy "Harry Potter." I don’t care if you support Hilary, Trump, or Elvis Presley. None of that matters.

People deserve to be safe, to feel safe in their identity. They should not have to worry about being gunned down for displaying affection or assaulted because they held someone’s hand. They shouldn’t have to worry about judgement and harassment and violence. But they do.

The LGBTAQ+ community deals with these fears every day, every moment of their lives. It might be on the back burner at times, but it’s still a very real possibility in this society. That’s ridiculous.

I can proclaim my activism and passion for working with the LGBTAQ+ community. I can say that I’d die for them and that I’m planning to live my life with the same purpose. The reality is that they’re making that same choice every single day, simply by being who they are.

By having the courage to go to a gay bar, to come out to a friend, to hold their partner’s hand as they walk down the street, they’re demonstrating courage a lot of people never need to have.

Nobody is asking them to put themselves on the line for who they love, but they do it anyway, all the time. It’s time we stop just expecting them to do it, or worse, getting annoyed with them for doing it.

So please, take a moment of silence. Take a break from the gun control and immigration debates and just think, pray, reflect. Just appreciate the bravery it takes for the LGBTAQ+ community to be themselves in the world we’ve created. And then say another prayer, because in Orlando last week, a safe space was violated, which means that it just got even more difficult to take that step of courage.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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