Stop Judging Me For My Beliefs

Stop Judging Me For My Beliefs

I'm no longer allowing myself to be silenced with fear.

This article is difficult for me to write. It's difficult because, when discussing politics, I always choose to stay quiet or to stay on a level ground. I love talking about politics, and all sides of politics too. I love researching political issues, and I love discussing why some people believe what they believe and how they think we can improve America as a whole. I have loved politics since I was 12, and I have genuinely formed my own opinions as I've grown up. Although my parents and I share similar views, I am actually less moderate than my parents which is something that is very uncommon in today's society. I read a lot of political articles, and I read them from all sides. I also have friends from many different sides of politics and I really enjoy hearing why they support certain candidates and movements. Overall, I love politics.

But in recent years I've grown to hate it. I hate talking about it, I hate the jokes about it. I hate watching television shows that discuss politics, and I hate celebrities that join in on the narrative. I hate when I'm in a group of people and someone makes a political joke just assuming everyone is in agreement about those beliefs. I hate talking about politics because it has become an intolerant and extremely toxic environment.

I am not a liberal or Democrat nor do I consider myself conservative or Republican either, mostly because I'm very much against political parties and extremes as a whole. But in recent years, I've grown to really oppose the Democratic party. Not because I don't have liberal beliefs; I support gay rights, women's rights and all rights such as that. I'm the most inclusive, live-and-let-live person you will every meet. I strongly disagree with the government getting involved with the people's personal lives, so I agree abortion should be legal, and I think marijuana should be legal as well. Not necessarily because I support these things, but because I'm against big government. Some of my views are democratic so I don't oppose the current-day liberal's party because of beliefs.

I think a large part of today's democratic party has become toxic, exclusive and all around mean. Before someone jumps down my throat, calls me a bigot or de-friends me on social media and possibly real life, I'm not saying everyone who is a Democrat is this way. I know a ton of understanding, kind and mature liberals who love political discussions and are respectful of people's opinions, and I love talking about politics with them. One of my favorite teachers was liberal, and he was both respectful of everyone's opinions and incredibly educated in his own. And I'm not saying every Republican isn't this way either, as I am sure there are plenty of conservatives out there who aren't understanding, kind and mature, and instead help spread the political negativity in today's society. So before anyone writes a response piece to this article, I understand the world isn't black and white, and I understand there is good and bad from all sides.

But political extremists don't understand this, at least from my point of view. I am sick of being called a bigot because of my opinions. I'm sick of having my words twisted, and my intentions being misread. I'm sick of being silenced and I'm sick of being scared to talk about what I actually believe. Altogether, I'm sick of being bullied because I of what I support. The world isn't black and white. How ironic that the same people who preach about inclusion, open-mindedness and diversity are the ones shutting people down and bullying people into submission because of one aspect of their entire being. There are gay Republicans who are more afraid to admit they're Republican than to admit they are gay. Don't people see how twisted this has all become?

I am not sorry I believe in states' rights over the federal government, or that I believe the second amendment is incredibly important. I am not sorry I believe in less federal government involvement, in a strong military (and in supporting that strong military), and that I don't believe in the government paying for higher education. And I am especially not sorry that I thought Hillary Clinton was incredibly unqualified and an extremely dangerous candidate for our country. I am not sorry for my conservative beliefs, just as I am not sorry for my liberal beliefs.

We need to stop calling people bigots. We need to stop acting like the people who did vote for Donald Trump are stupid, uneducated or even evil. We need to stop judging people's worth or character off of political opinions. I can tell some people silently judge me for my opinions. I even get nervous people will stop being my friend because of it, and that is absolutely ridiculous. I would never stop being someone's friend because of something so silly as political opinions unless they actually were racist, homophobic, sexist or a bigot. Which guess what? I am not and neither are most people if you actually listened to their opinions.

This is a risky article to write because I did not hold back my opinion in fear of being judged or inciting criticism. I did not sugarcoat it or try to stay in the middle of the argument like I usually do because I'm sick of being respectful over everyone's beliefs and not getting the same courtesy in return. I'm no longer allowing myself to be silenced with fear. All I'm asking is to have my opinions and other people's opinions heard and respected. I am tired of the hate, the toxicity and the all-around division, and even if most choose to ignore this article and continue to try and shut others down, I still won't be silenced. I'm done playing along with this dangerous narrative. I believe what I believe, and I respect what others believe whether it's aligned with my beliefs or not. If you don't see it this way, then you are the problem. Not me.

Cover Image Credit: The Statesman

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.

Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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