This Is The Truth About Being Gay In 2019

This Is The Truth About Being Gay In 2019

How recent events has got me thinking more and more about my sexuality.

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I really don't think about this topic a lot because being gay is just who you are and you should try to never let your sexuality define you but recently I have thought about it a lot.

In the past month, the conversation of sexuality has started to come into the forefront of today's news with the horrific alleged attack on African-American actor and singer Jussie Smollett, who is best known as Jamal Lyon from the Fox drama series Empire.

On January 29th, Smollett alleged that he was brutally attacked by two men who were yelling homophobic along with racial slurs at him, poured bleach on him, and even put a noose around his neck while they were yelling "This is MAGA Country".

So many emotions came to my head when this story came up on my Twitter feed like disgust, anger, sadness, etc. but my first thoughts that came to my head while reading about it may surprise some.

I'm not even surprised that this attack that allegedly happened.

Unfortunately, people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans community have to worry about this happening to them every single day. We worry if we act "too gay" in public. We worry if we are dressing "too out there" in public. We worry if we are holding hands with our significant other in public.

We have to worry about these things all the time because we don't want people to come up to us, make fun of us, and bully us for just being who we are.

I'm so thankful that incidents like the one that allegedly happened to Smollett has never happened to me but I'm just one of the lucky ones. I have incidents when I'm out at night either by myself or with friends when I have had people stare at me for what I am wearing and/or whisper things about me to the people around them.

I have even had one incident when a guy in a pickup truck will roll down their window just to yell the f word at me. Yes, that f word.

Hate speech and crime against the LGBT community is still very relevant in this country and all over the world. The alleged attack against Smollett is only one of the few that will be brought up in the national news because of the status of his career. Imagine if he wasn't a celebrity. We would never know about this horrific alleged attack.

I hope everyone reading this won't just make you feel sad for people like me and others in my community. I hope this will spark a fire in you to help support your brothers, sisters, friends, and many more people in the LBGT community. Stand up for those you are too scared to do it themselves. Educate yourself so you can be more proactive and help us fight for our rights.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Conversion Therapy Is Dangerous & Far Too Common

Most people assume that conversion therapy is an antiquated and long-gone practice when it is currently impacting thousands of American youth.

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I was recently watching the movie "Boy Erased" with my mom. She asked me how recently this story had taken place and was shocked when I said the boy in the movie underwent conversion therapy in 2004. She came up with question after question: how common is it today? How many people does it affect? What laws are in place? I did some quick googling and she was surprised to learn that conversion therapy is only illegal for minors in 15 states and Washington D.C. I also told her that it is predicted that 20,000 youth between the ages of 13 and 17 will experience conversion therapy programs before they turn 18.

The stories of LGBTQ+ youth committing suicide due to conversion therapy are endless, while countless others report physical and sexual assault while undergoing the "treatment". These programs advertise that homosexual identity can be cured and that LGBTQ+ individuals have the capabilities to change their thoughts and feelings. Most conversion therapy is religiously supported and motivated, with churches and religious organizations being the creators of many such programs.

Those that have come out of conversion therapy report stories of emotional abuse through therapy sessions with other participants. Those within the programs are reportedly taught that if they are unable to become heterosexual it is their own personal failure. Participants are physically harmed while watching homoerotic film or images. Being given elastic bands to punish themselves when they have homosexual thoughts and practices to associate shame with homosexuality are also common. Use of electric shock therapy has even been reported as part of the "treatment" involved in conversion therapy. Conversion therapy programs additionally focus on gender identity and gender-specific traits. Organizations teach proper behavior for each gender, requiring "patients" to exhibit behavior that is stereotypically masculine or feminine.

Scientifically, it has been proven that being gay cannot be "cured" and that these programs do not work. There is no scientific evidence that conversion therapy can actually change LGBTQ+ behavior or feelings. The practice of these programs to refer to LGBTQ+ individuals as having a disease or mental disorder is also scientifically ungrounded. Several medical institutions including The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The National Association of School Psychologists have spoken out against conversion therapy. These organizations say that the practice is medically inaccurate and has the potential to hurt patients more than helping them as a result of the mental and emotional impacts of conversion therapy.

It is shocking that conversion therapy is still allowed to be practiced at all and that 35 states still allow minors to undergo such treatment. The Vice President of the United States and the Republican Party have even come out with statements that seemingly support the practice. It seems ridiculous that something that has no evidence of being effective is still being practiced and that little to no attempt is being made to save kids from the falsehoods they are being told about how they can "fix" themselves. We need to take a serious look at how we handle this issue and remember that kids are supposed to be taught to embrace who they are, not that a fake medical treatment is the secret to being the right kind of human being.

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