Back in the 20’s and 30’s gay men used the practice of wearing different colored scarves to identify themselves as gay so that they were able to meet other men. This was mainly a sexual practice, but the gay movement during that time period was very underground. Men and women that identified as gay or lesbian met in special locations with other people like them in order to socialize and be themselves.
It was obviously much more taboo back then and even though we’ve come very far in terms of a lot of rights, there is still a long way to go.
Reading articles and news clipping about the kids that killed themselves over the past few weeks due to being tormented shows us that hate towards people that are different than the norm is still very prevalent.
The saying goes that “if you don’t learn from history, then you are destined to repeat it.” And that is never truer than right now. Throughout history there has always been one group that was targeted and discriminated against more than others. In the 40’s it was the Jews during WWII, In the 60’s it was the blacks during the civil rights movement and today a lot of focus is put on gay people. Whether its gay marriage, family values or the disgust that people feel because of it.
The funny thing is that I’m confident that in time when I’m old, we’ll look back on this and say to ourselves “don’t you remember when.” We’ll see how stupid and unfair we all were to gay people for something that they had no control over. I’m not asking someone that’s black to be white, or a catholic to become Jewish. I’m not asking for anyone to be something that they are not, so leave me alone and let me live my life because I let you live yours.
Whatever it is that someone does in the privacy of their bedroom is their business and no one else’s. Who is the “perverted” one, the gay person that keeps their business to themselves in their home or the person that is so against it that they fixate on it and obsess? – much like the assistant attorney general in Michigan. Why is it that he is so obsessed with this young student?
I hope that any person out there, young or old, knows that yes things are hard. It takes a lot to be comfortable with yourself, but you can do it. It may not be your family or the friends that you have now, but somewhere you have a support system! Trust me, it’s out there! It can be hard to find, I know from experience, but know that if you ever need it, I’m here too.
When I was in high school I used to come home and cry some days at the thought of having to wait one more day before I was able to fully be myself, but the thing is that I had hope that things would get better and they have. A thousand times better than I could have imagined as that 17-year-old kid.
I know that National Coming Out day came and passed and I’m sure for many people that day was not that day for them. Whether you aren’t ready or you just can’t come out right now, please have hope that things will get better. Know that they will!
Justin is a 23 year old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is working on his bachelors in English and looking for Mr. Right. You can read more about his escapades in dating at his personal blog, "A Gay College Guy in Virginia".
“He was the lead organizer during the March on Washington, and yet you rarely hear his name mentioned. It is in part because he was a gay man in a time when that was difficult to talk about in society.”August 31, 2015
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