Being a straight ally in the struggle for security and acceptance for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT) is as difficult as it is rewarding. Occasionally, I find a person who understands and accepts all that I do. However, most of the time, people just question my intentions or think it is a phase. Astonishingly, many people do not believe me when they ask about my sexual orientation. I hear comments like, “Whatever, you're a lesbo and you know it” or “C’mon, aren't you at least bi?” It hurts, but I am not alone.
I know I am not alone when I intervene upon hearing anti-gay comments. I know I am not alone when I stand up to people when they discriminate because of ignorance and prejudices. I know this because I can see it everywhere. I see smiles, and hear laughter. I feel the contentment
in so many people’s lives. With so much delight, it proves that all lesbian, gay, transgendered, queer, straight ally people are making a profound difference in the mindsets of many. And though it may seem like my efforts are blocked and walled, I know that it is well worth the effort. For me, just making a single person notice that there are people who are offended by derogatory comments and discrimination against the LGBTQA community is a success. Each time someone comes to me for advice on how to deal with a bigot, I have succeeded. And that success is what I struggle for.
Attending a Catholic grade school, I was surrounded by mentors who ingrained in my mind their religious belief that homosexuality is an immoral sin. The subject was rarely discussed on school grounds and when precocious students did mention the fact that LGBT people do exist, they were quickly silenced. So, what made me realize that everything I was taught was and is wrong? Why am I the activist I am today? Well, my mom would like to take credit for it, but who knows? Whatever the reason, I am glad that I have this overwhelming urge to help people.
When I look at the world, I do not want to see people living in fear of harassment and persecution. I cannot begin to imagine being fearful all of the time and having to be cautious each moment I am in public, due to the amount of hate that surrounds us. Although it is so cliché, I'd much rather see a world of love, peace, and security; a world in which people are accepted for who they are rather than for who they love. I hope that with the help of allies everywhere, I can change that.
Emma Toth, 16
Homestead High School - Mequon, WI