This is an award-winning essay written by one of my students and printed in our student paper, The Royal Purple, a couple of weeks ago. This is so top-notch that you need to read it if you missed it the first time.
Have you ever been afraid of who you are? Have you ever been afraid to let people know about yourself? Have you ever woken up afraid to go out in public? I have, and sometimes still am. Being homosexual has never been easy, and I fear it never will be. My whole life I have been picked on, I’ve been ridiculed for being open about who I am. Some days I ask myself why I let it bother me. Other days I wake up, proud for being the person I know I am.
Getting picked on and sometimes being physically hurt just for being a homosexual, sets me back on how far I’ve come over the years. Recently having a hate crime happen to me, just for wearing a t-shirt still affects me. I can’t honestly say I’m not mad at those that look down on me. I can say that I’m slowly getting more and more used to it. Just because someone’s straight doesn’t mean I go around picking on them and hurting them on a daily basis.
When’s the last time you heard someone say “That’s so gay,” I do on a daily basis. Why is it never, “that’s so straight?” I still can’t understand why people give homosexuals such a hard time, and I fear I never will truly be able to understand why. When’s the last time heterosexuals got questioned about their sexuality? When’s the last time heterosexuals got ridiculed? When’s the last time a heterosexual got punched for wearing a straight t-shirt? Some people talk about how gays have no right to say that they have a rough life, but look at it; we live day to day pushing forward in a society that’s not only open minded, but also very close minded.
Back in high school, it took up to my junior year to tell my friends, who had already known since middle school that I was a homosexual. Knowing that they still were my friend and respected me meant the world. Having a support system and people around to back me up meant more to me than anyone could imagine, I’m stubborn, but not stubborn enough to get through this constant challenge on my own. Even after getting punched, people came together and showed support. Support plays a huge role in my life, if I didn’t have people appreciate me for me I don’t know how I would have made it this far.
To me, being an openly homosexual woman has made me a stronger person in the long run. If I had the chance to go back and change who I am somehow, I wouldn’t. Sure things are rough and sure I take a lot of negativity on a daily basis, but I would never change who I am to make others more comfortable. If I had to hide my true self just for society, I would wonder the whole time why heterosexuals don’t have to hide who they are. One day I will be more comfortable in society, one day I will no longer be angry. I believe the world will turn around and realize that homosexuals are just like everyone else.
Overcoming being openly out, having fag written on my locker and said to my face, and even getting punched in the face, has done nothing but made me stronger in the long run. In the end, knowing who I am and allowing myself to be open about it, has been a rough journey all the way through. Being homosexual, to me, has been the single greatest challenge I have had to overcome in my life so far. I may get knocked down, I may have obstacles thrown at me, but I know who I am. I am Lauren Leigh Meyer, and I’m not afraid to say that I am a lesbian.