Sometimes justice trumps love. Take Valentine’s Day. I spent it lobbying in Sacramento for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
I was one of seven McClymonds students who joined 3,000 students in Sacramento in a forum about LGBT rights at the 65th Model Legislature and Court of California YMCA Youth and Government.
While in Sacramento, I wrote a bill to promote acceptance of gays, bisexuals, the transgendered, and lesbians. I felt that it was time to support the LGBT, not only because I am standing up for what’s right, but also for truth and justice.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to be what they were born with,” said Shamorra Washington, a freshman. “It’s not like it’s a switch that people could simply flip to change their whole being. Why should they?”
Our group focused on notable LGBT people from President James Buchanan (our 15th president who was gay but closeted) and Laura Jane Grace, born Thomas James Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me! (transgender who has since switched genders and married).
In my group, we had a guest speaker come talk about her experiences, and she shared a personal story with us about feeling out of sorts. It was in college that that she realized she was transgender. Her upbringing in an accepting family made her less afraid of coming out.
A 2012 survey by the Human Rights Campaign of 10,000 LGBT youth aged 13-17 found that while almost all (91 percent) of LGBT teens are out to their close friends, fewer are out in school (61 percent) and out to their families (56 percent).
Those who were out at school and out to their families reported higher levels of happiness than those who weren’t.
“We are all human, so why treat each other with less respect,” said Washington. “If you want to be seen and heard, you have to set your feelings free.
As Dorothy Parker so eloquently said, “Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.” She forgot to add it is natural.
And Jean Genet said, “I like the word gay, though I think of myself as queer. I believe the strength in my work comes from that perspective -my being an outsider”.
And I have internalized what these two famous writers said: nobody should be afraid of being gay, just be who you are and love it. Now is the time to act to support LGBT youth.