Willow S. Nevada

LGBT+ Rights

As a member of the LGBT community of America, I have watched this country grow and shape into something slightly less threatening, but the prospects of this new election are not very friendly either. I wish to share my thoughts and experiences as a citizen, and as a human being.

Dear Ms. or Mr. President,

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you. You are now the captain of this great big ship we call America, earned (hopefully) deservedly through years of hard work and dedication to your country. Cheers!

The question in order, however, is what type of captain you'll be. Will you be the captain that sails us around the world, or will you be the one that abandons ship when we inevitably crash into the jagged rocks of the shore. There are many issues with America, too many to deal with in a mere four to eight years. However, you can definitely make a dent in the wall between the people and equality. How you choose to use your power is your choice, and I hope you will make a good one.

I'm not here to beg you to make a change. I refuse to beg for the things that everyone should already have. I am here to present my own personal experience, and hope you can get some type of insight from it. I am a white, middle class, cis-lesbian girl from the South of Nowhere, US of A. There are many like me, and I won't make any claim to be special, but nevertheless, I wish to share my experiences.

I have been lucky enough to grow up in a fairly liberal household, so when I came out, there was no real backlash. I happened to come out only a few days before the Orlando nightclub shooting, and no LBGT+ person can deny that they didn't feel it as an almost personal attack. I still remember the fear in my grandmother's eyes as she pleaded for me to go back in the closet. She truly worried for my safety, and thought the safest thing to do was erase who I was. I was barely even a teenager, and my family was already fearing for my life.

Of course, things have gotten better. Yes, there is gay marriage, and yes, we have a lot of rights we didn't have before, and for that I am ever grateful. However, and I'm not going to name names, but a lot of people have opposed these rights. An important Republican point this election has been about gay rights. The Republican candidate has said that, if elected president, they would overturn gay marriage, take funding away from HIV research, and put it into gay-conversion therapy.

I can't even put into words how angry and scared this makes me. There are so, so many things wrong with it that I wouldn't be able to fit it into a 500 page novel, much less a simple letter. Why is it that only some people are never allowed to be happy? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the only things we are permitted, and some people don't want us to have even that. Marriage is not only a religious topic, but a legally binding contract, and it hurt so many LGBT couples in times of hurt. HIV is not only a homosexual issue, as this law would propose. Many straight people have it, and even children can be born with it. Blaming this plague on our community is preposterous and dangerous.

If you aren't an avid LGBT supporter (or repressor too, at this point,) you likely will not know what being in conversion therapy is like. To put it in very, very tame terms, the word 'therapy' is a joke, and its more equivalent to torture. Horror stories are always floating around about those places, if you listen. Tactics such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are often used, as gay teens and adults are told to act more "hetero." It's disgusting, really, the lengths some people will go to to ruin others' lives. Yet the republican party would endanger people's lives and ruin others, for the sake of discrimination. 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think hard about who and what I am. I realize that in some countries, I'd be imprisoned or killed for my love. People who've I've never met, and probably never will, hate me just for existing. People hate that little eight year old with the pigtails and overalls. People hate that dirty kneed, laughing little ten year old who just wants to hold hands and be happy. I've accepted that by now, and I won't try to change it. Hate is just born in some people, and will never die. However, I absolutely cannot stand idly by while my friends and family die from this accursed disease, or rot away on the inside while they are "converted."

So, President, sir or madam, I give my fondest regards as I tell you that we are all human beings. It's high time that someone started acting like it, and I hope you'll be able to turn the tide for the rest of the world.