JOSHLYN PATRICK/ IS BEING GAY NOW SAFE

BEING GAY IN THE 1980S WAS NOT SOMETHING YOU TALKED ABOUT. GAYS WERE TARGETED AND LOOKED AT AS A DANGER TO THE PLANET EARTH. GAY MEN WERE LOOKED AT AS THE CATAYLIST OF AIDS. THEY GAVE IT TO EVERYONE ELSE, WHICH IS NOT TRUE. PEOPLE COMMITTED HATE CRIMES TOWARDS ANY GAY PERSON THAT THEY DIDN’T LIKE. IN 1998, MATTHEW SHEPPARD, A JUNIOR IN COLLEGE, WAS KIDNAPPED, ROBBED, TORTURED, AND TIED TO A FENCE IN A RURAL AREA. THEN HIS ATTACKERS LEFT HIM THERE TO DIE. WHEN MATTHEW WAS DISCOVERED HOURS LATER, HE WAS IN A COMA, BUT ALIVE. A FEW DAYS LATER HE NEVER REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS, HE DIED. THEN IN 2002, GWEN ARAUJO, A TRANSGENDER WOMAN, WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS BORN INTO THE WRONG BODY, WAS BEATEN TO DEATH, AND BURIED IN THE WOODS. A STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED MARCH OF THIS YEAR, TORE ME UP INSIDE. A 15 YEAR OLD GAY BOY, NAMED LAWRENCE KING, WAS OPENLY GAY. HE LET HIS WHOLE SCHOOL KNOW. AT FIRST THE KIDS DIDN’T CARE, UNTIL HE CAME TO SCHOOL WITH HIS NAILS DONE, AND WITH EYELINER AND MASSCARA ON. THEN HE ASKED ONE OF HIS CLASSMATES, A 14 YEAR OLD BOY, TO BE HIS VALENTINE. OF COURSE THE BOY WAS OFFENDED, BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE UP FOR WHAT HE DID. THE 14 YEAR OLD SHOT LAWRENCE IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD IN THE COMPUTER ROOM. ALL OF THESE STORIES ARE ACTS OF HATE. HATRED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO JUST HAPPENED TO BE DIFFERENT. OF COURSE THE MURDERERS WERE PROSICUTED AND SENT TO JAIL, BUT THAT DOES NOT BRING BACK THESE PEOPLES LIVES. ALTHOUGH THIS LAST ATTACK HAPPENED RECENTLY, I CANT HELP BUT THINK THAT BEING GAY CAN BE SAFE IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE WORLD. ESPECIALLY AT MY SCHOOL. I GO TO BERKELEY HIGH, AND A LOT OF THE PEOPLE WHO GO TO THE SCHOOL ARE GAY. AND PEOPLE LOOK AT THEM AS IF THERE’S NOTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THEM, WHICH IS A GOOD THING. AND NOW THAT GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL, I SEE THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY LOOKING AT BEING GAY AS SOMETHING NORMAL. BUT I CAN’T SAY THAT EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT IT IN A POSITIVE WAY. THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF HOMOPHOBIC PEOPLE OUT THERE. I JUST PRAY THAT PEOPLE WILL SEE THAT YOU CAN’T HELP WHO YOU LOVE. IF YOU FOUND SOMEONE THAT YOU TRULY LOVE AND THEY LOVE YOU BACK, YOU’RE A LUCKY PERSON AND IT SHOULDN’T MATTER WHAT GENDER THEY ARE. SO TO ANSWER THE QUESTION: IS BEING GAY NOW SAFE? I DON’T KNOW. I COULD ONLY PRAY THAT PEOPLE WON’T LOOK AT ME DIFFERENTLY. AND THAT THEY WON’T LOOK AT ME AND SEE HATE.

FOR YOUTH RADIO, I’M JOSHLYN PATRICK. YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS COMMENTARY AND MORE ON THE WEB WWW.YOUTHRADIO.COM

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