Author’s Note: This is yet another assignment from my Sociology class. Last week, we dealt with race and sexual orientation discrimination.
I am queer. I am bisexual . I came out on September 23, 2013. I was 25 years old, and terrified. I began noticing my attraction to both girls and boys at 8 years old. I equally had crushes on my friend Jessica and my classmate David in third grade. While I heavily personally identified with Ariel, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin FASCINATED little me. As I grew up, I had crushes on other girls, but hid it, always. Growing up, I had no concept of anything being “in between” gay and straight. I didn’t even hear the words “bisexual” or “queer” until 19. Even then, I wouldn’t be ready to come out for several years. I grew up in a Pentecostal Christian household, where being anything but straight was preached about from the pulpit every Sunday as if it was an express ticket to Hell. This was incredibly confusing to me. The LGBTQ kids I knew as a teenager loved God and were confused as to why their faith communities had such overt disdain and outright hatred for them.
Unsurprisingly, that disdain and hatred is anything but new. Historically, being LGBTQ+ has been seen as “abnormal, unnatural, sinful”, and a host of other labels meant to shame, other, and ostracize people. Lesbians and gay men were rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps in the 1940’s during World War 2. Peter Seel was carted off to a concentration camp on May 13, 1941, for the crime of being gay in France. He was tortured, imprisoned, and forced to watch his boyfriend be mauled by dogs. All of this happened while he was still a teenager. (Carlo, 2022). Horrifically, gay men were not freed from the camps when they were liberated. Instead, imprisoned gay men were forced to finish their sentences as the Nazi-era homophobic laws stayed on the books even after the war. To further add insult to injury, these atrocities were largely erased from Holocaust history until recently (Carlo, 2022). Over the years, LGBTQ individuals have continued to face discrimination ins every area of life. In the 1960’s, LGBTQ people would secretly gather in clubs and bars where they felt safe and could be themselves. Police would regularly raid LGBTQ spaces and arrest, harass, and assault queer patrons. On June 28, 1969, the NYPD came to Stonewall Inn to raid the bar, and patrons had finally had enough. The revolution that began that night was the beginning of the “gay liberation movement”. We’ve come a long way since then. Even still, people still regularly lose jobs, face housing discrimination, and more because of being who they are. When I came out, I lost friends. People who adored me when they thought I was straight, suddenly hated me. My mother asked me if I was still a Christian. I feel called to adopt, but I worry about ableist and homophobic discrimination when I am ready to begin that process.
Carlo, Andrea, (2022). How LGBTQ Victims Were Erased from Holocaust History. www.time.com https://time.com/5953047/lgbtq-holocaust-stories/