When did you decide you were attracted to the sex you are attracted to today? What caused you to be attracted to that sex? What made you express yourself as the gender you express yourself as today?
Attempting to answer those questions is almost impossible in a casual conversation. Lady Gaga would respond with baby I was born this way, but to some people that’s too hard to understand.
Understanding, accepting, and tolerating are three basic qualities that not everyone has. To understand one must be educated. To be accepting one must keep an open mind. To be tolerant one must allow the existence of behaviors even if one does not agree with them.
It is the Ally Training Program here at Siena that teaches us to be tolerant, accepting, and to understand those who are part of the LGBTQ community.
Just as a person is born a heterosexual, a person is born a homosexual. But for some reason a person who is a homosexual is not accepted as easily as a person who is born heterosexual is. Same goes for those who identify themselves as transsexual or bisexual. Why is that?
Well, it’s easy to blame society, right? Media isn’t always very accepting of those who don’t meet the social norm. There are very important gender roles everyone is expected to obtain, right?
The power of the individual is very much underestimated, especially next to the vast societal outlook. But at the Ally Training Session, they preached about the importance of an individual as an active bystander. Anybody can be a bystander, but an active bystander facilitates a positive change.
I get it; calling your friend a faggot is so funny. But do you actually know what a faggot is? It’s a bundle of sticks used to start a fire. Still funny? In the Middle Ages, when witches were brunt to death at a stake, the homosexuals were thrown into fires. They were not worth the stake and were just thrown into the fire “with the other faggots.” Probably not as funny anymore now that you actually understand what a faggot is historically.
No one expects you to completely understand what a member of the LGBTQ community is going through living in a society where they are out casted and ridiculed. But what you are expected to do, at the very least is to tolerate those in the LGBTQ community. By tolerate I mean to simply accept everything and everyone, even if you don’t agree with what they are or what they chose to be. Live and let live.
Understand that those classmates of yours who identify themselves as LGBT have higher risks of suffering from anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Understand that even the littlest thing like an orientation game where you have to answer a question as simple as “who is your celebrity crush?” can make them feel uncomfortable. Educate yourself about sexual orientation and what the experience is for LGBTQ persons in this country. Educate yourself on the laws, policies, and practices and how they affect the LGBTQ community. But as Socrates once said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
Keep an open mind. Understand that there are differences in everyone that make every person unique. Be inclusive. Be tolerant. Be an active bystander so that next time, when you hear your friend call someone a faggot, you can tell him or her how wrong they actually are.