When I first realized that I’m gay and started coming to terms with who I am, started struggling toward accepting myself, I had a hard time opening up to others. I was 13 when I first started to realize this part of me that made me different from the majority and almost 15 before I finally came to fully accept myself. I didn’t fully come out until I was 21 and between the time it took me to accept myself and to fully come out, very few had the privilege of knowing who I was, of knowing about that part of me. Before I came out to my family and the rest of my friends, I was terrified that if I opened my mouth to object to the homophobic things I was hearing on an almost daily basis, then people would assume that I was gay and I would be forced to deal with the hate and ignorance that I was trying to avoid having directed at me. But I also knew that if we were going to make more progress toward gaining more acceptance, then a hell of a lot more people needed to start speaking out, those within the community and our allies alike.
Despite my fear of being found out, especially by my mother who I knew wouldn’t accept me, I began speaking out. I took up arms in the form of words and I started screaming back against the hate. I couldn’t sit back and silently watch the community that I was a part of continue to be slowly torn apart by the hatred and ignorance that still continued to try and tear each and every one of us down.
It was scary, and yes by speaking out, writing articles and making videos, I was risking having the people I wasn’t yet ready to come out to find out who I was. But taking that risk, even if it meant being kicked out of my house, was better than sitting back and silently watching the evil that is hatred and ignorance spread and slowly consume us, slowly consume the world. I started fighting despite my fear and I haven’t stopped.
But my voice is not enough. All the voices that are being heard right now, all the people who are willing to take that risk and actually stand up and fight back against the hate and ignorance, aren’t enough. This community is fighting a war and if we’re going to win, then a hell of a lot more people are going to have to start sucking it up and speaking out and fighting with us… otherwise we’re doomed to lose. We won’t go anywhere with so many people still silently hiding and watching, lying about who they are and keeping their lips sealed instead of speaking out and calling out hate and ignorance when they see it and leaving those spreading that evil to think they can get away with it, to think that they’re in the right. It’s time for the people who keep telling those of us who have already been fighting long and hard to stop telling us to keep fighting and stop telling us to do something and start standing up and fighting and doing something themselves. Those of us who have already been fighting long and hard can’t be expected to keep doing all the hard work for those who still keep themselves hidden away. If you want things to change, then you need to start standing up and fighting too.
This is your call to arms. If you want to start seeing bigger changes and longer strides in the right direction, then it’s time for you to start standing and fighting too. Your choice to remain silent will not protect you from the hate and ignorance and sooner or later the truth comes out anyway. And by being silent, you’re not just hurting yourselves, but everyone else in this community as well. If you want to see change in this world, then you can’t just stand by silently waiting for everyone else to create that change for you, you need fight for that change too; you need to be that change. You can’t keep telling me and others who have already been fighting, who have already been doing something, to fight and to do something if you yourself are not willing to stand up and fight as well. You can’t keep asking the same people who have been fighting long and hard and making sacrifices, to keep fighting and making sacrifices for you if you yourself are not willing to make sacrifices and start fighting as well.