They asked us to think of the person we respected the most in our lives.
Once we had that person in our thoughts they continued,
"Now, write a letter to them coming out"
My throat hitched and I felt my chin start to quiver,
One kid called out, "But I'm not gay?"
That isn't the point of the exercise, Michael.
My mother always told me when I cried my chin looked like a walnut because of the way I scrunched it up in attempt to keep from sobbing.
And in that moment I knew my chin was contorting into a nut and my eyes began to burn,
Because am I?
The constant names and ridicule, "You're a ****, you're a ****, you're a ****" spit at me like venom after I donated my hair,
The family jokes of, "So you have a boyfriend yet?"
"A girlfriend then?"
The countless times I have walked downstairs in the morning only to hear my mother say, "You look like a lesbian" and laugh because I didn't feel like putting on makeup that day.
I had spent my entire high school career terrified of the thought of being gay.
But so what?
What if I am?
Why does it feel like being gay is wrong?
The word "gay" is used as an insult time and time again.
If you're not straight then you're not normal.
We have to crush this assumption that heterosexuality is a must, that it's the norm.
The LGBTQ community needs you.
We need acceptance.
Someone should not feel threatened due to their sexuality.
That exercise, of writing a letter to your idol coming out, shouldn't even need to exist.
Coming out shouldn't be so scary, so difficult.
We need to learn and to accept one another.
We can't place such negative connotations about being gay, or trans, or pan, or bi, or anything but straight and cis into the youths head,
because then they end up terrified and confused,
just as I was.
We need to save these kids.