Photo via @boucli on Twenty20
Love is love, and that will never change for me. June is known as Pride month. The older I’ve gotten the more compassionate, understanding and accepting I have become of the LGBTQ+ community. "Coming out" in 2017 is easier compared to how it used to be, but there are people who still struggle with it. It's heartbreaking to know that you have to hide your soul from the world, but we still live in a world where not everyone is accepting. We all have family, friends and coworkers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer. I hope anyone reading this, whether you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, or straight, or however you want to identify yourself as, understands that love is a beautiful force in this world. I hope anyone reading this gets the courage to be who they really are, and even though I might be a stranger writing this article, know that you aren’t alone.
Growing up in a Christian household, the topic of being gay was not spoken about. The older I’ve gotten I’ve met friends who are gay, and I wanted to get a greater understanding of how they got to that point. I wanted to hear their stories of triumph and struggles because I know it was not easy to come out for some of them. In high school I had two close friends who identified themselves as a gay man, and later found out my other friend was transgender. I was happy to hear this because they were still my friend, but now they were free to continue to grow as people. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is no matter what your religion or personal beliefs are, you should treat every human being with respect and kindness. The fact that you belong to the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t change my opinion about you, and it never will.
The first thing is learning to listen. Within the LGBTQ+ community, there are higher suicide and attempt rates, when compared to the general public. Most people just need someone to pour their heart out to. They need someone to not turn their back on them when making a life changing decision for their personal happiness. They need their loved ones to not abandon them in the hardest time of their life. They just need love and reassurance that their choices are not mistakes or a phase they are going through. They need to know they aren’t alone because many feel that suicide is the only way out. We can help to lower the rates of suicide when we start to be kind and compassionate.
Taiwan is the first Asian country to accept gay marriage. This is progress for the world and for happiness for everyone. As a society we need to continue moving forward. We all have the right to marry the person we love. Your gender or how you identify yourself should not be an issue, because love doesn’t see gender; love sees the soul of another human being.