How the other half loves

Kat Hallee, Executive Features Editor

Sophomores Jazz Conde and Kat Hallee go bowling to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I have been with my significant other for quite a few months now, nearly a year. We’ve gone bowling, we’ve cliff dived, danced on a riverbank, toured ice castles, went to a concert, and even just hung out at each others’ house.

For months we’ve spent countless hours talking and laughing about stupid jokes nobody else could ever understand. We tell each other everything without exception and have gotten to know each other better than most others. We fell in love.

Our story is unique and special to us because we’ve put in the time to make it our own. We built a relationship off of a friendship. We’re best friends.

Doesn’t that sound like a great relationship?

Well, it is, but not everyone thinks so.

Because my girlfriend and I are both girls.

My relationship and love, just like any other homosexual couple, is real. It is equally as real as any heterosexual couple roaming the halls of LHS, which there are definitely plenty of.

LHS is mostly a very welcoming environment to the LGBTQ community, but that doesn’t make its halls void of judgement or prejudice. I’ll be holding hands with my girlfriend and get looks or stares and even sometimes people going out of their way to not graze my shoulder as we pass through the busy lobby.

Stories still rise of people in the community being ridiculed on their sexual orientation and it isn’t fair. Nobody chooses to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or however they choose to identify.

It’s not a choice we make that we can change on a whim.

This is something that you learn about yourself as you grow, not something that changes each time your head lifts off your pillow in the morning. It often takes time and acceptance with yourself.

Three years ago I called my best friend crying as I confessed my bisexuality for the first time. It took so long to be able to look into the mirror and tell myself that I’m no different than I was the day prior, only just a little more honest.

Now I’m officially out as a lesbian and I’ve learned not to care who knows or what opinions people may have. Each individual is entitled to their own opinion on homosexuality, but it doesn’t give them the right to be rude about it to people trying to live their lives honestly.

It’s hard enough to be able to admit to yourself that you feel a different way, we don’t need the fear and disgust of others to ram it home. We know who we are and if who we are is being in love with someone of the same gender, then that’s how we will love.

When others react to a homosexual couple in a negative way, it’s most likely for one of three reasons.

One: their religion or beliefs don’t condone homosexuality. If it’s religious beliefs that lead you away then that’s okay. We can’t make you change your system of beliefs, but we have our own beliefs and would like you to respect ours by not demeaning us with hateful words and slurs.

Two: people who are uninformed or have had very little exposure to people in the community. These people assume that since we are different from them, we must be the ones in the wrong. But nobody is wrong. If you’re uninformed, read about the experiences of LGBTQ individuals who have gone through the effort of putting themselves out there for the world to see. Try to talk to somebody in the community who can tell you about their story. Just be open-minded and learn more about what you don’t know before you judge us so harshly.

Finally, three: those who just don’t understand how two people of the same gender can be attracted to one another. I can’t explain how it came to be that I was attracted to women, but I can say that it’s a part of who I am and I can’t change it. We can respect that some people just won’t ever be able to understand and that’s fine. The only time it is no longer fine is when we are disregarded as being human because you don’t agree with our lifestyle.

We still have feelings and emotions that cause us to make either the best choices of our lives or the worst mistakes we’ve ever made. We still have hearts that beat and supply blood and oxygen to our bodies just as everyone else does. We can laugh with our friends, go swimming in the summer, drive around the town, or go to the mall like any other person can. Our only difference is who we love.

Every human has the ability to fall in love. They find the one person who can make them the happiest in the world. Someone who was the last missing piece to the jigsaw puzzle they’ve been constructing their whole lives. Someone they can bowl with, cliff dive with, dance with, tour with, go to a concert with, or even just hang out at home with.

We’ve fallen in love too. We found the person that can be all of this and more. We just want to play the cards that we’ve been dealt and hope that people who discriminate can do the same.

I won’t ask you to agree with everything about the community. I won’t ask you to support it. All I ask is that you tolerate it. Who a person loves doesn’t matter, it is their own business and nobody else’s. Let them love the way they want to love and they’ll do the same for you.

So no more dirty stares or dodging down the hall or calling homosexuals absurdly derogatory slurs, let us live our lives like the human beings we are. Everyone deserves the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let me pursue my happiness in peace.