The following blog is five questions I posed to my friend Sarah on LGBTQ issues.
When did you know when you were gay and how did it change you?
I never really realized I was gay until I started having feelings for my best friend when I was 15. It changed me in many ways. I was feeling things I never knew existed and I was scared of what the reality of my situation was for many years. It wasn’t until after we broke up I realized I was a lesbian and even after I figured it out I still had a hard time accepting myself for who I was.
What is it like being gay in Canada? What rights do you have that LGBT Americans don't have?
Being a lesbian in Canada is basically the same as in the United States. You cannot go anywhere holding hands with a girl walking down the street without people looking at you differently, but there are also many people who accept it. In Canada we are able to get married, have children, adopt, and we even have hospital rights, which makes me grateful I live in a country with rights, but at the same time I feel selfish that I am given rights that others are denied or killed over.
You've come out to your older brother Justin and your younger brother Connor. Was that difficult?
How do you plan to come out to the rest of your family? Coming out to my brothers wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. My youngest brother and I have conversations about my girlfriend all the time now and it’s really nice to be able to talk about it. The rest of my family I know will be supportive, or at least accepting, but telling them is the hardest part. I’m scared of what they will think of me, or how my sexual orientation will change the way they see their daughter. I still have no clue on how to tell them, so I’ll probably do what I always do...wing it.
How has our friendship affected you over time?
Well since meeting you I was straight forward. I told you I was a lesbian and I think I did it because I wanted to see your reaction. Telling you was the best decision I made. After I told you I was able to start feeling more comfortable in my own skin, going out and meeting people and being able to just be proud to be who I am. You taught me that being myself the most important thing I could ever do, and to never let anyone change me. You made me feel good about myself and without you, I probably wouldn’t have found a girlfriend, or told my brothers, and I’d still be hiding behind those closet doors.
Why do you think people judge LGBT people so much solely based on the fact that they are gay or bisexual?
I think people judge the LGBT community because they are unfamiliar with it. A person who does not have an association with someone who is gay or bisexual or transgendered can find it awkward, or wrong. Many people think it is a sin because of religious views, or even just their own values they learned growing up. Being someone who is gay, I would never push my beliefs or lifestyle onto another individual who didn’t want to accept it, but there is a line that can be crossed when someone goes from not accepting it, to abusing the person who is a part of the LGBT community. So many people will bully or abuse a child or even an adult because of their sexual orientation, because it is “wrong” but people need to realize that we are people too, regardless of gender, or sexual orientation. All we can do is keep fighting for rights and hoping that someday we will have equality, not just in the United States, but all over the world.