LGBT rights -Zoe

I’m bisexual.

….Ah, you’ve got to love a good opening.
Anyways, that wasn’t actually a big dramatic moment. I’ve known since I was…10ish? 11ish? Decided not to come out to my family till a bit later. That happened around a year ago. It…really didn’t matter. I told my friends, who didn’t really care all that much. In the end, I’m pretty open about it. I’ve yet to make myself a cleverly slogan-ed t-shirt and wear it (although that may be coming), but when it’s relevant to a conversation I mention it. I’ve never, ever lied about it.

I know that out of all possible situations, I’m in a pretty lucky one. At some point in my young(er) years, I asked my mom why people seemed so proud to not be racist, and yet were happy to discriminate against gay people. Yeah, I was a pretty cool kid like that. Anyways, her response was basically “that people are stupid.” Not exactly in those words, but…yeah. And then LGBT issues just became the thing I followed in the news, and talked about with my friends, and what not. When I was old enough for it occur to me that A) I had a sexuality and B) it wasn’t particularly straight, I didn’t really angst. At all. It was more of an “oh, that’s cool” and then “if I say something now and it changes later, it’ll be annoying, so I’ll wait a few years” and then a “huh. I wonder what’s for dinner.”

It was easy. And all my life, I’ve had it easy. And it’s an issue that I was all prepared to stand up and yell about, except that it was so freaking easy.

Not that I was complaining. I mean, hey! Canada’s a pretty liberal place! People are pretty cool with life! What am going to do, tell people to be more prejudiced so I can fight to make them….less…prejudiced….yeah…

No. That’s stupid. Why. Would. I do that. Just no.

So  this year I organized Day of Silence for my leadership project, because hey, why not? And for the most part it was lovely. Teachers were supportive, people signed up, and it’s all just been great.

Except for the little things.
The person who told me they can’t participate because their parents would freak. The person who was interested until I explained what LGBT meant, and then rolled their eyes and walked away.  Someone telling one of the participants that if they didn’t say anything, it would be assumed that they were gay and then they couldn’t look at them anymore because ‘faggots made them sick’. One of my friends, who asked me for advice on what to say to one of their friends, because they thought they might be gay and couldn’t figure out how to make that jive with being Catholic.

(Man. The hardest thing I had to do today was peel duct tape off my mouth to eat lunch. Hurts like a @(*&^$%#$%%.)

I have it easy, because if someone has a problem with me I’m willing to let it be their problem, not mine. I’ve never been put down for who I am, I’ve never been challenged, and the few times the smallest things came up they rolled off my back.

But it’s becoming more apparent to me that even in yay-for-everyone-we-never-discriminate Canada, not everyone has that. Maybe it’s not the biggest issue compared to things like global warming or national homelessness, but you know what? Even if homophobia’s only there in little moments, from a few people, it’s still more then capable of making a different few people absolutely miserable, and I don’t understand why it ‘s even there, and the fact that it exists just pisses. me.  off.

Where is the Love? – Kelly

We all have our differences. I am a female; you might not be. I have brown hair; you might be blonde. I am very short, and you might be quite tall. But these differences are all skin deep. I love to dance, but you might like sports. I hate tomatoes, and they may be your favourite food.

One particular difference, though, has always defined me.

I am Jewish.

When I was very young, I was ecstatic to be known for this one big difference. In my elementary school in a suburb of Vancouver, my sister and I were the only Jewish kids. We did presentations about Hanukkah every year, we taught our peers about Jewish culture, and we got to pride ourselves in our differences.

It was amazing.

Then my sister went to middle school, and I was faced with the cruel reality of racism for the first time in my life. Students in my sister’s class were selected to paint banners, which were posted on the light standards around my city. My sister was asked to volunteer for this. She chose to paint a Star of David, a symbol of Judaism.

A week after the banners were unveiled, my family and I drove past the recreation centre where my sister’s was hanging.

It had a huge slash, right down the middle of the star.

Out of an entire city, Stacey’s banner was the only damaged one. It could have been a coincidence. A rock could have accidentally hit that particular poster, having nothing to do with the religious symbol displayed on it. But that wasn’t very likely.

Over the years, I have been faced with more and more racist comments. I’ve heard everything from snide remarks, to people making fun of each other for saving their money, a well known Jewish stereotype. Aside from some glares shot in the direction of the ignorant people, I try my best to hold my head high, still proudly wearing my Star of David necklace.

Somehow, though, it is a lot worse when newspaper feed into racism. There was a bus bombing in Jerusalem the other day, the first one in seven years. Although the fact that there has not been a bombing in seven years is something that Jews and Israelites are rather impressed with, the bombing still did happen.

But nobody knows what really occurred.

According to some papers, Israel fired missiles at Gaza City, causing the Palestinians to retaliate with the bomb. Others say the bomb was first, and the missiles came later in response. And the real story will probably never be confirmed.

To most of you out there, this probably isn’t a huge deal. So a bomb was dropped in Jerusalem and missiles were fired at Gaza City. Who cares? Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting forever.

But that isn’t really the issue at hand here.

Maybe Israelis fired the first missiles, or maybe Palestinians dropped the bomb first.

To me, though, what really matters is the media’s reaction. Each paper picks a side; everybody really does to a certain degree. They choose to support somebody and alienate somebody else. They choose to intentional hurt a group of people based on their differences.

And that is racism. That is prejudice. That is discrimination.

And that hurts.

It is something we all have to deal with every single day. We are all different. But we should be commended for our differences, not taught to be ashamed and offended by them. We should learn to love and accept each other for what makes us unique, not what makes us the same.

Our imperfections, our unique interests and traits and personalities and appearances are what make us special. Not good or bad or wrong or right, but special, and they give us each a different opportunity to make a difference.