One website literally has a “quiz” to find out if you are homophobic. When I saw this I automatically thought, “Are you serious?”
But then I began to think. There are so many people, including myself that have grown up with the known fact that to be gay is simply wrong. I am not saying I am homophobic or even close to it, but I have dealt with the elusive and controversial disagreement our nation still contemplates today. It all has been a culmination of religion, early parental guidance (by my own parents and family) and so much more that ultimately created a basis for my choices.
Now, however, it is more than ever, a self struggle. I’m sure most people would think, “How can that be? It should be automatic to believe people should be able to make their own choices, gay or straight. It is just. It is fair.” Society has completely evolved and I can now be looked down upon for believing that two individuals of the same sex should not be together.
I fully understand that and used to be ashamed to say I still struggled with what I “agreed” with. However, what many must understand, and I do not only speak of me, but for those who have been raised on a foundation of believing men and women are made for each other; it can be an extremely difficult task to steer away from those beliefs that have been embedded in your mind since birth.
Through my years of higher education I have been able to think and question whether those beliefs really are valid. With the help of critically thinking about such a controversial topic, I then tried putting myself in the shoes of a gay individual. I started realizing that what I really was doing was discriminating.
I never was able to see this side of discrimination because I was so used to the habitual racial discrimination that I felt was so much more common.
The turning point of my ideas was the moment I went to Brasil. I left to study at a university in the most southern state for six months. Among my first week of classes, everyone was interested in the new American girl.
I eventually met a girl by the name of Bruna. She sat behind me and introduced herself by also stating she spoke some English and had visited the US when she was younger. Over the course of about three weeks and getting to know her, she hesitantly admitted being gay, yet surprisingly not one thing bothered me nor steered me away from befriending her despite her sexual preference. I was open to her lifestyle and if that is how she was, it didn’t really matter.
Throughout my stay in Brasil, she was one of the most interesting, beautiful people I had ever met. I hung out with her and her family numerous times. I met her girlfriend and the rest of her friend group, who also were gay.
I had never fully immersed myself into something I didn’t agree with. I was able to see the beauty of her inside and out. We became extremely close after the course of only 4 months, but I realized how much I loved her as a friend despite her being gay.
She completely opened my eyes and made me seriously question what I was even thinking when I disagreed with homosexuality. Here was an wonderful person that taught me so much—a person that I would feel ashamed if she even knew that I questioned whether homosexuality was right.
It was a state of confusion, yet at the same time an epiphany. I then began to question if my mind had just never developed to stray away from a belief that seemed so ancient. However, I then wondered if my own religion was right, especially regarding the demographics of only men and women can have children. If homosexuals could not birth a child, then it was wrong, right?
More so, I encountered a turning point that allowed me to open my eyes and understand both sides of the spectrum. Despite the struggle, I have been able to progress and allow the justification and reasoning for both.
Although I have not fully come to a conclusion, I have realized that coming to a conclusion really isn’t the biggest issue of it all. What matters is being open and due diligent to the opposing side. One person may have his/her reasoning while the other might have equally good reasoning. I believe to listen and learn is to grow and progress.