A daughter stands up for the right to love whomever you want

By Natalie Merante | gargoyle@flagler.edu

A year ago, I sat in a COM 101 public speaking class and listened to a girl give a speech on gay rights. She was gay and presented one the greatest arguments that I have ever heard. She asked us what we would think about people being discriminated against because of their hair color? Would that be fair?

“Uh, no,” everybody answered. Then, a girl asked about the children of homosexual parents. How growing up with “something like that” would influence them. I wanted to stand up and slap her with words. But instead I sat there in that tiny room, speechless. Absolutely speechless. I opened my mouth and no words came out. Not even the response that I keep in my back pocket.

As a 19-year-old girl with one mother and multiple fathers, I like to refer to myself as cultured. Open-minded. I didn’t know this all my life, and yes, it did take some getting used to. But I love my daddies none-the-less.

By the time that I had gotten used to the situation, I was in middle school and the teasing of my peers had me ashamed. I told nobody. At any school event, only my mom and dad were allowed. No step-parents. In hindsight, I’m a little upset that I didn’t stand up to the annoying kids that mock one another, calling each other “gay,” “faggot” and “queer.” I’m non-confrontational, and so I let that be my defense.

In high school, I had embraced my dad’s sexuality. I mean, I was one of the best dressed kids my age! I had grown much less ashamed, and much more proud. I continued to watch others bully each other with ignorance, and I occasionally stepped in.

I see others’ opinions as their own, but sometimes ignorance leaves me no choice but to politely open my big mouth and set them straight. People are dumbfounded when I stand up and give the “well, my dad’s gay, and I turned out just fine” argument. I now have it ready at all times.

The point of all of this background is that gay rights is like the new civil rights. Gay marriage is the new interracial marriage. People are presenting the same arguments for or against the issue.

People are always judging you no matter what you do and no matter who you love. Some things will never change. I’m appalled that homosexuals are still discriminated against simply based on who they love. Yet, it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s life but their own. Why does it matter to anybody what people do if it doesn’t affect your life? I hope I’m not offending anybody by this. I know that some people hate others, and those people tend to be pretty sensitive.

But find it especially hard to believe that college students aren’t more accepting of this. Isn’t college when you’re free to be who you are? To not be afraid of what people think of you?

Why people feel the need to judge, or even hate something that has absolutely nothing to do with them, absolutely blows my mind. My dad is one of the greatest people on this planet, and he deserves to love and be loved just the same as anybody else.

There are several perks to having been a kid with gay parent, but one of them is more prominent than the rest: We know love. We see what real love is. We know the kind of love we deserve, and we know not to judge people because of who they love. It’s not “choose to love.”

Love is not a choice. This is something I know to be true of everybody, no matter what their sexual orientation is.

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