There are some things in life you just can’t change. I have never been a fan of the rainbow as a gay symbol, but it’s a cultural institution. My dislike of rainbow flags will not make them go away. Rainbows are for kids, unicorn art and a freakishly happy dude named Paul “Hungry Bear” Vasquez. With that kind of joy, he can have all the rainbows in the world.
Another thing you can’t change is being gay. Your dislike for us will not make us go away. I don’t want to tell every gay youth who is being bullied that it will get better, because I’d be lying. I’m going to tell them the truth instead: You just have to be who you are and surround yourself with people who love you and make you happy. When I came out to my mother in high school, she said it was “just a phase.” I would “grow out of it.” Well sorry mom, but I didn’t grow out of it like I did from your beautiful womb. I am still the same person, but whom I choose to love is not up for debate. Her refusal to accept that part of my life hurt, but I got over it. I made friends who do accept me, and you will too. You don’t have to come out today, just come out whenever you are ready.
Parents, please listen to your gay kids. They need your love and support because they have a complicated existence. Being young is difficult enough as it is with hormones complicating daily life. They are completely aware that they don't have full civil rights. It is so painful when rude people say, “that’s so gay” to describe something they think is dumb. So don’t make it harder for them. You might not like it or understand “why” they are gay, but you can’t flip a switch and change them. They are still the same wonderful child you cherish. After all, how would you feel if you lost them in some horrific way?
Matthew Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998)
Laurence “Larry” Fobes King, (January 13, 1993 - February 13, 2008)
Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993)
Dr. Appelbaum is a certifiable, if self-trained, doctor of love, lust and of those things often found to resemble amour. She takes your questions at email@example.com
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