Ade (agentfroot) wrote,

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Thank you, Matthew Shepard

After dinner I went to the AGP house to help the group chalk up the walkways on campus for Coming Out Week. We wrote a bunch of sayings like "straight but not narrow," "have a gay day," "gay for humanity," (that's kind of an AGP joke now, but I think only the people on campus would understand...) etc. Jamie and I colored a big rainbow on Brooks circle. A lot of other people helped out, so now the campus is plastered with gayness. It better not rain.

Afterwards, everyone clustered in the AGP house to watch "The Laramie Project." It's a movie about the Matthew Shepard incident and the town, and it's incredibly depressing yet enlightening. I couldn't hold back tears half the time. It's just so terrible that humans are capable of such hate and aggression. Two men brutally tortured another man, tied him to a pole, and left him to die. Why? Because he was gay. And the people all had different reactions. One priest even had the nerve to say, "In the few minutes before he lost consciousness, I hope he considered his lifestyle and looked to God and bla bla bla..." (well, something like that). You know what? If I was tied to that pole, beaten, bloody, and dying, I wouldn't be thinking, "Gosh, I'm a lesbian. I'm so bad. I'm going to hell. I'm sorry." I want my last thoughts to be positive. I want to remember how I have affected the world and how I have made a difference in the lives of others. And I know I have. I wouldn't be thinking about all my "sins" (whether they're actually sins in the sense that they harmed others or myself or whether some people consider them sins) and what a terrible person I am. I want to leave this world thinking, hey, I rocked (And Josh even said "Ade just rocks!" when introducing me to someone, and that made me very happy). Anyway, back to the topic. I didn't know very much about the Matthew Shepard deal before watching the movie, but that really hit me hard. Walking back to my dorm, I just cried and cried. I know tomorrow I'll wake up and go about my day and everything will be hunky-dory, but over in Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard will still sleep. And sleep and sleep and sleep. He's been sleeping for the past 4 years now, and he'll continue to sleep for all eternity. He'll never wake up. He'll never eat another ice cream cone or watch his favorite movie or hug someone or smile or take a long, hot shower or have an orgasm or giggle uncontrollably or call his mother or prance around his room singing to his favorite song or go to an art show or hold a kitten or cry or go online or watch Spongebob Squarepants or cheer his best friend up or fart or see Barbados or open his eyes to the beauty of the world ever again. And for what reason? He liked boys. It makes me sick. But what's really moving is how people reacted. How the homecoming parade that year had a small gathering of people walking for him that multiplied into a huge crowd. How everyone is that much more aware of the reality of hate crimes and how they need to be stopped. How a group of college kids (and some faculty and others) can gather in a small room and stare at the people on tv and all have different thoughts and emotions due to a single movie. That's what's amazing. So thanks, Matt. Thanks for being gay, living your life, being an example to others, going to that bar that night, being the victim, and dying. So that the world knows that violence can happen even in small, rural towns. So that the GLBT population can unite. So that people appreciate their friends, kids, lovers, parents, dogs, barbers, teachers, second-cousin's-wife's-nephew's-friend's-roommate's-girlfriends, and everyone else that affects their lives. So that I can sleep tonight knowing that I'm not alone and I have somewhere to go if anyone ever threatens me because of my sexual orientation. Thanks, rest in peace, and I hope Summerland/Heaven/Utopia/whatever-you-call-it has a VCR so you can watch this movie and think, "Wow, I really left my mark in the world."

And that's my big speech. And since it's Coming Out Week, here's something I'd like to clarify:
I'm not straight. I don't like to label myself, but if I had to, I guess you could call me bisexual. I really don't like the term (for some reason, it reminds me of 15-year-old teenybopper girls who like experimenting sexually with multiple people at once... not that it's a bad thing, I just don't want to associate myself with that image). I like to say I have no sexual preference (I also like the term "ambisextrous" because it's funny), because I really don't. I like who I like, whether it's the guy who was in my art classes in high school (*cough*DJ*cough*) or the red-haired girl on the bus whose smile made me melt (*cough*Candace*cough*) or... um, someone whose name I dare not cough, because there's the possibility that at least one person here knows him. I'd also like to mention that I defy all stereotypes. I'm a virgin, I've never even gone out with or done anything physical past hugging to anyone of any gender, and I will NOT hit on you unless you hit on me and I like you back OR you're Spam (*giggle* it's all platonic, but we're silly like that...). I don't engage in risky behavior, flaunt my sexuality (Rainbow shoelaces don't count, even if they do carry an ulterior meaning! I LIKE rainbows, and Megan has them and she's straight and wears them because she LIKES rainbows too! So there!), or check out every good-looking female around. I can think girls are pretty without thinking of them sexually, and I can have deep, meaningful, platonic friendships with anyone I want. If I ever do have a relationship, it will be a safe, loving one, or I'll stay single. Who and what I like has nothing to do with my worth as a person, and how can someone call my sexuality a sin when I do nothing to harm anyone? One of the main rules of my religion is "do what you will, but harm none," and I haven't broken that by being who I am. Plus, it's nobody's business. As for being in the closet, the way I see it, the doors are open but I'm not leaving. I don't feel the need to tell the world, but I don't hide it as though it's my evil dark secret. Many people know, but many others don't. My family doesn't. Most of my friends and a lot of people on the campus do. I don't care who approves and who doesn't. As long as you love me for who I am, not what I like, and don't scold me for thinking one way, things will be fine. Nobody has any right to tell me I shouldn't be this way. It's nobody's business. And I don't come right out and tell people either, because they don't need to know. So why am I putting it here? Well, because it's MY journal and I can write whatever I want in it, and it's not addressed to anyone at all, even though I know those of you on my friends list are probably reading this. Plus, half of you are GLBTs anyway so you understand. If I somehow offended anyone, I'm sorry you feel this way, but this is me. ME!

Glad I got that out of my system. It feels so good to just let loose and get my thoughts out. And I know I'm a good person. I do my best to help others and help the world. I try to cheer people up when they need it and be a good friend. I try to be as nice and polite as I possibly can, because it's nice to be nice (didn't Lowly Worm say that once?). I try to love unconditionally, give what I can to the world, and spread happiness. Have I succeeded? I hope so. I know I have affected the lives of others. I'm a friend, a sister, a counselor, a daughter, that little girl people see in the cafeteria every day, a cousin, a writer, a granddaughter, an artist, a crazy midget who terrorizes tall, skinny guys with a sword (all in good fun, of course!), and most importantly, Ade. I want to give the world as much (or more) as the world has given me. I really appreciate everything that people (and animals and plants and rocks and other things) have done to keep me alive and keep me happy. I appreciate how the cafeteria workers smile, greet me, and chat with me, especially first thing in the morning when I'm groggy and don't want to go to class. I appreciate when my kitty curls up on my lap and smiles and looks so peaceful and makes me feel happy, even if she's just using me as a big squishy bed. I appreciate how my rich grandparents keep my finances up so I don't lay awake at night worrying if I'll have enough money to finish college or eat my next meal. I appreciate the trees for giving their apples to the factories so I can have apple juice 3 times a day (yes, I'm addicted, but at least it's to something safe). I appreciate the company that makes Titralac for helping me get rid of the nasty heartburn that comes with eating sloppy joes. I appreciate Bill for introducing me to reiki and healing me when I had the appendectomy infection. I appreciate Crayola for making crayons, because coloring makes me happy and keeps my inner child satisfied. I appreciate my parents for putting up with me all 19 years of my life and the 9 months when I was wreaking havoc on my mom's system. I appreciate the people at the computer lab for fixing the internet. I appreciate chickens for giving their bodies and eggs so I can have chicken sandwiches and omelettes. I appreciate Jareth the Goblin King for being sexy in a mullet. I appreciate all my friends for being there for me, making me laugh, giving me birthday presents, and making my life worth living. And most importantly, I appreciate the Lord and Lady for making sure I survived conception, gestation, birth, childhood, sicknesses, puberty, despair, high school, appendicitis, college, and everything else. The world has done so much for me, I don't know how I can possibly repay it. It's the little things that count, like recycling, hugging people, making art and writing stories people appreciate, comforting sad friends, and spreading laughter.

Wow, such a long, diverse post. And now it's time for me to sleep. Goodnight all, I love you, and I hope I've been as wonderful to you as you've been to me.

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