05 January 2011

Treat Me Differently


It's a month of new beginnings and big plans.  People re-assess their lives and make goals based on what they're missing or what they have too much of, and what they want to see in their lives in the coming year. 

It's a new year, which for some, means that it's a new chance.  It's a chance for hope.  It's a chance to heal the past and provide a glimmer of hope for the future.  Instead of a resolution, my hope comes as a recommendation to the public at large: treat me differently.

The media will give voices to people with strong opinions.  They will tell you that I'm a threat to America and especially to marriage.  They will tell you that I have an agenda.  They will you that it is a terrible thing to be me and you should hope and pray with all your might that you will never have to know the pain that comes from being me, or being related to me.  Prominent leaders in our communities and of our nation will tell you that people like me will weaken and destroy our once proud military, and bring shame and embarrassment upon our nation.  Their first reaction is to judge.  Their reaction inspires fear, mistreatment, and hatred.  So instead of taking their word for it, treat me differently than they do.

Get to know me.  Hear my story and really listen to what I've experienced.  Know my name.  Remember my face.  Recognize that we are really more alike than we are different.  Know that I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend.  I have plans for my life and I want to be happy.  Treat me like I deserve to be happy.  Treat me like I'm your daughter, or your sister, or your friend. 

When the world tells you that I am evil, treat me differently than that.  When you hear that I had a choice and I strayed, and I insult God by living this way, treat me differently than that.  When you hear that I am somehow less important as a human being, that I am without value, morals, or feelings, treat me differently than that. 

There are some people with big and loud voices who will tell you I don't deserve to have the same rights and privileges that you do.  In doing so, they are telling you that my life is not as important as yours.  And they are sending that message to our children and our teenagers, the future of our nation and families.

Will you believe them?

Or will you treat me differently?


FindingMyWay said...

So glad to see a new post. I can't say enough how much I love this post. Can you even imagine a world where people will "treat us different than that?" That's the world in which I'd like to live. I think people are getting closer. At least I have faith that they are. Great post, Amy!!

Clive Durham said...

The process is slow, but as the old saying goes, "It's the slow millstone that grinds the finest flour." While we would all like the process of acceptance and accommodation to change over night, it's in fact by small steps that great journeys are made. We will overcome with patience and unswerving perseverance. The tide of history runs with us!

jen said...

This is a beautiful post.

A few years ago, I had the goal to start a foundation for survivors of sexual abuse. One of the big things I wanted to do was for people to see me. Really see the person that had been hurt and how it was to live in their world.

See me. Know me. Understand me.
Because if you did, you'd treat me differently.

And I think this idea is true for everyone... if we really see and understand and know a person, we will treat them with compassion. What a wonderful world that would be!

lanabanana said...

When my son came out 5 yrs ago, the most important thing I did was try to find the stories of as many LDS gay men as possible and really HEAR them, with my heart and without judgement, in an effort to better know and understand my son. That proved to be an amazing experience and leads me to where I am today, a champion of him and you and all of our gay brothers and sisters. Why? Because I now know that "they" are just like me! Something I had not taken the time to find out before. And now that I know better, I do better. Hugs to you for a wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad that you had to break the heart of your husband. I'm sure he didn't know who he was marrying. I'm glad that you've gained honesty and wonder what made you decide to get married to a man in the first place.

FindingMyWay said...

@Anonymous -

What a very simplistic mind you seem to have. While I cannot speak for Amy, I will say that I married my husband because I DIDN'T know that I was gay. I was doing what was "supposed to" happen and trying to make the most of my life. Along the journey my eyes were opened and now I'm in the process of "breaking the heart of my husband." Things are not always ideal but we do what we can, the best way we can.

Very possibly Amy's husband broke her heart a little as well? I don't know, but just maybe it didn't have everything to do with her being gay.

I personally do not know of any woman/man who has purposely married, knowing they were gay, for the soul purpose of hurting their spouse. That's absurd!

jen said...

@Anonymous - I agree with FindingMyWay. I don't know Amy's situation... I was taught that a gay person SHOULD get married. That was one of the "cures".

If I had known who I was, I wouldn't have gotten married, but I didn't know. And my marriage and my ex-husband helped me find who I was. I hope I did the same for him. (He has said I have.)

Amy asked you to see HER and treat her like a person. Your comment feels exactly the opposite.

Anonymous said...

I knew a boy who was completely infatuated with Amy. He would have done anything for her and would have tried his best to make her happy. I've wondered what would have become of him, because I KNOW he would have had his heart broken. He would not have ever done anything to displease her.

FindingMyWay said...

MY husband has NEVER done anything to displease me. Not once. He's the most amazing person I know. He has been by my side figuring out this whole gay thing. Sometimes our lives turn out differently than planned, and NOT because we've designed it that way. Don't discount for ONE SECOND that it hurts us to hurt our spouse. My husband deserves so much more than I can give him and I hope that I can let him go so that he can find a woman to fulfill him in ALL ways. This is even though he doesn't want to leave me. We love each other very much. Things just turned out to be different than "ideal." That does NOT mean a woman (me) intentionally married a man, knowing she was gay and knowing she would mess up his life or break his heart. That's absurd!!

As far as Amy goes, she's a wonderful woman. I'm sure this boy (you anonymous??) was infatuated with her. She seems to have a lot to offer. It seems like a good thing that their paths didn't cross, so he (you?) can be grateful for that. I'm sure she's grateful as well.

PLEASE STOP assuming that Amy, or any of us, deliberately married their spouse with the designs of hurting them. I'm certain that wasn't in Amy's heart. It absolutely wasn't in mine!! We're trying to do the best we can with what we're given. Problem is, sometimes our eyes aren't opened to "what we're given" until it's too late.

Again, I'm not trying to put words into Amy's mouth. I'm sharing my experience and how absurd I believe this notion is, of purposefully hurting our spouses. Give us a little more credit than that! Geeeeeeeeez.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! I didn't read the start of her blog so I didn't understand. Now I do, so okay, gollie, sorry for being so shallow. I'm really glad that Amy is happy. It is what I always wanted for her. We all stumble along the way, but I know that we can find our way. She has helped me know that in the past and I can hope that her life is wonderful now and in the future. Go JAZZ!

drakames said...

I feel slightly bad that I am only seeing these comments now, more than a year later. I don't know if any of you will see my response, but I will give it anyway.

I was blessed with the experience of marriage. It didn't work out like it was "supposed to" in the grand plan of everything, but like Jen and FindingMyWay, it helped me figure out who I was.

We both came away from our marriage broken-hearted. No one in their right mind gets married to get divorced. It was certainly never my intention. Given the pain and heartache it brought both of us, I am hopeful that neither of us will have to go through it again.

Of course, part of that for me is that I will never date or marry a man again.

I thank each of you for your thoughts. Jen and FindingMyWay, I thank you for defending me. Anonymous, whoever you are, I thank you for being willing to look back at my journey and come to some kind of understanding.

I have been and am blessed to have wonderful people in my life.