Since I was very young, I knew I was different. I was born and raised in a small town in southern West Virginia. I did not talk about girls the way other boys did. I did not like girls the way other boys did. And I could never really understand the reason until I entered 8th grade.
I sat at my computer trying to understand why I liked guys the way most guys liked girls, and I sat there trying to understand then I said it, “I am gay.” Joy surged through me for discovering why I was different. Why I did not do or want the things, others did. I had found myself and was then immediately hit with the fear of anyone else finding out. I could not share this joy because to others it was disgust. I could not go talk to the boy I liked because of the stigma. I could not tell my best friend because of the fear of betrayal. At least, this is what I was taught.
I knew what people said about LGBT people. I knew about the stories of them getting jumped in the locker rooms and stairwells. I knew that if anyone found out it would happen to me as well.
When I walked down the hallway and saw a boy and girl holding hands, I knew I could not do that. I could not kiss the person I liked, nor even talk to them for fear of discovery. The joy of understanding myself quickly dissipated to the feeling of being isolated.
It was one day at my locker that I was approach by a known anti-gay bully. After being berated for several minutes, I decided no more. At the top of my lungs I yelled, “I’m gay, and I don’t care who doesn’t like it!” The following days were a blur, but one thing still sticks with me. While sitting alone in a place I deemed safe from peering eyes a girl walked up to me. She sat down looked right at me and said, “you know, you might be proud of yourself are, but everyone else is disgusted. You might think you’ll be happy one day, but you won’t. You can’t even marry another guy.”
At the moment in my life, I felt defeated and destined to be forever alone. And at that moment I decided I would not stand for it, but to fight for equal rights.
Today the Supreme Court ruled for gay marriage. Today we have succeeded. Today is the day that we will reap the benefits of all the years of fighting. We have fought long and hard for this small but important right.
Now no matter where one lives in the U.S. they can love and marry without the two being separated. Now there will not be discrimination in one state, and acceptance in another. Now there is progress to a fight that is far from won. Now is when we show people, like that girl in my high school, we are equal. Today we say no more. Today is the day that we more forward.