Dbf0bb93aee7d4b5c37ef6e0cf218cef

N.

United States

~snek~
That anxiety you get when Jeopardy plays at a different time while you're on vacation? That's me.
But in all reality:
LGBT+
INTJ-A
Bookworm
Angry student
Artist
Math Robot
Swimmer
Lifeguard
Dogs!
"Nevertheless, she persisted."

Message to Readers

Republishing this after some edits because I feel it's an important message. Due to this, I can only put very limited information about Leelah in the piece; If you'd like to know more about her story, I suggest you look her up online. There's even a law named after her!
***Note: I do not mean to offend anybody with this piece. I ask that each and every one of us on this site respects each other's rights to the First Amendment and freedom of speech. If you don't support it, you don't have to read. :)
I'm open to debating, as long as everyone is able to remain civil and respectful.

Not a Proxy

June 17, 2019

FREE WRITING

10
Here's a public service announcement: don't hide behind religion to justify your beliefs.

If you're sensitive, I advise you turn back now. I am openly crying as I write this and if you're not sure you can handle heavy topics, then I'd rather you don't try.

About fifteen minutes prior to this piece's creation, I educated myself on the story of Leelah Alcorn, a young lady I hadn't known about until today.

For those of you who don't know, Leelah Alcorn was a transgender girl from Ohio. Near the end of 2014, her story ended at the hands of a semi-truck on I-71. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Before I get into everything else, I just want the reader to take a moment of silence to think about that. She was 17 at the time of her death. 17. She was only able to drive for a year. She never got to graduate. She never got to hear the greatest musical hits of 2018. She never got to see gay marriage legalized in all 50 states in 2015.

It is so, so incredibly unfair.

As I reflect after learning her story, I count myself lucky to have any support system at all, for Leelah Alcorn had no one to cheer her on when things got bad. Her parents rejected her identity, isolated her from her friends, and forced her into conversion therapy, all in the name of religion.

Earlier in the day, I saw similar arguments made about homosexuality, in which disputers used the Bible to condemn homosexual love and describe it as a sin.

As I've stated before in other pieces, I am indeed a Christian (Catholic, in fact) and I am indeed gay. I do not see the Bible as a valid source to justify anything pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community unless it's the golden rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated.

Throughout my years of religious education, the main takeaway has been this: the responsibility of a Christian is to love others, serve others, care for others. It is not our job to condemn, nor is it to spread hate. We are all humans on Earth, here to look put for ourselves and our fellow humans.

But let's dissect the Bible for a second, and let's not forget the fact that the modern translations of the Bible (King James, English Standard, New International, etc.) are simply a handful of stories plucked from a sea of interpretations and stories from thousands of ancient authors. They are, in fact, stories that were deemed "convenient" by the Pope at the time. And, because humans aren't perfect (and definitely not immortal), it is impossible to tell the exact meaning/tone of words and phrases used within the texts.

So really, who knows for sure what God intended? As for my own interpretations, I think They just want us to live and let be. Care for each other, care for the Earth.

I want something to be clear: I respect religion, and I respect the freedom to practice whatever religion/no religion as one pleases in the United States. And when I say I respect it, I mean it. Because freedom of religion does not mean freedom of branch of Christianity, it means religion. Judaism, Islam, Wicca, atheism... the list goes on. I practice my religion, you practice yours.

That means no one has the right to force their beliefs upon another. Does that make sense? Because some days, it seems to go over people's heads.

I have my religious beliefs. I don't feel the need to spread them like wildfire. I don't feel the need to convert people. I don't feel that my beliefs are the only right beliefs.

If my point is unclear, it is this: yes, you may believe that homosexuality is wrong because of your interpretation of your holy book. But that does not give you the right to harass gay individuals, regardless of their relation to you. Yes, you may believe that identifying as transgender is wrong because of your interpretation of a holy book. But that does not give you the right to harass transgender individuals, regardless of their relation to you.

Because, quite simply, we don't have to conform to your beliefs. That's the beauty of America.

However, it saddens me to see my religion broadcasted as a self-righteous, homophobic cohort. I hate to hear citizens' laments about the loss of "godly" men and women after my city painted downtown with pride flags for June. It makes me mad to know I can't hold my crush's hand because she's scared of what her parents will do if she does.

Because that is not my religion, and that is not my God. My God loves everyone, regardless of who fills our hearts. After all, They created us to be our own unique, authentic selves, did They not?

Leelah Alcorn, I wish I could have been your support system. I wish I had known you were from Ohio. I wish we could have talked over the phone for hours, wish we could have followed each other on social media, wish we could have texted stupid memes to each other at 2 in the morning, because sometimes it's those moments that make someone's universe whole again.

This one's for you, Leelah. If only you were here to read it.

Happy Pride, Write the World.
 
Matthew 7:12

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8 Comments
  • Lottie McCallum

    Thank you, I really don't know what to say. All I can is, we are all equal in my God's eyes, He made you the way you are and that's okay, we cannot discriminate.

    RIP Leelah, may your spirit be protected at the Gates of Heaven with God's comforting arm.


    about 1 month ago
  • Samina

    I really appreciate this peace. It is very touching.


    2 months ago
  • N.

    I'm not sure I understand? When I say religion isn't a proxy, I mean something that stands for acceptance and love shouldn't be used to justify hate. It's not the same as not being open about who you are, if that's what you thought. I think religion can be a comforting rock in life, and there's nothing wrong with that. But don't say you're stupid, because you're most certainly not. If you're ever having trouble, I'm always here to lend an ear :)


    2 months ago
  • WhiteDSA

    I dont have a choice, :'( Mine is by force, I'm stupid and ashamed. My religion is smart, wise. yet I'm stupid. I have too much pressure and I'm forced to hide behind religion, but I do miserably anyway, so theres no difference.


    2 months ago
  • the.incredible.ben

    I read about her! It's so sad that this happens to people. I heard that her parents pretended it was an accident and not a suicide. Stories like these make me scared to come out. I completely agree.


    2 months ago
  • N.

    Thank you for the support! :)


    2 months ago
  • Kess

    Thank you so much for writing this! I strongly relate to your beliefs mentioned in this piece, and it's wonderful to know I have an ally. I know it takes a lot of thought to write something like this, so kudos to you for putting it out there and expressing yourself. Happy writing!


    2 months ago
  • Lovegood_24

    Just wanted to let you know I really appreciate this piece.


    2 months ago