Peer Review by HelpMe512 (United States)

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sincerely, a struggling teenager

By: pineapples

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Transphobic Homophobic Racist,

I come with a white flag, not a rainbow one. Our disagreement does not mean we cannot have a civil conversation. I implore you to hear what I have to say. 

I want to meet you. Peacefully. I want you to look me in my teenage eyes and tell me I am immoral. Tell me I am gross. Tell me I am wrong or brainwashed. Tell me that, after only fifteen short years of my life, a god I do not believe in has already condemned me to the fiery pits of hell. 

I do not want you to see my black hair or skin that is "yellow" to you. I want you to look into my eyes. Move past my eyes if you see the stereotypical almond shape, please. I want you to see me. The eyes are a window to the soul. And I want you to see my soul. 

I want you to try something. If you go to a pride celebration toting your "God Hates Gays" sign, I don't want you to look on the celebration-goers and jeer at the group, making generalizations about "effeminate men" or f*gs or d*kes or "brainwashed kids."

Instead, I want you to look at him.
Look at that transgender man who suffered from abusive parents and has survived multiple attempts on his life. I want you to look at him in his tired, weary and only twenty year old eyes and jeer at him and tell him he deserves to die.
Look at the gay senior who has lived through some of the worst times to be a gay man and has still somehow made it out alive with a loving partner at his side. I want you to look at him and jeer and tell him he deserves to go to hell for fighting for his life against injustices and coming out scratched and bruised and with a husband. 

I want you to look at her.
I want you to look at the lesbian who defied her family and ran away from home at sixteen because she couldn't live there anymore. Because her parents told her they didn't love her. I want you to look at her pain and jeer and tell her she is wrong.
Look at the black transgender bisexual woman who has to suffer every day of her life, hoping it isn't her last. I want you to look her straight in the eye and notice the pain and the fear. I want you to look at her and jeer at her, ignoring her pain. Jeer at her fear. Jeer at someone who fears for their life just by stepping outside. Now tell me. Why?

I want you to look at them.
Yes. Them. I want you to look at the fifteen year old genderfluid asexual high school student and look into their eyes and see the fires burning within. I want you to see the bullies. I want you to see their world of pain. I want you to see all of the teachers who've turned their backs to them. All of their former friends who left because they wanted to be truer to themself. I want you to jeer at them and tell them they are wrong about themself - that they are a man and that men need to have sex, and that asexuality is an excuse for not getting the ladies. 

Can you really do that? Can you still attack us, knowing that we are not one group, but a collection of lives. Unique stories. Tragic and sad. Disowned and loved. Denied and accepted. All bound together by the fact that we have to find the strength in ourselves to be proud of who we are. We have to find the strength within ourselves to allow ourselves to be different. We have to find the strength in ourselves to move past the ones who left us because of who we were or who we loved. Do you want to spread hate more than you want to see love? 

What are you really doing? Why are you spreading hate around the world when you could be learning to love? 

I want you to look me in my eyes once more and not see a gay trans Asian teenager. I want you to see me. I want you to see everything. Gay. Trans. Asian. Mostly closeted. But most importantly, I want you to see my desires. My triumphs. My defeats. My goals in life. My ambition. My need for acceptance. The fiery rage from not being accepted. And the foggy sadness that never lifts because people think I am wrong. I want you to look at my entire life and realize that you might be ruining a life. You might be crushing my dreams to dust. You might be burning my goals to fine ashes that could blow away with the slightest wind. 

You've seen me. My dreams. My past. My present. Am I still just a gay and confused and brainwashed kid at a pride parade to you? 

I want you to understand that your hate leaves trails of destruction in its wake. Be it outright violence or mind-shattering internal homophobia, hate leaves a mark no matter what. 

I hope you've seen my side. I hope you realize our lives are not a political agenda. We just want to get on with our lives. Because we have lives separate from our gender or the people we love.

I still believe you can change. I am holding onto the hope that you can see and understand what I am saying. Should I have faith in you? You tell me. 

A struggling teenager who wants to be able to look forward to the future.

Peer Review

The very first line, "Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Transphobic Homophobic Racist" because I got an idea of what the letter would be about, and I obviously and very interested in issues about equality like this piece discusses.

I highlighted most of those places. Mostly it was just grammar and formatting, but some parts I felt like could be deepened if you explained the fear. Like you said that the black, transgender, bisexual woman would fear going outside, but you didn't really say why. It would make more of an impact on the reader if you described in excruciating detail why we're so afraid.

1. What are some of the goals you have that you mention in the end?
2. Why should we have to be afraid?
3. Could you provide examples on all the good parts about LGBTQ+ people too instead of just examples on how they're afraid?

This was really amazing. I loved almost everything about it, and I especially loved the little mini-stories and how there was so much representation there (I'm biased because ace never gets representation lol). Your words were so powerful, and they really hit me at my core. Just incredible.

Reviewer Comments

Good luck in the competition! I can really see this one placing!