by Molly Dalzell
I must have been six when I first learned what it meant to be homophobic. I probably would’ve known sooner had I not grown up in Newton. That’s one of the things I really like about where I live. Sure, not everyone is accepting, but so many people here are, I was shocked when my dad told me lots of people aren’t.
I remember I said to him, “What? That’s crazy. What’s wrong with being gay?” He said to me what almost all Newtonian parents might say.
He told me that there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but many of the beliefs out there are fear-based. That made more sense to me. People are scared. It doesn’t make them bad people, but I’ve always wished that they weren’t. I used to imagine myself, going up to every single scared person, and asking them why. Why they wouldn’t be as accepting as I was used to. Why they were so scared. The only problem with planning that out in my head was that I had absolutely no idea what they’d say. What if they give me a legitimate reason that I can’t refute?
Just recently, my uncle came out as gay. He had a wife, and three kids and a house in California. I definitely came as a shock to everyone in my family, but everyone was happy for him, myself included. It made me wonder if other families would be happy for him, scared families. And then, I didn’t feel scared at all, which isn’t often true. Although I can be pretty scared when it comes to just about everything, what my uncle did took all my fear away. He may not be society’s definition of a hero, but what he did took so much courage and faith in those he loves, and I hope it makes everyone around him feel a little less scared.