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Putting the Hate on the Other Foot: A Deeper Look into the Homosexual Experience

Updated on June 7, 2016
Chaunice Benton profile image

Chaunice Benton, born and raised in New York City, always knew she had to use her voice to make a difference in the world -- and she is.

Changing the Perspective

Scrolling down my Facebook feed, I came across a post that I was not expecting to see on an early Thursday morning. Having been fleshed out by the countless adorably dressed baby and 'Get Free Stuff' posts, I was curious to see why this post stood out from the rest. This post was a video entitled "Love is All You Need". At first, I assumed this to be a romantic proposal video that would lead to tears of jealousy to fall from my face. After clicking on the link, I soon realized that this video was far from my assumption but that tears would indeed be an end result.

"Love is All You Need" by Kim Rocco Shields is a short film which focuses on societal role reversal; marking Homosexuality as the norm and Heterosexuality as a sin. This film focuses on the highly controversial issue of human and equal rights in the LGBTQ Community and also raises awareness to the obstacles that this community faces. "Love is All You Need" completely switches the gender norms of having a two-parent household, extra-curricular activities, fashion choices, and occupations. What is important about this short film is that it is primarily centered around a child and their experiences. Homosexuality, like Heterosexuality, is explored greatly in grade school when hormones start to kick in. The downfall of that is homosexual behaviors in children are not accepted like heterosexual behaviors, causing them to be made fun of and treated as outcasts.

I began watching "Love is All You Need" and no more than five minutes into it, I began to cry. The main character, Ashley, realized her attraction to a male character and immediately felt dirty. Having been raised in a strictly catholic household, Ashley was taught to only have romantic feelings for other women. Throughout the short film, Ashley gets ridiculed for her romantic feelings for a male classmate by schoolmates and her family, which results in a tragic ending.

Please watch the 20-minute film "Love is All You Need" below and take in to account how you would feel if the tables were turned.

It only takes one experience to turn sympathy into empathy.

Love is All You Need

Did "Love is All You Need" Give You A Better Understanding of What the Homosexual Community Experiences?

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Our Sad Reality

Alexander Betts Jr., a 16 year old California teen who attempted suicide on July 27th, 2013 and died in the hospital shortly after, was outed by his classmates. Alexander was made fun of not only for being gay, but for having a cleft lip and for being mixed-raced. As if the trauma of losing a child to bullying wasn't harsh enough Alexander's mother, Sheryl Moore, attempted to donate her son's organs as he requested six-months prior to his death. Ms. Moore was shocked to learn in the Summer of 2014 that her son's eyes were rejected because they came from a 'gay boy'. “My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn't understand why my son’s eyes couldn't be donated just because he was gay (The Washington Post).” The Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for donor eligibility states that "men who have had sex with men in the past five years should be ruled as ineligible for donating certain tissues, labeling their behavior a risk factor.” The "risk factor" that is being referred to stems from the start of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1970s. Though research has shown us that gay men are not responsible for the AIDS outbreak across the world, stigmas such as those remain perceptible.

Alexander's tragic story is not unlike many others.

Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year old self-proclaimed activist for anti-bullying made the below video as part of the It Gets Better project, a campaign that was started in September 2010 by Dan Savage and Terry Miller. The It Gets Better project was created to provide hope and support to bullied teenagers across the world. As you will hear Jamey say in his video, “All you have to do is hold your head up and you’ll go far...Just love yourself and you’re set… It gets better.”

Unfortunately, the struggles of having to experience gay bashing and bullying on a recurring basis became unbearable for Jamey, who was found dead by his sister in September 2011, less than a year after posting his video. Jamey received a monstrous amount of backlash after posting his It Gets Better video. Comments such as, "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it : ) It would make everyone WAY more happier! " were left on Jamey's social media profiles.

For a child who felt so passionately about fighting the hatred to succumb to nasty taunts from his peers shows us that we are only human; we all have our limits."Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break," stated Dan Savage, co-founder of It Gets Better.

Alexander and Jamey are just two of way too many cases of homosexual youth suicide. A reported 1 in 5 homosexual youth commit suicide due to bullying. Sadly, that rate is becoming higher as intolerance continues to grow.

It Gets Better, I Promise!

3 Ways to Stay in the Loop with Your Child's Internet Life

  • Keep computers in the living room.
  • Go over your child’s friends and/or followers list on social media. Ask them what their relationship with each person is. Reassure them that they are not in trouble.
  • Have a clear, supportive discussion about Cyber-Bullying.

To prevent your child from being cyber-bullied or from cyber-bullying, keep the lines of communication open. You'll never know if you never ask.

Is Empathy Obtainable?

A question I continue to ask myself when I hear about human beings not following the 'Golden Rule' of treating others how you wish to be treated is, "Do these people just not care about anyone else but themselves?" Piaget forewarned us that children of a certain age would experience Egocentrism; but at what age does that phase end? If ignorance stems from fear, how do we rid ourselves of fear? What are we even afraid of?

To prevent the skyrocketing rate of children getting bullied to grow any higher, we must start putting ourselves in the shoes of others. This is not to say that homosexual children are the only children getting bullied in school or at home. We must pay attention to all of the signs in all children to hopefully prevent them from taking their own lives or others'.

This issue is way too broad to be discussed in a single article, so I prompt you all to continue the discussion with your friends and families.

To Write Love on Her Arms is an organization that promotes awareness for self-inflicted harm in youth. To Write Love on Her Arms day is March 1st.
To Write Love on Her Arms is an organization that promotes awareness for self-inflicted harm in youth. To Write Love on Her Arms day is March 1st. | Source

September 8-13 is World Bullying & Suicide Prevention Week!

That's right!

September 8th-13th is World Bullying & Suicide Prevention week, which was created to promote awareness for mental health. To celebrate or show support for the cause, wear purple throughout the week. The Purple Ribbon shows support for the LGBTQ Community, prevention of hate-crime, bullying and suicide prevention. September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day, which is a single day within the week that is centered around remembering those who have taken their lives and to continue to promote awareness. Over 3,000 people nationwide commit suicide on a daily basis. Let's spread the word and do our best, as one society, to bring that number down.

On September 10th of every year, show support to your fellow man. Let's move towards a brighter, happier future...together.

Place yourself in someone else's shoes.

Comments

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thought provoking hub. Great job!

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      Thank you so much, missirupp! You have no idea what that means to me.

    • profile image

      missirupp 

      3 years ago

      Very good hub. Rest assured you have helped someone today and you may never know them.

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 

      3 years ago from New Zealand

      Kev - that's all one could ask - that you thought about it in relation to your own life or family - what if it was your daughter etc? I think that people forget that it could so easily be one of their own that is struggling, being bullied etc.

      Thank you for giving it some thought

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      Kevin,

      I appreciate your comments. I think we have reached Empathy :) I do agree that the situation could be handle better. Conversations need to be had & personal change must occur. A conversation btwn you & your daughter one day could be a great start.

    • profile image

      Kevdontwork 

      3 years ago

      Just like to say thanks for the post, I have made an account to reply and it's made me look into things a lot more, I'm sitting just now,thinking?,what if it was my daughter ?

      Kevin.

    • profile image

      Kevdontwork 

      3 years ago

      I am not trying to smear your work, You can wright better than I can. Sorry if I have offended anyone, I don't have an issue with gay folk, I think nowadays everybody knows someone who's gay, the thing that was getting me is the way it's in your face, The subject could be handled a lot better.

      I do feel for the girl who killed herself, it must be a terrible feeling for kids to go through. This is how the right services should be in place to help people going through ,what they think is a bad time in there life.

      Kevin.

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      You're right that homosexual individuals are not the only ones being discriminated against. I believe I stated that exact thing in my last paragraph. It seems to me that you're still harboring feelings on the issue you explained that happened in your country; and that's okay. You seem very passionate about your views and I would love it if you took your own advice & not separate humans because we all face some sort of discrimination.

      To refer to the short film as "stupid" is completely disrespectful & hypocrotical. If this partocular issue is not something that you personally care to "make a fuss about" then, again, you have every single right not to do so. But, I repeat, do not request a change of topic because you don't agree or however you may feel.

      Life has alotted us MANY fortunes & advantages in past years and one of the most important ones in my opinion is Freedom of Speech. So, I accept your views & I do not judge them. However, what I am not a fan of is your nay-saying & displacement of empathy towards my hub. Respect my views & respect yourself enough not to smear your prejudice on other people's work.

      Have a great weekend, Kevin.

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      3 years ago

      Yes I know it's a US issue and I am sorry if I offended anyone, I know that this is the world we live in. The thing that got me , I live in glasgow and it's as if people of same sexy are kissing all the time on T.V, constantly.

      We held the commonwealth games and there was a big fuss from the news papers complaining about 40 something other commonwealth countries because they all ban and make it illegal to be homosexual.

      What people need to remember is that it used to be illegal in the UK also. You should have seen the state of the way people where acting, it was terrible,folks where wanting our politicians to send a message to all the countries that make it illegal to be gay, to tell them there policy's are wrong,

      We'll that wasn't going to happen,so what the organisers of the games done was put John Barrowmen on for the opener of the games on TV Kissing a man, it was embarising it was like a kid throwing his dummy out the pram. Just because the politicians wouldn't send the message.

      Other countries will accept homosexuals in there own time,we don't have to tell them that they have got it wrong just because UK changed our laws.

      I don't see gay people as any different we are all human and life is very precious but there is hundreds of people out there getting discriminated not just gay people, sometimes it's just to much in your face ,on TV and stuff , there's more important stuff in the wold to be making a fuss about.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Thank you for this hub. It saddens me to know that so much needless hatred, discrimination and prejudice still exists. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for gay children in this society.

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      Kevin, I am in no way suggesting that the WORLD change their views. I simply stated that empathy (understanding by personal experience & relation) is more effective than sympathy (noticing pain in others & sharing your best regards). "People like me" don't see this topic as 'a gay issue' but an US issue - Hence the title. If you choose not to see this subject as your issue, you have every right not to do so. But, please, do not down-talk others who cares for those other than themselves.

    • GeorgeNightingale profile image

      Seth Macy 

      3 years ago from Wichita, KS

      And how many kids will die until then Kevin?

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      3 years ago

      I don't agree with discrimination but the film was stupid, how did the woman get pregnant. The part of the film that makes out that the hetros will go to hell, this is trying to mislead people into thinking that gay people are getting picked on with the church. It clearly states in the bible that gays cannot enter the kingdoms of heaven, fact.

      People like you need to stop trying to get the world to change there opinion,just because you think it's ok doesent mean others do.

      The world is slowly changing its view on the subject but it's a slow process, so let it happen on its own steam, after all it's biologically not right to go with the same kind.

    • GeorgeNightingale profile image

      Seth Macy 

      3 years ago from Wichita, KS

      A great start to bullying Chaunice. And it IS good to see straight christians coming around to this FINALLY. The next step they need to take is learning that gay children and adults can't be changed (and shouldn't have to).

      I liked your article and thought you did a nice job presenting the information and offering a few points of reflection. It is a big issue that needs all the attention it can get.

      I wonder too, why are children still bullying each other over sexuality, and why is it getting worse when more and more adults are approving of same-sex marriage? Something is wrong here...it would be helpful for so many people and kids to know what that is. Promoting tolerance is part of it, but there must be more.

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      Thank you SO much for your testimony & kind words, Kalafina! I love that despite your personal religious views that you advocate for SAMENESS & EQUALITY!! I believe that is what I was trying to relay in my article & I am so glad that my message got thru. Thank you so much.

    • Kalafina profile image

      Kalafina 

      3 years ago

      I found your Hub very refreshing. Bullying is cruel no matter what it may be about. I may not religiously agree with homosexuality but I do NOT condone destroying a person over it. I used to work with a lot of gay men and found they were some of the funniest/most amazing people I had ever met. Sexual preference did not matter one bit between any of us.

      Why do we put sexual preference before the actual person? A good friend of mine is gay. She was afraid to tell me. When she did I asked her if my being straight made her want to think differently of me. She said No of course not. Then, why would I think differently of you? Knowing your sexual preference does not change the friend you are to me. I wish people could understand this instead of acting amazed at the casual acceptance I show. Why are we so cruel to those different? If I ever have any children I want them to understand how important it is to not label those around us. All that does is feed bullying.

    • Chaunice Benton profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaunice Benton 

      3 years ago from New York City (Currently Residing in Charlotte, NC)

      Agreed jlpark! Thank you so much for reading my article. We DO have a responsibility to our children to promote tolerance.

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 

      3 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for this hub. For making people think about what it is like to be on the receiving end of bullying, for being who you are.

      We, as adults, have a responsibility to raise our children to respect each other, to not bully because someone is different to themselves. We CAN change the statistics, but we've got to start now.

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