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Don’t Put a Label on Love

Two years ago we were legalizing gay marriage, now Trump is removing sexual orientation questions from the U.S. Census. What happened?

Most people have gotten into at least one heated argument about sexuality. While they may argue about whether or not homosexuals choose their orientation, the other side of the coin is hardly flipped. Heterosexuality is a given, and no one debates whether or not straight people choose their orientation; men are born liking women, and women are born liking men. End of discussion.

Why are so few people pointing out the hypocrisy, though? If homosexuality is argued to be a choice, then heterosexuality is also a choice. The reality is that the laws of attraction are the same for everyone.

Psychology recognizes that people express their sexual orientation through their behaviors, and, as a result, sexual orientation is not simply a personal characteristic.

The LGBT+ community expresses love in the same fashion as the straight clique. However, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or other can still be viewed as mentally ill. They’re not sick; they’re lovesick. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) disproved homosexuality as a mental disorder and removed it from the DSM.

In twentieth century America, homosexuals were committed to mental hospitals and subjected to aversion therapy. Gays not only received shocks to their genitals anytime they were aroused by males projected on-screen, but they also underwent electroshock therapy, castration and lobotomy.

Inhumane treatment was nothing new, and lesbians received similar, severe punishments. In the second season of “American Horror Story,” a journalist was imprisoned in an insane asylum for her attraction to women. She was subjected to brutal torture throughout her stay, and she lost the love of her life.

She was going to rot in the institution, but the very nun who detained her was the person who saved her. The older woman recognized her own sins of judgment and persecution; she knew she caged the journalist for no reason other than blind ignorance.

The APA’s board members probably felt a similar guilt. Saul Levin, the chief executive officer and medical director of the APA, believes love is something people feel, not choose.

He said, “In short, there is no scientific evidence that sexual orientation, be it heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise, is a freewill choice.”

Personal opinions trump scientific proof every time, though, and the LGBT+ community has to deal with the potential backlash that comes with a heterosexist society. They can even face the brutality in their own homes.

In 2016, Shehada Khalil Issa killed his own son, Amir Issa; the alleged murderer was upset at his son for possibly being gay. An article said, “The father threatened repeatedly to kill his son because he was gay.” Unfortunately, Issa’s story is a common horror among the community.

In June 2016, Pulse, a Florida gay bar, was terrorized; the shooter killed 49 people and injured 53 others. The brutal attack was deemed the deadliest mass shooting in the nation and the worst terror attack since 9/11.

Don’t Put a Label on Love
Image via The Stranger

Communities suffer from hate crimes, even though they’re well into the twenty-first century. While the Orlando shooting was an extreme example, homosexuals still fear for their lives, and they have every right to be concerned. Current data reveals 20-25 percent of lesbian and gay people experience hate crimes in their lifetimes.

The haters are more than just internet trolls hiding behind computer screens and pixelated photos of celebrities; they are locked, loaded and ready to fire.

With countless instances of crimes against the LGBT+ community, Americans must consider what in the hell are they doing wrong, and how in the hell are they going to do what’s right.

The first step is acknowledging everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, as human beings. They’re grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons; they’re working as Chick-fil-A cashiers, volunteers for the Salvation Army and Cracker Barrel hostesses; they’re defining political and social history, like Gerry Studds, Jim Kolbe and Kyrsten Sinema.

Members of the LGBT+ community should be treated with the same respect as straight, blue-collar and white-collar workers. They are no different than anyone else and should be treated not as homosexuals, but as people.

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