I’m not one to blog. I made this blog site when I started traveling a few years ago so that I could document my time on the road. But I never got to it. Now, I feel an overwhelming need to speak my mind and I’m not sure how to do that or who to do it to. I’m new to this. I’m new to this lifestyle. I’ve been with the love of my life for almost 2 years now. I came out to my family shortly after my brother did the same. He inspired me to accept myself, and to not fear the changes that would undoubtably come from doing so. I learned to not be afraid of what people thought of me. I’m different, yes, but I am the same. I was born to this world just like the rest of the humans who were born to this same Earth. I am different, but I am the same. And so are you. So, I slowly began to accept myself. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter what people thought. It didn’t matter that there were people out there that thought I should be condemned to death because of the lifestyle I live, because of the feelings I feel. It didn’t matter. But now it does. It does matter to me what you think. It does matter to me that you think I don’t deserve to breathe the same air as you because of the person I love. It matters to me that I am not seen just as everyone else is seen. It matters to me, and it should.

I fell in love. I moved past the fear, disgust, and loathing I felt for those who were uneducated enough to hate, and discriminate people like me. Because I know that I am a good person. I take pride in my relationships with friends and family. I know I have a good personality. I love how much people admire and respect me. When I moved to a town in upstate New York, I started to feel all those feelings of fear again. Yes, I am a good person. Yes, they will like me, and yes, I will make friends. But will they accept me? Will they understand my life and what I go through on a daily basis? Will they use discriminatory words like “faggot” and “homo” in normal sentences and not think twice about it? Do I turn a blind eye to that? Do I pretend it doesn’t bother me because I am such an easygoing person? I don’t want people to think I’m sensitive, I want them to know I’m tough. I want them to know I don’t take shit from anyone, and I want them to think I can handle criticism and that I understand other people’s points of views, even if I don’t agree with them. But guess what, that has changed. I don’t accept your point of view if your point of view is that I am not a normal person. I do not accept your opinion if your opinion is that I’m acceptable as a lesbian because I’m down to earth, but my community is not acceptable because you don’t know them personally. You accept me and you love me for who I am, but are you enough of a man or woman to accept those who are similar to me? Are you man enough to accept my brother being engaged to a man? Are you man enough to see them kiss each other just like I kiss my girlfriend? Are you man enough to accept that they have the same kind of love, if not stronger, than a man and a woman share? Because I’m sick of pretending I don’t care. I’m sick of pretending I’m not a part of the LGBT community. I’ve always considered myself lucky. Like I was different than other gay people because it seemed like I could get the acceptance of anyone. It seemed easier because I’m an average girl, with average looks and a beautiful girlfriend. I felt lucky. I felt lucky to not have to face day to day discrimination from loved ones and complete strangers. I don’t feel lucky anymore. I don’t feel safe anymore. And I’m sick of pretending I do.

After hearing about the Orlando shooting, my mind changed. My life changed, just like it did for millions of other people. We’re sick of it. We’re sick of being different. You’re different, not us. You’re unaccepting and cold-hearted, and narrow-minded. Before, I felt the thankful for people accepting me for being gay. I felt like they deserved to be congratulated for understanding my lifestyle. But it’s not enough anymore. It’s not enough to just accept me and my girlfriend, and not anyone else. It’s not enough for you to not look twice when I kiss her, but for you to look three times when a man kisses his husband. It’s not enough anymore. I want my entire community to to be accepted. I want people to see what they’ve done to us. You don’t see it through me. You see it through unspeakable acts like the Pulse shooting. You don’t see it until its literally right in front of you, on every news channel. You don’t see it until its talked about by everyone for the week following the event. You don’t see it until then, and then you forget. Please stop forgetting. It makes me sick to know I only started feeling so passionate about this only once something so horrific had been done. If you love me, and if I’m a good friend and a good person, then do it for me. Pay attention to how you speak and the slurs you make. Pay attention to how you look at others and how you perceive them. If you don’t agree, then don’t. Whatever. But stop acting like thats okay. Its not okay. You’re not okay if you cannot accept reality. You’re not okay. Pay attention to that because someone has to.

I’m supposed to say that he didn’t win. When the Boston Marathon got attacked, we said “you didn’t beat us, Boston Strong.” You don’t win when you act on your beliefs by massacaring dozens of people. We raised our flags, we bought t-shirts, and we stuck together as a city. Whether we were old, young, gay, or straight, we stuck together. But this time, I feel like he has won. He beat me. He scared me. He made me feel different and unaccepted. He took away my security, and made me feel uncomfortable. I fear for my brother and his fiancé. I fear that we’ll be targeted one day too. I feel more than ever, a part of the LGBT community. I feel connected to the victims and to their families and friends. I did not choose this. I did not want to feel different, and hated, and afraid. I did not choose to live my life like this. My life chose this. Would you want to be stared at every time you peck your significant other on the street while holding hands. Would you want to be questioned three times every single time you tell someone who you’re in a relationship with? Would you want to fear going in public because someone might attack you? Would you want to base your life around living in certain places because some places just aren’t safe for you? Would you want to lose the acceptance of millions of people around the world who don’t understand? Would you want to question your sanity when people tell you that its in your head and that you can be saved? Would you want to be banned from basic human rights? Would you want to have to fight for the right to marry the person you love? Would you want to have to prove to people that you can be a good parent because they think its impossible for you to be? No. You wouldn’t want that. And neither do we. So stop acting like we do. Stop using cop outs, stop being so uneducated. Stop being hateful, stop looking at us differently, stop hurting us, stop putting yourself above us. I have the same beating heart as anyone else. I have the same two feet, and two hands. I am the same.

I am a strong person. I am a loving person. I am a funny person. I am a caring person. I am a good person. I am a tough person. And I don’t take shit from anyone. I am a part of the LGBT community, and I am a human being on this planet. I won’t accept half of an effort anymore. I won’t allow you to make us feel different. I won’t allow you to hurt us. I won’t allow you to win anymore. I am afraid. I am unlucky. I am unsafe. But I am not alone.

I am different, yes, but I am the same.