Ourselves and Others Despite our Differences||
Johnathan Regnier, a senior in an Illinois high school, shares what he thinks
is important about differences -- we all have them and should embrace them in
I walk through my high school's hallways and I notice differences in everyone.
Whether society accepts these differences or not, many students still walk tall
day by day not caring what others think. From piercings to casual dress, different
elements of the individuals set them apart from the people who surround them.
These diverse attributes build not only your character but also your lifestyle.
As many of my peers already know, I live a different lifestyle than most.
Now, being different has its ups and downs. I think that it has allowed me to
view things with a more open mind; it kind of opened my eyes to be not only more
accepting, but also less judgmental.
Unfortunately, sometimes having an
open mind just isn't going to cut it when others do not share your views on homosexuality.
Coming out at such a young age has helped me to mature as a person and live who
I really am
nothing else. Sadly, it has made it fairly difficult to settle
down with a group or even develop close male friends. But, being the strong-hearted
person that I am, I have made my way through a four-year learning experience.
into self acceptance|
Coming into high school my freshman year, I was still relatively ashamed of
who I really was. Out to only my true friends, I was a different person around
everyone else. Sooner or later, rumors began to spread, and my reputation developed.
I was forced to stand up for who I really am, facing the hate and discrimination.
Sophomore year was my infamous coming out year. Seeming as though it should have
been the event of the century, it was more of a transitional stage in my life.
My close friends had already known for quite sometime, others just assumed, but
now I wasn't denying the truth.
Putting an end to all the lies and stories
was a huge load off of my shoulders. I was finally free to be myself
of. Although I was comfortable with myself, many others were not. Through the
next year, I stuck close with a small group of steady friends, which assisted
in building my confidence and trust in true friends. Of course, stories were still
told, but friendship goes a long way in overcoming tough obstacles. Now, here
I am four years later, living my senior year to its fullest.
With age comes
acceptance. Now people are actually seeing me for Johnathan and not just identifying
me with my lifestyle. With a higher level of acceptance, I now feel more comfortable
with myself. I find it easier to talk to just about anyone, I'm more confident,
and feel that I have the same opportunities as everyone else.
importance of equal rights for everyone|
Equal rights are important in the lives of everyone, whether they be heterosexual,
bisexual, homosexual, or trans gender. Why anyone would want to limit an individual's
unalienable rights is beyond me. Blonde or brown hair, blue or hazel eyes, freckles
or not, heterosexual or homosexual, every one of us was born into this world different
from the person sitting next to us.
I feel that the discrimination against
gays in today's world is unacceptable. What's the difference between discriminating
against someone due to their race, than discriminating against someone because
of their sexuality? You don't choose your race nor, in most cases, your sexuality.
Sure, you can deny who you are and live your life being someone you're not. But
honestly, what kind of life is that? Honestly, think about it for a second. Who
in their right mind would choose a lifestyle in which you're denied your rights
and benefits of marriage and so much more?
In the end, it all breaks down
to one thing, acceptance.
We need to realize that there are difference
in every single one of us. No matter what, we're not all the same Our country
has overcome many great obstacles in the past such as religious, racial, and gender
discrimination. Sexuality is just another factor soon to be open and accepted.
my senior year draws to a close, I look back at everything I have accomplished
and the choices I have made. I'm a firm believer in the quote 'What doesn't kill
us today, makes us stronger tomorrow." Don't be afraid to be who you really
are. Live for yourself, and no one else.
Johnathan Regnier is a writer and designer on the staff of Herscher High Schools