Essay about Feared or Loved
“Coming out is a big step in someone’s life. It can help them feel relieved to finally get something off their chest to someone they want to seek approval from,but is it as good as everyone may think? Depending on how you’re raised or the people around you, coming out can be a pleasure process to complete, but for others it may not be easy. Many people in the LGBT+ community get threatened and beaten just for being who they are in which hurts no one. And because of this, many have become fearful of living their lives freely just because of their sexuality and/or gender. My name is Amber Tulucci and my paper will be about the research that I have conducted both online and on my own through interviews to find out the points of view of individuals in the LGBT+ community on whether or not they feel fear or love when coming out.
There are a lot of young people that struggle with their identity and yet they have many negative emotions about it. According to 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report by Human Rights Campaign Foundation, “The more than 12,000 respondents, ranging in age from 13 to 17, and from all 50 states and Washington D.C., participated in the online 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey. It found that these teenagers are not only experiencing heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection, but also overwhelmingly feel unsafe in their own school classrooms.” HRC Foundation also states that, “Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people.” This means that 74 percent of students who are in the LBGT+ community does not feel safe in a place that’s supposed to be for safety and learning. What’s even worse is that 95 percent say that all their teachers and school staff are not there to support them when they are the ones to teach their students and give them guidance. With that kind of issue, it can bring a lot of those students down, making them feel depressed, anxious, and unwanted not just on school grounds, but once they get home to reflect on their experiences. It can affect them later on down the road, because knowing they won’t be accepted in school makes them even more anxious about outside of it in the real world. It makes them wonder what could happen to them, because there have been multiple incidences that have led to being threatened, beaten and even death. One of those tragedies was none other than Matthew Wayne Shepard.
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Matthew Wayne Shepard was a college student that attended the University of Wyoming. He was an openly gay male in the 1990s although being gay wasn’t really accepted. Late one night, Shepard was kidnapped by two straight, homophobic males. They took him somewhere, beat him, and left him out to die until he was found. According to Chelsey Parrott-Sheffer, “Shepard was discovered 18 hours later by a bicyclist and was rushed, still alive but in a coma, to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died four days later.” Because of this, Shepard became very well known in both the LGBT+ community and the United States due to the horrific actions taken by those two men. People began to see the hate crimes against the community and how it needed to be stopped because at the time there were only laws against hate crimes for race, color, religion, and national origin, but there were none for sexual orientation. Over ten years later, a bill was approved for protecting people against hate crimes called the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. It has been a little over 20 years since Shepard passed, and he is still being remembered today as someone who helped bring awareness to the LGBT+ community, although people started to notice how bad things were for it only after he died.
A big part in anyone’s life is family. Family is what ties you together, whether you like it or not. Usually, the people in your household are the people you should trust and look to for guidance, but many people can’t seek what they truly want. I spoke to a few individuals that are in the LGBT+ community asking them questions such as the emotions they feel on the idea of coming out or the emotions they felt when they did, why it’s hard for them to come out, and what they think needs to change for them to completely be at peace. Shyra, an 18 year old Malay woman from Malaysia is asexual. According to LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary, asexuality is defined as, “A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality.” Shyra said that she is able to feel romantic feelings towards people, but also stated that she is “not sexually attracted to anyone or anything.” I asked her how she felt about coming out to her family, and her response was, “the thoughts of coming out to my family terrifies me to the core. I’m more terrified being a disappointment or simply being disregarded as it being a phase. Everyone has been drilling in me ever since I could remember that I have to be a good girl for my parents, be a good sister, listen to mama and papa, don’t do anything to disgrace the family, do the best thing to make others proud when they talk about you, and let them boast about you so they can know they raised their child right. So for me, family has so much expectations for me.””