On the night of June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, shots rang out. 49 people dead. 53 injured. All innocent members of the LGBTQ community who were just trying to have a fun night at the Pulse Night Club. This type of violence is the news that the media publishes surrounding the community. It is moments like this that make me feel like some people need to take a step back and think about the world for a minute. We all have our differences, and some may be more pronounced than others, or certain people may show off their differences and embrace them, but we are all people on the inside. I love my identity as a Queer person and being a part of the LGBTQ community. My identity and being who I am has not only boosted my self-confidence, but I hope it can also help to inspire others to be their true self as well. Unfortunately, being a part of a minority in today’s modern society means that sometimes, I must face discrimination. While this discrimination is not always directed at me specifically, but rather the community as a whole, it still hurts to watch.
There have been times where I have questioned my identity. Usually, this happens at 1 am and lasts about 5 minutes before I remember how much I love and embrace who I am. But I have occasionally asked myself “why me?” after someone knowingly and intentionally says something hurtful to me or acts out against me. On my car, I have two pride flags on the back window. One night, just 5 minutes from my house, I came back outside to the parking lot from the store, and someone had torn one off, ripped the other in half, and deflated a tire. This was not just someone verbally acting out, this was property damage. So, I put on my spare and drove home, but for the rest of the night, I could not stop wondering what it would have been like if I had not identified the way I do. Would that person have vandalized someone else’s property? Or would they have just gone on their way and never vandalized anything or hurt anyone? It is times like this where I wish that I was “normal”, and “fit in”, whatever that means. But I moved on, and the next day I remembered how happy I am being myself and living my life as the person that I really am, regardless of what other people may think.
By being my true self and living my life day to day as who I really am, I hope to inspire other people to do the same, provided their situation is safe enough to do so. While some people may not be able to live their best life right now, eventually they will be in a better position to express themselves. While there are days where I would rather try and “fit in” with everyone else, I am so inspired by other people living their best life, regardless of what might get thrown at them, and I am so motivated to inspire other people to be their true self, I try and stand out from the crowd, even if It means that I am the odd one out.