Friday June 26, 2015
Okay, to open up this website and see a rainbow? To go on Snapchat and see all the happy stories that people have sent? To go on Google and see that they had a link to a YouTube video celebrating marriage equality? I honestly started tearing up. Today is a very happy day. Marriage Equality has finally been attained in the United States of America.
I remember when my mom first told me what being gay meant. She talked about it as if it was a subject not meant for younger ears, something to be whispered about. My mom carefully explained to me how it was possible for a girl to fall in love with a girl or a guy to be attracted to a guy. She told me that it was something that a person was born with and that nothing was wrong with being gay. Yet, even though I fully believed that there was nothing wrong with it, I somehow felt like “gay” was something to be whispered about. I wasn’t comfortable with the topic.
My books changed that. Thanks to all the courageous, strong authors who were willing to have diverse characters, I learned that “gay” isn’t something to be whispered about. It shouldn’t be an adult topic. It’s a fact of life, as easy to explain as a heterosexual relationship is. The fact that some people won’t accept LGBTQ people as normal, regular people who deserve love as much as anyone else is what is shameful and wrong.
One essential author that helped open my eyes was Cassandra Clare. Not only can she invent an amazing plot, but she uses a diverse range of characters to act it out. Magnus, a bisexual warlock, is probably (it’s hard to choose, okay?) my favorite character of hers. The contrast of his sexual confidence to his boyfriend’s cautiousness and the trials they both face to be together allow the reader to better understand them and others in their situation. I certainly learned to empathize with them.
Another author that goes by the name Rick Riordan (yes, we’re back to this guy) wrote a children’s book with a gay character. Riordan is a prime example of how being gay can be explained and talked about with children. He too helped to change my views. I saw that being gay is a safe topic for children. It can be explained in simple terms and kids will understand it, no problem. Some kids are gay. In fact, a lot of kids probably already know exactly what being gay means. Just because a topic is not discussed doesn’t mean it isn’t real. When someone grows up they don’t suddenly turn gay. Children need to be exposed to topics such as this one. By providing good examples and education, you develop a more understanding confident child. Riordan helped point this out to me.
An author’s goal is to create characters that their readers will empathize with, to create relatable people. If a reader is able to form a connection with a character, it makes the other experiences and feelings that the character has more believable. This is what makes literature so powerful. The human ability to connect with others and empathize through a medium as simple as words is quite amazing. Words such as Cassandra Clare’s and many others have helped us get to where we are today- attaining equality. Words will continue to affect us in the future, making an impact in our everyday lives. I have faith that we can continue to use the power of the word to change our world for the better. Today is proof of how far words can get us.
Books I recommend with all my heart. These authors are worth checking out.
- Cassandra Clare
- Rick Riordan
- David Levithan
- Malinda Lo
- Becky Albertalli
- Sarah Tregay