I walked through the front door after a great day mini golfing with my Uncles, Chris and Michael. Michael killed us, but after almost beating Chris, I was pretty proud of myself. I bragged to my mom about it as I got a glass of water, grabbed my coat and headed off to my friend Garrett’s house.
When I arrived at Garrett’s house, it smelled of fresh chocolate chip cookies. There were a couple of neighbors over, sitting in the front room, chatting with his parents. I shuffled quickly into the kitchen, still overly excited from my great day. As I was enjoying a moist, warm, chocolate chip cookie I overheard Garrett’s mom say, “I feel bad for people who are gay. It would be an extremely hard life to live.”
I stop chewing mid-bite. I think to myself, “What? Why? Is there something wrong with my uncles?” as the adults continue to discuss the hardships of being gay in the other room.
I hear one of the neighbors state, “It is worrying me how quickly that population is growing. I wish there was a way to put a stop to this.” Garrett interrupted my trance as I eavesdropped on the conversation and waved for me to follow him to his room. I went to his room feeling very anxious. What was wrong with my uncles?
When I got home that evening, as we were sitting eating spaghetti at the dinner table, I asked my mom, “Are Michael and Chris sick?”
My mom looked at me with confusion on her face, put down her roll, and answered, “No? Why would you think that?”
I responded with concern, “Well, they seemed fine to me today, but Garrett’s mom and neighbors said that they feel sorry for someone who is gay and they wish they could put a stop to it.”
Both my parents froze and stared at me. The room went quiet. I heard the clock ticking as my parents thought of how to respond. Finally my mom said, “Michael and Chris are not sick. There are some people who do not agree with two men, or two women, being married. People sometimes say very mean things about them, but there is nothing wrong with your uncles.”
I pondered my mother’s answer long and hard as I finished my dinner. I wonder, “How could people be mean to my uncles? They are awesome!” Little did I know that 57% of Utahns, and 40% of Americans, are opposed to same-sex marriage. This was the first time I experienced the ridicule and trials I soon would begin to recognize, and be exposed to, for those 9 million adults, along with an additional number of minors, who choose to live life a little differently than society deems “normal.”