Words are powerful

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Over many decades, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) people have not been accepted; the LGBTQ community gets called names like dyke, tranny, shemale, fruitcake, flamboyant, and worst of all faggot. This of course has nothing to do with who people are and everything to do with the way people look. All of these words were made to inflict harm on a certain group of people that can compare to concepts like segregation or racism; this compares because this group is being singled out for having a certain set of characteristics. 

This sort of language has been around for years, and still has not ceased. And for some reason, people still think that it is okay to discriminate against LGBTQ people and use vulgar language toward them. Just like many other places, Arvada West High School is not safe from the language either.

I am a lesbian, and coming out was not easy for me, even though most everyone just knew anyway. It has been the most challenging and hard journey I have faced, and will continue to face, as my “coming out” will never come to an end. At first, I did not notice the whispers or stares because I was too busy finally getting to live the life I had always wanted to live. However, this did not last, as I would walk in the halls and hear, “That is the lesbian I was talking about.”

Whenever a person uses this word against me, or anyone for that matter, he or she is taking a piece of me and the people around me that we can never get back.”

— Maddy Kirk

My favorite incident happened when I was walking down the stairs after just attending my 7th period class. A group of freshman boys were tossing each other around on the stairs, causing people around me to trip and fall. After I had enough of the nonsense and immaturity, I had finally decided to speak up. I simply told them to stop and act their age. The response I got was, “I can’t even tell what gender you are.”

Last week, I was walking to my car when a guy in a truck called out, “Dude! Are you a girl or a boy? I really can’t tell!” and then laughed to his friend about it. I have learned that kids’ go-to insult toward me is asking what gender I am and targeting my sexuality.

This kind of thing does not affect me as much as one would think, but what really affects me is when I hear someone being called “faggot.”

Faggot is a slang term for being a homosexual, and it is a hurtful word all on its own. But, nothing irks me more than when it is used as an insult, as if it were a bad thing to be gay.

When I walk through the halls of Arvada West, I hear constant conversations where the word faggot is tossed around. While no one who I do not know has ever come up to me and called me a faggot to my face, my friends have called me a faggot to my face. Constant ridicule, even as jokes, can start to really get to people.

I have even been singled out by my family members, as they say call me a “fag” or “faggot.” While they are my siblings and I know they mean no harm, it still hurts. When people call me a faggot, it feels like getting getting a paper cut on my finger and then dipping it into lemon juice, except the bleeding will never stop. Whenever a person uses this word against me, or anyone for that matter, he or she is taking a piece of me and the people around me that we can never get back.

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