COLUMN: Dear LGBTQ Community, I’m glad I’m part of you

Katja+Benz

Katja Benz

Katja Benz, Columnist

On Feb. 7, I came out in a column as part of the LGBTQ community. I’ve known, as I say in that column, that I’ve been part of that community since the age of 14.

I’ve never really talked about it, but I’ve always kind of known that my sexuality was the way it was for years.

I never had celebrity crushes, or thought about and gossiped about boys as a middle or high schooler. I never got why other girls did either.

And then I figured it out: I’m not straight. It all made sense.

It was always interesting watching people in middle and high school be like, ‘oh, isn’t so and so adorable,’ while I shrugged and said ‘I guess,’ not thinking anything of it.

A friend asked me once how I knew I wasn’t straight, to which I said that I kind of just knew.

They then asked if I liked it, to which I said that I didn’t know any different.

Pride month came up after that. We talked about Stonewall, and it was nice knowing that somebody cared about LGBTQ history and pride.

I think that more people should be like that. I’m not only going to be part of the LGBTQ community in June. I’ll be in it year round (it’s not like I’ve been in it for the past eight years or anything).

And I think that there’s more that we can do as a society to fix that.

We can first teach about Stonewall. I did a lot of research on it myself, but not everybody does that.

It should really be required in the history curriculum across the board. If, according to the pledge of allegiance, every K-12 student in the U.S. must say every school day, ‘with liberty and justice for all’, why can’t schools do that?

It would have made me, as an LGBTQ student, feel heard and understood by not only my teachers, but to an extent my peers. And I’m sure it would make other students in this community feel that same way.

I’m proud to be part of this community, so I don’t understand why people are so hesitant to learn about it.

We can also, as a society, unlearn that not being straight is bad. It’s not.

While I’ve never felt different from my hetereosexual peers, I almost feel judged sometimes when I tell them I’m part of the community, as if I’m a bad person for being in it.

I’ve gotten weird looks when I tell people, which is why I’m always hesitant to tell people.

And I shouldn’t feel that way. My sexuality isn’t a bad thing and it never will be.

Katja Benz is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]