Overcoming hate: a response to SCOP
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, December 2, 2014
This is in response to the Nov. 19 Viewpoint, “SCOP stands against hate,” written by Tiernan Kane and Tim Bradley.
As I write this, I am sitting at home, and by home, I do not mean my beautiful dorm in the basement of Sorin. I am in the state of Arizona at the house I grew up in, under the watchful eye of my parents.
I had to withdraw from the University for the rest of the year for mental health reasons, a decision that was probably the hardest of my life. That decision stands as an example of what SCOP really means, and in order to respond, let me tell you a little about myself.
I grew up in a small town in rural Arizona. As far as beliefs go, it’s about as conservative as you can get. Raised in a traditional Catholic family, I “knew” what was right and what was wrong. The idea of two guys together was revolting and caused God to shake his head, upset with His creation. Homosexual acts were obviously wrong, and I would debate to the death any person who dared say otherwise.
Then I went to a Steubenville conference in 2012. For those of you that don’t know, Steubenville hosts a Catholic retreat for high school students. It was on the second day during Adoration that I cried and accepted that God had said, “Let him be gay,” and so I was.
This didn’t really surprise me. I had started noticing I liked guys as far back as fourth grade. When puberty kicked in, I noticed that the guys I had grown up around suddenly didn’t want to be around me, nor I around them. I was different, and I could tell that difference wasn’t good. This internal struggle led me to four years without a friend. From seventh through 10th grades, I was alone in the world because I felt different, but I didn’t quite know how. Don’t get me wrong, I was a sociable kid, but there was a wall between me and the rest of the people in my life.
It is only now that I realize that it was my sexuality that separated me. I was gay, and as I had so often said, God was not OK with gay.
These years of loneliness caused an insecurity in me that I was unloved and unloveable. It didn’t matter the friends I made. No matter how great of a friend they were, I was still unloved.
When I came to Notre Dame this year, my insecurity manifested in the most horrible of ways. I became suicidal. For two months, I spent every day thinking I would be better off dead. I didn’t realize at the time, but these feelings were very closely linked to how I felt isolated because of my sexuality. On the worst day, the day of the UNC game, I left my room just so I could spend my last day outside. When the game was done, we went to SDH for the Candlelight Dinner. There was an incredible Reese’s cream pie, of which I had four slices. I thought, “Why not? This is the last thing I will ever eat.”
Thankfully, I was in just a good enough mood to tell a friend how I felt, and she sat with me for hours as I cried.
I would just like to note that turning suicide into a simple act of self-hate is both ignorant and hateful. For me, suicide was agreeing with society that who I am is backwards and worthless. I could never live a life as fully as others, and the world would be better off were I not there to waste space.
That’s the problem with SCOP’s viewpoint: We can use words to make our arguments appear better, but we sometimes get lost in them. In these arguments, we forget about the human consequences of these arguments when or if they are carried out. It’s the stigmatization of being gay — that gay means different and that difference can never be rightly acted upon — that has caused me so many years of angst. It made me lonely; it made me hate living. If that isn’t hate, then I don’t know what is.
It’s important to recognize hate, but it’s just as necessary to realize that hate is losing its battle.
I’ll end with this: 30 states now recognize gay marriage, and the tally is only getting higher. Countries around the world are grappling with this issue, and debates like this make the fight that much more relevant. It is my sincere belief that everyone at Our Lady’s University is trying to live the best life they can. Let’s not get lost with words, but embrace these diverse viewpoints, “lov[ing] one another and together [let’s] build a less imperfect community of love” (“Same-sex couples to receive benefits,” Oct. 16).
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.