SBS 301 Cultural Diversity/Prof. Koptiuch         Fall 2008        Personal Memory Ethnographies

MaLinda Zimmerman

Damned Difference

 I believe in the word of God and my church’s teachings on the undeniably, irrational, disgusting practices of homosexuality. My church and I sign petitions, write to congress, and are true activist protesting against all homosexual functions. I personally attempt to get these “homosexuals” to turn to God and plead with them to consider changing their sinning ways.

    Difference is a subjective idea; it is in the eye of the person, people, who are analyzing another person, group of people, and or situation(s). I have personally shared a difference with a particular group of people, and pretended to know consequences of allowing myself to viewed, through the eyes of others, as that difference. Love is also subjective on how it is expressed, received, or rejected.

    Two years ago, I had gone to Phoenix PRIDE with my partner. PRIDE is an event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. PRIDE celebrates the diversity, provides education for families, friends, and all others, as well as support the community of LGBT. I was so excited, yet relaxed, because in being around people that I could relate to, feel myself around, created a calming serenity of feeling whole.

    A couple years ago, I gathered with my church at an event that homosexuals call PRIDE. This is an event where they gather and take ‘PRIDE’ in the fact that they choose to live in sin by fornicating with the same sex. This, to be honest, saddens me, frustrates me, and baffles me, that these people could all be saved but choose not to. Why do they not see what they are doing is wrong? My goal each morning, especially that morning, is to enlighten them and possibly get a few to make a better choice, the right choice.

    My partner and I were walking toward the entrance to the park of where this event was taking place at, when I realized that someone was shouting through a megaphone. I honestly thought that someone was shouting out of happiness, supporting the community, as we entered PRIDE. In reality, there was a group of people picketing outside of the park. “FAGGOTS!!! YOU ARE ALL GOING TO HELL! GOD HATES YOU!!”

    I was at the front gate, it was a very warm summer morning, and I could just see them flock, strutting in their sinful celebration. I had my sign in hand, raised high in the crystal blue sky, and my megaphone to my mouth pleading with them to turn back and praise God for the air they breathe. A young woman had approached us, looking like that of a precious child of God. I thought that she was going to join in our protest; I even opened up the caution tape for her, but then realized that she was a part of them, the homosexuals. She started bombarding me with ridiculous questions, attempting to make me question my faith, which is NOT going to happen.

Each protestor had a look of disgust and hate in their eyes, but I did not truly understand why. How can someone hate another human being for loving someone? I was shocked, infuriated, sad, and then I thought I could just calmly talk to these protestors. I approached them calmly, attempting to collect my thoughts, as they were still screaming and shouting profanity. I gently asked them why they felt the need to protest. A man, by the name of Bob, told me that he felt sorry for me because I was going to be “crucified” and “damned by God” because of my choices. I looked at Bob, with his bright red face, veins popping out of his neck, spitting on the crowd, and asked him, “If God supposedly loves us as we are and we are made in his image, then how can who I love damn me to hell?”

    This made me so irate, but then I stepped back and realized that I was there to teach the word of God. I was there to educate this young woman on the negative choices she was making and show her an alternative so that she did not burn in hell. Unwilling to listen to my protest, I handed her an educational pamphlet that explained different teachings and classes that were available to assist her in changing her dirty ways. These classes are for rehabilitation, they educate people on the improved qualities in life through being natural, being true, and being heterosexual like God has made each one of us. The woman obviously did not care too much for that; she cussed me out so angrily, and walked off with whom I assume to be her ‘lover’.

    Bob, appeared stunned, walked closely over to me and gave me a pamphlet that read, “How to be a Heterosexual.” I laughed, and yelled, “It’s not a choice! It’s not a choice you ignorant bastard!” I was so enraged; I felt the heat literally fill my body. I began to perspire, and felt extremely shaky. Upset that this person would have the audacity to give me a pamphlet to change who I am, in order to fit into his cookie cutter idea of what being a good person was…it was all based on my sexuality.

    Just discussing this makes me feel so vile; to think of two people of the same sex, or even changing their sex truly makes me very sick. I just pray for each one of them in hopes that each realize their sins and take Jesus Christ into their hearts. Let them all wash away those troubled thoughts and repent. 

    Everyday I repeat these wonderful words in my head, “The most violent element in society is ignorance” (Emma Goldman), which allows me to breathe and have the confidence that educating people as much as they allow can be a small solution to the problem. Supporting each other, providing peer support, regardless of each person’s difference, will promote a healthier world.

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