The End of The Rainbow

An Inner and Outer Struggle

Destiny Vasquez, Cactus Writer

In a world filled with adversity it is hard to find common ground, and even harder to find places that will accept you for who you are; I have personally found Central Arizona College a glowing paradise in such a conservative state for the LGBTQ community. In a previous article I mentioned all the achievements CAC has made with LGBTQ advancement, but as with all places seeking to move forward with equality issues we must realize we will sometimes have to face adversity. It is unfortunate, but we must face this adversity head on, and be brave in our advances toward equality and happiness.

To learn more about issues faced by gay students at CAC I interviewed Jonathan, a student at CAC and he told me about how sometimes he meets people on campus who are still very conservative. This is understandable considering the state we live in, as I mentioned before, but he also said that “no one cared as much about it as I did.” It, being the fact that he was gay. When he said this it made me smile. As a gay woman I have become fixated on the fact that if others found out I’m gay I would be treated differently, and I wouldn’t have as many opportunities as others. I have spent so much time worrying about what people would think that I forgot to consider the fact that being gay just isn’t a big deal anymore. It is becoming more and more widely accepted as normal and you begin to realize you are safe, and you can be yourself.

I felt happy that Jonathan shared this insight with me because even though most people don’t care there is still a need to be cautious. “It’s hard,” he explained, “sharing it with people because you will always face judgment.” He went on to tell me about his previous experiences with ignorant people and he told me that he had seen other kids in high school experience harsh treatment for embracing who they were. Interviewing Jonathan I realized this is what’s so scary for me about being out there, loud and proud because you don’t know how people will react and you don’t know if you will be accepted or not. Although facing judgment is inevitable in anyone’s life, gay or straight we must not let this fear of judgment stop us from being a part of the world as who we are.

This isn’t an uncommon experience in the gay community and it most certainly is a challenge to be who you are in public, but we can’t let this pull us away from society. Jonathan is open about his sexuality and encourages people to ask him questions. He says “I would rather have them ask me questions and be able to educate them rather than leaving them to make their own assumptions.” He also added, “The more we educate those who don’t understand us the more open we can be with people, and the more accepted we become.” That’s why people really need to become empowered and talk about LGBTQ life more, and CAC is a safe haven for such talk. Gay life isn’t a scary thing, and as Jonathan shared, “It’s no longer something to be concerned about – it really isn’t. What’s cool about this campus is that even though we have a very small private campus we have a visible LGBTQ presence, and this allows for more acceptance.”

No matter how forward thinking a place may be there will always be those individuals who will stand in the way of progress. It may not be such a big deal today but it still is an issue whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. As a gay individual myself I understand the struggle of deciding whether or not to be true to myself in certain situations. As Jonathan said “you don’t want people to fixate on it, you don’t want people to only know you for your sexuality. It is one part of me, a part I would like people to accept, and not think that this is all there is to who I am.” Most people can understand the struggle of trying to be true to themselves because we all face adversity in our lives on a regular basis. The struggle within us and the outside world often collide and it is something that needs to be worked on from both sides. It is a struggle still for most LGBTQ people to live their lives fearlessly but we must try to be braver and trust in ourselves, and trust in the world a little more. No one lives our lives but us, and we must live it for all its worth because letting fear dictate life is ludicrous. As Jonathan told me “It’s not black and white anymore. Times are certainly changing and in ten years or so things will be vastly different from now. It’s just a matter of expanding our minds and stripping ourselves of the fear. In doing so we can then speak out for those who still are struggling, and even educate those who don’t understand everything just yet.”

This life can a beautiful one, we just have to be willing to accept it for all the colors it has to offer.}