by Kate Elizabeth Mrofcza
Have you ever been to a Melissa Etheridge concert? Probably not, but I have! She is a famous lesbian singer. My aunt happens to be a lesbian and my mom loves her music, so they go to see her every year. This year I got to go with them. This year was different though, because the Gay Games were happening all over the city. So it seemed pretty much like everyone from the Games came to the concert! Because so many gay and lesbian people were there, it caused some very unwanted and uninvited people to come also.
This concert was a very great experience to go through, as well as a bad one. Let me just tell you the story and you will know what I mean. We arrived at the Auditorium Theater in downtown Chicago. My mom and I were waiting for my Aunt to arrive, and we waited at the corner right next to the theater. A couple yards closer to the theater there were a couple of demonstrators. They were holding huge, bold signs that said rude things like 'God hates gays & lesbians!' and 'God says homosexuals are evil!' The demonstrators had themselves set up so that every person going into the theater had to walk between them. My mom and I were just standing and watching the reactions of the gay and lesbian people of every shape, color, size and style as they passed us, one after another. As I was watching I noticed the unity between all of them. When they walked between the demonstrators, many would smile or put their arms around each other.
One lesbian actually stood immediately in front of one of the demonstrators. She was waving her arms and drowning out his negative and angry comments with smiles and was yelling 'Come see Melissa!' and 'God loves ALL his children!' the more the gays and lesbians appeared happy, united, strong and unaffected by their negativity, the more the demonstrators appeared to be like angry little trolls. I thought the reactions of the gays and lesbians towards the demonstrators were inspiring and truly heart warming.
From where we were standing on the corner, we saw every person, single or part of a couple, give a positive comment or reaction. There was a very steady flow of people, one after another, never slowing down. The more gays and lesbians that went through the demonstrators nonchalantly, the angrier the demonstrators got. Usually, my mom would let the demonstrators have a piece of her mind. But the calm, united looks on the faces of the people that passed said it all. The demonstrators just looked more and more ridiculous.
We went into the theater when my aunt arrived. The show was amazing
and everyone was happy and excited and singing together loudly. When
we left the theater there wasn't a demonstrator in sight. What a relief!
This experience has impacted my life in good ways, and bad. One bad
way is that I had to see what real discrimination is like. Everyone learns about the word 'discrimination' in school. But you never realize how unfair and truly stupid it is. There is no point for it because the group or person who is being discriminated against isn't going to change who they are. It was very painful to watch what it is truly like. But, this experience has affected me in good ways, too. A good way is that I got to see how united the gay community is.
I'm sure that they could care less if people don't like them. They know that God still loves them, and that their true friends don't care if they are homosexual or not. I think everyone should realize that gay and lesbian people aren't any different than straight people. We're all the same. It's like discriminating against someone because they like to wear T-shirts! It's their decision and it doesn't affect anyone else. Without having gone to this concert, I would not have realized the extent of discrimination.
Kate Mrofcza is an eighth-grade honor roll student at Carl Sandburg, Jr,. High School in Rolling Meadows. Reprinted with permission.