Coming out was one of the biggest challenges in my life.?? Growing up in a town where no one came out without losing every ounce of respect was hard, to say the least.??For my own sanity and safety, I chose to hide myself under a \straight"" persona. It hurt so much to try to be what, deep down, I knew I was not. All the time, I hear derogatory words used against queer people.??""That's gay."" ""What a fag.""??Some people don't even realize that they are being derogatory.??I've coined the term ""that's straight"" to mean something is stupid, to replace the seemingly ubiquitous ""that's gay.""
Just as no one chose to be straight, I never chose to be gay.?? Whereas straight people don't have to fear their sexuality, for a long time, I was afraid of mine, of what consequences might occur due to my being gay. I could lose my friends, family or worse-all of this because I am in love with another man.??
Why do straight men hate/fear gay men so much that they will go so far as to murder'What threat am I to a straight man? I am obviously no threat to anyone's girlfriend.
No one should have to endure such oppression and no one should fear being who they are.??Even in Madison, a city touted as being queer friendly, there are many faults.?? Would I ever walk past the Kollege Klub, down Langdon Street or any lit street with people on it holding my partner's hand? If I did, that would be flaunting my sexuality, throwing it in the face of the heterosexuals, giving them the right to harass or attack me.??
If you don't like what you see, no one asked you to look.??Get used to it, though, because queer people aren't going anywhere. Coming Out Week represents to me the end of oppression, a time when we say, ""We're not going to hide anymore.?? We have the right to be happy, and no one can take that away!""
Mark Sadowski is a junior majoring in anthropology.