Gays struggle to find place in society

Ebony Hubbard has been gay as long as she could remember.”I’ve been gay since I was a kid,” she said. “I don’t think in kindergarten I had the language to place a label on to it; but I think at a young age, we become aware of social norms and the way things are suppose to go.”

Hubbard always felt different, doing things that weren’t considered “normal” for girls at a young age.

“I didn’t want to do the stuff that the little girls did, such as play cooking or play with dolls,” she said. “Anytime I would play these types of games, it was usually in the form of house, and I was always the daddy.

“Simple form . I just knew, and when my language matured, I was able to place a label on it.”

Hubbard found herself admitting that she was gay at an early age.

“Most of my close friends who were straight didn’t really care,” she said. “It’s not that big of an issue if you don’t make it one.”

However, her mom was not as understanding.

“I was kicked out of my home at 13 and was adopted by two gay men who were able to continue to raise me,” she said.

Hubbard’s adoptees, Dr. Haggood and Xavier Boykin, raised her to be the woman she is today.

“I was not raised by punks or faggots,” she said. “I was raised by two very strong, educated, Black men who took me in and instilled very strong principles in me. [They] are the reason I’m not dead, on drugs or out in the streets.”

Terry Young was sort of like Hubbard, finding his sexual preference at an early age.

“I’ve always known,” he said. “When I was little I knew. I always knew that I was more interested in boys.”

When Young admitted he was gay, he didn’t get the same treatment as Hubbard did.

“Nobody who really knew me was surprised by it,” he said. “Most of my close friends were girls anyway. Most of the guys I were close with ended up being gay themselves.”

Young’s admission of his sexual preference came after he heard a song from rapper T.I.’s Urban Legend.

“I’m a f—— grown man, what I’m creeping for?” T.I. rapped on “Freak Through.”

“I thought about it,” Young said. “I’m a grown man, so what am I creeping for?”

Bill (named changed for anonymity) is an openly gay male at GSU. While he’s open with his preference at school, it’s something he hasn’t quite shared with his entire family.

“I have not told my entire family, just the family members around my age,” he said. “I haven’t told the rest of my family, because it is none of their business. What I do behind closed doors is no one’s business.”

Bill said he isn’t doing so because he fears his family’s reaction, but because he just believes they don’t need to know.

“It has nothing to do with my sexual preference, because even if I were heterosexual, I still wouldn’t discuss my love/sex life with older family members,” he said.

Biblical debate

The gay culture has attracted more media attention in recent years as they challenge the current definition of a marriage being between a man and woman.

The reason most people push that tradition is due to scriptures in the Holy Bible. In the book of Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22, it states: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: because it is an abomination.”

This is normally interpreted into, “A man shall not lie with another man as he does with a woman, because it is an abomination.”

Young said he has read the Holy Bible and its position on homosexuality. He, however, disagrees with the Bible.

“The Bible says that you are not supposed to eat shellfish, but people do it anyway,” he explained. “I think people pick and choose scriptures to justify their discrimination.”

Before Young decided to be open with his sexual preference, he found himself at odds.

“For a long time, I had conflicts with myself because of my religious beliefs,” he said.

However, in the end, he decided to be honest with himself. “God made me this way, so I am who I am.”

There is some theory that some people are born gay or that God placed gays on Earth Himself. Bill said that he was born gay.

“I practice it because it is a part of my life and a part of who I am,” he said. “I practice it because I was born attracted to men, so simply because it is not agreed upon by everyone, I shouldn’t?”

While Bill says that he was born gay, some people believe that being gay is not something you’re born with, but a choice.

“I don’t think God placed gays on Earth, but people, and being gay is a choice,” said Malaysia Sanders, a heterosexual. “Homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible, and sin originated from Satan.”

Bill believes that the Bible could’ve been changed to fit that idea.

“We all know how stories change through word of mouth,” he said. “I believe that the Bible is a dated text created to be taken symbolically and not literally. There is no record of homosexuality being condemned in the New Testament, and it is proven that the Old Testament was actually handed down through oral tradition before being written.”

Hubbard said she has also read the Bible, but doesn’t necessarily believe it in its entirety.

“The Bible to me is like any book I read in class,” she said. “Some of it I believe; some of it I don’t. That’s just it.”

Hubbard also said that the Holy Bible does not explain all religions.

“First of all the Holy Bible refers back to Christianity,” she explained. “I can at least name ten other religions and three I know for sure condone gay marriage.

“The Bible is a book, and when we’re talking politics, you can’t bring the Bible into play,” she continued. “It just doesn’t go together.”

While most scholars will agree that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, Hubbard disagrees, saying, “I think marriage is between whoever wants it.”

However, Kenneth Michael Cummings, a heterosexual, believes that the definition of marriage is the same as scholars.

“I don’t believe (gays) have the right to get married,” the Tennessee State University student said through Facebook. “Marriage is a sacred union between a MAN and a WOMAN. If they want to be together then they should call it something else. I don’t see same sexes as ‘married.'”

Being accepted

Bill agrees that acceptance is hard for gays in today’s world.

“Acceptance is the biggest challenge faced by same-sex groups,” he said. “Same-sex groups still have yet to receive the same acceptance that heterosexuals receive simply because homosexuality is not accepted by all and because homosexuals are part of a minority population. The struggles that homosexuals face are no different than the struggles African-Americans once faced here in the U.S.”

Sanders slightly disagrees.

“The struggles are similar, but I don’t think entirely the same,” she explained. “African-Americans were subjected to physical labor, Jim Crow, lynchings, and a wide range of discrimination. Not to compare homosexuality as the lesser, but discrimination and, in the most extreme cases, murder pales due to the fact that Black people have been subject to such for hundreds and hundreds of years.”

Those who practice the homosexuality lifestyle are still finding themselves struggling to find their place in a society that shuns them. There have been numerous reports of gays being targeted in gang-related violence or even being killed for openly practicing their beliefs. So far, at GSU, that has not happened, according to Young.

“I would say I haven’t necessary insufficiently discriminated against in Grambling,” Young said. “Some people have expressed their opinion about me being in Grambling. But as far as me feeling like I can’t walk out my door and go class like that, no.”

Finding a place

As gays continue to scrap for their place in society, which has not exactly been determined, they are hoping to find some solutions to their acceptance. Lasseigne believes that more education on the issue could help.

“People fear what they do not understand,” he said. “Tolerance can only be achieved when people understand the homosexual population and their struggles.”

Some people have a problem with the flamboyance of how some gays display their sexual preference. Hubbard understands that point of view, as she has a problem with it as well.

“You take a look around Grambling’s campus and think about all the gay girls and guys that you,” Hubbard explained. “There are some who are just ridiculous with it, wearing shirts that say ‘I eat pussy’ with rainbow belts. And you have others, such as myself, who don’t go to that extreme, but yet and still, don’t hide what it is for anybody.

“I’m one of the most respected students at this university,” she continued. “The reason many more can relate to me is because I’m not being obscene. I don’t think wearing a shirt like that is appropriate for a man or a woman straight or gay.”

However, there are some perceptions that being gay changes the way a person thinks or makes them less of a person than a straight person. Hubbard strongly disagrees with that.

“Who you are attracted to physically doesn’t make you more or less than what you are,” she said. “It just a small fraction of who you are.