Thursday, September 27, 2012

Permanent Pride

On September 20th, 2012, I got my first tattoo:

It reads "Love is never wrong," and wrapping around my ankle are 3 sets of couples holding hands - 2 men, 1 man and 1 woman, and 2 women.

As a matter of luck in scheduling, September 20th coincided with the one-year anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that kept LGBT members of the United States military from being open about their sexual orientation.

 LGBT equality stands as the human rights issue closest to my heart. I have endured harassment over the years because my bisexuality does not fit the typical Southern American's definition of acceptable. It took me until this year to completely accept my orientation. I display my tattoo as a badge of pride in that accomplishment.

I live my life as a relatively quiet individual. I have strong opinions, but neglect to share them out of fear of intimidation. My dislike of conflicts with people holding strongly opposing viewpoints leads me to shy away from wearing my political t-shirts. When I do gather up enough courage to wear the tees, I frequently hold my arm or purse in front of the message in a paranoid attempt to avoid controversy. I realized this pathetic display had to stop. So what if some moron comes along and disagrees with me? That's life. It's a complete disservice if I stay silent about an issue I claim to hold dear. LGBT equality's importance to me far outweighs any future harassment I might receive. I smirk knowing there's nothing bigots can do about the tattoo anyway - it's not going anywhere, no matter how much they hate it. I could cover up the tattoo if I so wish, but it's not like a t-shirt I can remove at the end of the day. It's literally and figuratively a part of me now.

It's obvious that my sexuality played a substantial role in my decision to get this tattoo, but I was not the only person I had in mind. I would not be here today without the love of my friends of all sexual orientations. "Love is never wrong" is a simple but straightforward message to let friends and other equality supporters know that they are my brothers and sisters. I was supported with love; this is my way of returning it. Good friends taught me that their first concern about a relationship I'm in is not the sex of my partner, but my happiness. They've compelled me to continue spreading this message wherever I go, carrying their support with me every step of the way.

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