Hate speech hurts; stand up for equality

I have lived in Durango for five years and have felt at home from the very moment that I visited. My partner and I have been together a year as of May 31. Predominantly, this community has been supportive and non-judgmental about our relationship, and I have heard very few homophobic comments directed toward my girlfriend and me. However, recently while riding our bikes down Main Avenue, a man screamed epithets at my girlfriend and me. It was enormously disconcerting. I have no way of knowing who this man was or how he knew that we were a gay couple, unless he knew us personally. That is the most disturbing part. How could someone we knew say something so disturbing? How could someone hate so blindly that he would yell homophobic slurs at us while we simply rode our bicycles?

I think that this letter to the editor may be helpful to those that don’t realize that even “the gays” have feelings. Both my partner and I cried that night, out of shock and revulsion. I am still reeling from what happened. Homosexuality, whether you view it as a choice or genetic, does not de-humanize me or anyone else. Religious beliefs or political values do not change the fact that the LGBTQIA community and the heterosexual community will have to coexist in this town. We are all human, we all have emotions, and we can all be hurt.

I hope that this may open the eyes of some of those they may feel hatred toward those with a different sexual orientation or identification than their own. I hope that this community can heighten its awareness around homophobia and speak out against those that choose hatred over acceptance. All of these hopes are likely to come true, given that this community is made up of some of the most wonderful people I have ever known. However, the fight for acceptance and equality is not over until we all stand up for one another and fully combat hate-speech by voicing our support of the people that it targets.

Jessica Flora


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