A Crown of Violets

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Crowns of violets and roses
*you wore beside me.
*Many ritual garlands

coiled around your tender throat
*made of flowers***in full bloom
–Sappho

When I was in high school, I attended an all-girl, pronominally black catholic private school that was found to help educate black girls by nuns. A memory that still resonates with me was the expulsion of a fellow classmate for being gay. Even though the nuns never explicitly stated that “homosexual was wrong” we were taught every year about being “sexually pure for God”. My classmate, let’s call her Sara, was as normal as can be for a high school sophomore, well adjusted, and well-rounded. One day she came to school excited about a new relationship she was in but did not disclose the name of her partner. Another classmate found that strange and started the rumor that Sara was dating a girl, it was true but that student had no way of knowing that. I’ll never forget seeing her crying in the main lobby of our building next to her mother and the principal as she was being told to remove her belongings from her locker. This was the first time that I can remember witnessing discrimination against people in the LGBTA community. 

While it has been well documented for games the discrimination the gay and queer people face by religious organizations is still very much a prominent thing. Of course, that intolerance does not cover the ramped sexual assaults and rape allegations about clergymen that the Catholic Church has spent years hiding and covering up. The one thing that I hate most about those cases, besides the raping of children, is that it can be used to further the ideology that homosexuality is linked to child pedophiles. I have always wondered where this mythos possibly originated from so I asked my mother, who believes this and whos a child of the ’60s. She told me that when she was little she was shown a video that told her that in school. After hours of searching Youtube, I found it. 

The propaganda has helped spread a very ignorant and malicious lie for generations and at this point has become a part of the American narrative for many homosexuals. Thankfully, because of individuals like Activists Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson, many gay and queer people of today are growing up resources and help to combat this belief. while there are many organizations I can name, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) earned national and international recognition for the activism and education against homophobia and discrimination it has achieved since its founding in 1985. Another group that I would like to mention is The Matthew Shepherd Foundation, a non-profit organization that was founded in 1998 after the horrific killing of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student who was beaten and left to die in a field for simply being gay. I believe that it is the social responsibility of every person to educate themselves about the difference of others in a free society. Only through education and empathy will we truly become a nation that all citizens are respected equally.

Cite:

Press, T. A. (2021, October 5). About 333,000 children were abused within France’s Catholic Church, a report finds. NPR. Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2021/10/05/1043302348/france-catholic-church-sexual-abuse-report-children.

Sappho, ., & Powell, J. (2007). The poetry of Sappho. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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