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Hate, homophobia are learned attitudes

I have been an ally for the LGBT community for many years, and in that time, I have spent a great deal of time getting to know this wonderful community of people, and their history.

LGBT people have been present throughout history, in every culture throughout the world. Homosexual orientation has also been proven to exist in hundreds of animal species. This is not just a "choice" exclusive to humans. In fact, it's not a choice at all. Think about it. Did any of us choose who we love or are attracted to?

When I planned to move down to the Twin Cities, one of my gay friends and his partner took me in for a couple months while I searched for an apartment of my own. In the time that I lived with them, I saw no different a relationship dynamic than any heterosexual couple I've ever seen.

I also know several same-sex couples who are married, and some of them do indeed have children. Children who are well cared for, and are more than likely being taught that we are all unique and that's OK.

As much as people want to grasp the "ideal" family of 60 years ago, the fact of the matter is there are all sorts of primary caretakers of children, single parents, other relatives, friends, etc., and their ability to care for these kids has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender.

Hate and homophobia are learned attitudes that are constantly projected so unjustly in this world it's disgusting. Homophobic bullying has resulted in many youth taking their own lives because they feel they live in a world that does not want them in it, or they can no longer put up with how they are treated by people who don't understand them.

Knowing that, I am so grateful that one of my best friends didn't succumb to an ordeal he went through in high school. He wasn't even out yet but a bunch of kids beat him up for being gay. That's something that's stayed with him, and believe me, I want nothing more than to be able to take away the pain he's felt because of it.

Imagine what it would be like to live day after day, hearing nothing but negativity about people like you, and living in constant fear for your safety even though you've done nothing wrong.

Sadie Ruge

Woodbury, Minn.