DISCRIMINATION: Treating people differently through prejudice; unfair treatment of one person or group, usually because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation or gender.I woke this morning to discover that Arizona has a bill waiting to be signed that would allow businesses to turn away homosexuals. I feel so ashamed of the fact that I live in this state. Here it is 2014 and Arizona is taking huge steps backward. Politically, I strongly disagree with most everything that the state of Arizona stands for. Leaving this state will be the best day of my life.
My personal experience;One would think that growing up in San Francisco I would have been introduced to discrimination early on, but that is not the case. I was taught about it, yes. Living in San Francisco allowed people to be who they were, real and organic. Understanding discrimination and actually being discriminated upon are completely different things.
The first time I experienced discrimination I was in high school here in Arizona. (Scottsdale) Classmates would ask where I was from and I would respond San Francisco. Their immediate thought was that I must be gay. I also realized that everyone divided themselves up into specific groups or cliques. I only attended private schools and the ones in Scottsdale were very different from the ones I went to in California. Financial status as apparently very important in Scottsdale, so by proxy, the kids were divided into three categories; #1 The Wealthy, #2 The Very Wealthy & #3 Those who had more money than the law should allow. In San Francisco, everyone was financially secure but nobody ever spoke about it. No one cared. In Scottsdale however, it was all about the clothes that I wore, the car that I drove, my summer/winter vacation destinations, my parent’s jobs, my address – and how many addresses we had.Since I was new, nobody really knew much about me so they had no alternative other than to turn their perception into fact. They assumed that I was Latin American or of a mixed ethnicity because of my skin tone and features. They assumed that I was in the 2nd financial category because I drove a Land Rover, wore designer clothes and had more than one address. Initially, I felt as though I would fit in but none of these things really mattered because, at the end of the day, they still believed that I was gay. That in of itself was social suicide in Scottsdale. Being that I was confident in the fact that I was gay however, I decided to rise above it. I figured that I needed to be stronger than the people who were judging me.
My prison experience;Coming to prison, I was discriminated against not only for being gay, but also for being financially secure, light skinned, attractive, and educated. Saying that I was hated – would be an understatement.
Years later, after more fights than I care to count, and a couple of years in the “hole”, I have established myself in a society that I naturally shouldn’t fit into at all. I don’t want you to think that I have changed everyone’s minds because I haven’t. I have managed to enlighten a few, but in truth, the majority has simply chosen to accept me because it is easier than explaining how they have lost a fight to a homosexual. Many of them also realize that I am smarter than they are and so, in a way, I have Become an asset to them.You have to remember that this will always be a testosterone based environment. Even though I am masculine, being gay still makes me weak in their eyes.
Yes, I know all about being discriminated upon.