I've been surrounded by gay people all my life. Except, to me, they're just people. I guess growing up in community theater and then working in fashion and beauty led me to welcome a high number of gay people into my life. For that, I am thankful.
Since high school, a predominant number of my closest friendships have been forged with gay people. I've also been the first person someone has come out to on multiple occasions:
-- My best guy friend in high school, who, at 17, sat me down with my mother and brother and told us he was gay -- to which we responded, "That's great. Where do you want to eat dinner?"
-- A coworker, who admitted the "friend" she'd told me about on multiple occasions was actually her girlfriend. I responded, "Wonderful. I can't wait to meet her."
-- A college friend, who hesitantly told me he was gay over IM one night. I said, "Awesome. I'll see you tomorrow."
I watched my college friends experience what we later came to refer to as "the sophomore switch," where, one by one, they came to the realization that they were gay and dealt with it in their own ways. I watched them struggle with how to tell their families, with how to remain religious when their religions had condemned or shunned them. I listened as they recounted heartwrenching stories from their childhoods, of being called "fag" or being shoved into lockers or worse. My heart went out to each and every one of them, but at the same time, I admired their bravery and courage to be exactly who they were born to be, regardless of what others thought.
I've just never had a problem with anyone based on his or her sexual orientation, not to mention religion, skin color or other "abnormal" quality. If you're a mean person, THEN I have a problem with you. But otherwise? You're just a person, same as me. I embrace diversity and surround myself with people who are different than me. I can't imagine a life of sameness, of only entering into a friendship with someone who was exactly like me. How incredibly boring that must be.
I think about this issue constantly, but it's today's election that made me feel the need to say something. And, while I believe everyone has the right to choose the candidate they feel represents them best, I urge you to think about equality for all when voting. But especially for my gay friends, who, after all, are just people like you and me.