We should all have the same goal - equal rights for everyone

[Clockwise from top left picture] Me with Sam Brownback,
Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Fred Thompson;
all 2008 Republican presidential candidates.
How I went from being a young conservative to a gay rights activist, and why you should become a gay rights activist, too.

by Josh Langdon, e-mail josh@GLUEamerica.org
June 30, 2011

Entering my freshman year of college, I was an unapologetic young Republican. Like, really unapologetic. I thought the war in Iraq was the right decision and evolution isn’t real because monkeys don’t spontaneously become human. Naturally, I ended up as the elected treasurer of the South Carolina College Republicans and campus chair of John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

One of the perks of being involved in politics is attending fancy events and fundraisers, most of which are free to attend as a volunteer. Actually, this is how most of the volunteers learned about the 2008 Republican presidential candidates and how my chapter recruited Sam Brownback to speak at our alma mater College of Charleston. For those of you who don’t know Sam Brownback, just know that he is the current governor of Kansas and has never voted in favor of any gay rights issue.

My normal college republican responsibilities included supporting the platform of the Republican Party, which obviously led me to argue against basic gay rights such as marriage equality and serving openly in the military. Although I was initially quite content with this, the more I debated the more I understood and agreed with gay rights.

Eventually, and even though it was difficult to admit, I realized I was gay. My life was filled with denial and self-loathing until then, and it was quite ironic that college republicans led me to the biggest self-discovery of my life.

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I then enrolled in a gay and lesbian politics class, which helped me truly understand the history and the struggles of the gay community. I learned about the Stonewall riots and the persecution of gay people through McCarthyism, newly discovered history I wasn't even remotely familiar with when I lobbied against gay rights as a Republican.

A fellow HRC intern Nicole and I.
I finally understood that while a gay person might face discrimination and adversity, I didn’t have to let that ruin my future or lower my expectations. I also realized that I shouldn't have to worry about not getting married or not getting a job just because I am gay rather than straight. I wanted to do everything in my power to change these stigmas and stereotypes and ultimately decided to join the gay community in the fight for equal rights.

Now, I urge you to do the same and join the gay rights movement if you have not yet done so. It doesn't matter if you are straight or gay. It doesn't matter if you are Republican or Democrat. 
Write letters to newspapers urging people to discuss gay rights. Talk about the issues with your friends, family, and even strangers. Help educate and inform those who do not understand or may not be exposed to homosexuality or gay rights.

And even though we may come from different backgrounds or may disagree on other issues, we can all agree that every American deserves equal rights. Gay? Straight? Who cares. Are we really that different anyway?

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