The first time I saw the famous Phelps family protesters, I was in complete shock. I remember seeing a little boy, about five years old, standing on the corner of Washburn Campus, holding a sign that said, “God hates gays.” Initially, I was disgusted.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw these protesters was a deep feeling of shock. I have never seen such hate. I come from a beautiful and diverse city where differences are celebrated, not shamed. However, in my experience, Kansas is a very conservative state. With that being said, I was raised to respect others opinions and beliefs regardless if I agree or not.
I believe that everyone should have the right to express their beliefs, I want to raise my children to respect and recognize diversity to its finest. I want my children to understand that not everyone will agree with their beliefs, not even myself, but to never alter their beliefs. I saw that passion in those children that were protesting, however, I want my children to understand that they should never try to force someone else to believe what they believe, or shame someone because of their beliefs.
I was raised by a single, gypsy mother and she has raised us to always ask questions when we don’t understand something. My mom is also catholic therefore, we attended a Catholic mass. I have attended so many different religious communities and I have come to a conclusion that there is a higher power, whether that be God the father, God the Mother, Allah or what ever else may be a possibility, I believe that the higher power we pray to, ‘God’, has no gender, has no bias and has no hate. I believe that this higher power created us all exponentially different. Each human being was created perfectly, differences and all.
This topic became important to me when I heard that President Trump implemented the freedom of speech order that protects students to express themselves freely. This order was put in place only after a Trump supporter was punched in the face for pushing his bias on another student at a university in the states earlier this semester. I thought that this was powerful that Trump made it a priority to make sure that students have the right to free speech, where as the president has still not made an order for mandatory unisex bathrooms in each building on campus.
This scares me because the people, like the protesters who openly express their hate towards the LGBTQ community have the right to say whatever they feel and feel comfortable to do so in such a cruel fashion, whereas, we don’t see the LGBTQ community standing on the corner saying they hate anyone.
The freedom of expression on college campus can either be harmful or beneficial depending on how the students decide to utilize and vocally express their beliefs.
I believe everyone should have the right to express themselves, whether it is a popular opinion or not, however, I believe that people should also keep common courtesy in mind as well. Essentially, women don’t try to convince men to become women, it’d be ridiculous.