By Larissa Somohutin
Take a moment to visualize the person you care about the most. Now take a moment to imagine this scenario. It's Thursday night and the people you live with are getting ready for an evening of partying. You are sitting anxiously in front of your computer, pretending to be immersed in your school work. Periodically, someone pokes their head into your room and urges you to join them for the night. Each time, you decline, "I have studying to do".
One of your friends is meeting their partner at the bar. This friend knows someone who would be absolutely perfect for you, and wants to introduce you to this person very soon, preferably tonight. You say, no thanks, for what seems like the hundredth time, you say you're not interested in dating right now.
That's not true. You are dating. In fact, you are in a caring loving relationship with a wonderful person. As your friends busily ready themselves for their night out, you silently will them to hurry up. You cannot wait to meet your partner. You wish that they could all meet. But, you know your friends would not approve if they met your partner and your friends. So, you continue to work away at your keyboard. Finally, the last person asks you again if you like to join them. Once again, you decline. When you hear the door close, you pick up the phone and call your partner and arrange to meet at the corner of College and Gordon in an hour - that leaves you just enough time to get showered and walk. You rush out the door, your heart fluttering with anticipation. When you see your partner, your heart races. You both smile at each other, but you do not hug, or kiss, or even touch hands to say hello. You could not bear it if anyone saw you. You decide to go for a walk through the Arboretum. You cannot risk going to a bar, each other's homes, or even the movies. For the next hour and a half, the night is perfect. You are with the one person you care about the most, and you are enjoying every minute.
When it finally comes time to part, you briefly shake hands, being careful not to linger too long, smile, and part your separate ways. Then you go back to your room, back into your study clothes, back into the closet and wait for your friends to come home.
Imagine this. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people feel this way about the people whom they love. Many must keep their feelings a secret because they risk ridicule, exclusion, harassment, or even violence. How would you feel it you could not tell the world that you are in love?