You open your eyes, as you look around you begin to realize you are in a hospital. The feeling of fear begins to set in. After a few breathes you begin to realize it is becoming harder to breath, you don’t know why but your lungs ache and feel like they are filling with fluid. Your breathing becomes labored… Breathe… Breath (pain) … Breath… Every breath you take is bringing in less and less oxygen. Breath… breath… blackness sets in… breath… breath… and you slowly give up the fight.
This was the reality of so many of our gay brothers and sisters in the 60’s and 70’s. Doctors believed being gay was a mental disorder. They used many methods to “cure” homosexuality. One of these methods was a drug used to creat fluid in the lungs to simulate the feeling of drowning (a chemical waterboarding) other therapies include electroshock, castration, genital mutilation, and worse of all lobotomy. The thought was that if you couldn’t cure the gay then it was better to disable it, so it wouldn’t spead. I can’t begin to understand how a parent or a “loved one” could choose to put their gay sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends through this kind of torture. Being gay was literally against the law in 49 of the 50 states. Acts of violence towards gays were common place, with no consequences. If you were “found out” your whole life was over, you couldn’t find a job or a place to live. Fear, hate, and discrimination were taught in the home, in the school, and promoted by society in general. The body count of this movement (if added together) rivals the Veitnam war. Luckily for me and my little family the world has progressed, the problem is the laws have not. There have been no laws passed in Salt Lake City to protect the gay community. This city could revert back to the way things used to be. We can’t allow this to happen. There was a proposed bill in the last session of the state legislature (the anti discrimination bill) to protect and uphold the gay community. It was voted down! There is now a similar county wide effort being proposed, we need to make sure this one passes. This is a chapter in human history that should never be repeated, and it is up to us, our generation, to make sure it doesn’t. So please go out there and make the difference.