I’m a girl. I’m a skinny, not completely hideous, girl. I have been subjected to horrible slurs, discrimination, and shady situations. I have been told I’m not smart, not worth anything unless I’m lying down, and that I should just “sit there and look pretty.” I’ve lost male friends because their girlfriends didn’t want them around me because they didn’t “understand” how we could just “be friends.” I know what it feels like to be regulated to one thing, and I know what it feels like to have people judge you and be threatened by you and wish you ill will because of one thing. Due to these experiences, I have a pretty hard time when people tell me I’m pretty. I always correct them with “I’m smart.” I just don’t want to be one thing. And I don’t want that one thing to take anything else away from me. Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly and work so hard for equal rights. It’s why I’m a feminist and it’s why I strongly support equality for all.
There’s a joke in my family that I can’t process normal human emotions. I give all my love and attention to animals and “the underdogs.” If I see a kid with glasses and an inhaler I’ll immediately well up—no matter what the situation. I don’t like bullies and I don’t stand by and watch it happen. I can’t. I can’t understand dehumanizing someone—mainly because I’ve felt it and I’d never wish that on anyone. So when a story like the one I’m about to tell you comes around, I tend to get really involved.
Jordan Addison is a college student in Virginia. He has a long history of being bullied, and has been assaulted quite often for being gay. Addison’s car has been vandalized four times and covered in gay slurs and hate speech each and every time. “The first time, there were some homophobic slurs keyed into the side of it. Then the second time I had die keyed into it,” said Addison.
When word got out about this latest assault on Addison, a local repair shop took action. The employees at Quality Auto Paint and Body in Roanoke asked 10 other businesses to donate and help them repair Addison’s car for free. Richard Henegar Jr., the manager of the repair shop, headed the project. “Once I saw the vandalism that was done to it, I said ‘That’s uncalled for. We’re gonna fix your car’. That’s the least we can do,” said Henegar.
The employees put in over 100 hours of work on the car. They put on new tires, a new paint job, tinted windows, a security system, and a new stereo. Altogether the car makeover came to over $10,000, which was all taken care of by the charity of other businesses and Quality Auto Paint and Body themselves. To see people coming together and standing up for what’s right and embracing someone … it really makes you stop and think.
I took this story to mean that change is possible, and this story made me feel like we’re moving in the right direction. We’re winning the fight, or at least starting to take an edge over on the other side, and that’s encouraging, if you ask me.
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