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Content warning for those who are sensitive to homosexuality and mental health topics. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive about those things, and if it would be easier for you to skip this article, feel free.

Recently, there have been famous sports players who have made hateful comments. Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He made and posted a video on social media of the men with the bra and the fact that they look amazing in boxing. The video says, “Look at this queer ass [n-word]. What has the world come to?

This comment is homophobic, and he was rightfully fined by the NBA for making it on Tuesday. They argue that the world is more accepting of religious communities than ever before is a bad thing. He posed the question, what did the world come to? Well, the world has become more accepting of religious people. However, it still has a long way to go.

There has been a lot of silence from NBA players regarding the video and Ant’s comments in general. Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon had something to post about though, and it wasn’t pretty. He didn’t say anything outright, and he probably didn’t intentionally spread homophobia. That was the result of his tweet, and it probably hurt a lot of Nuggets fans. I myself am part of the LGBTQIA+ (gay, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, inclusive) community, being bisexual. Asexual means someone who experiences little sexual attraction, and panromantic means I have a romantic interest in anyone. It doesn’t matter if they are male, female, in-between, transgender, etc.

I’m not accusing Aaron Gordon of being a hater, and I hope he’s not. He deleted the two tweets he made on Tuesday without any evidence, so the obvious interpretation is that he disagrees with the league’s decision to punish Anthony Edwards. With that interpretation, many sports fans have shown support for both Gordon and Edwards. Sayings such as “I didn’t do anything wrong,” or “Yeah, people are very rude these days. Rude people need to shut up.”

That wasn’t for everyone, but it was a shocking amount of people. Many people of faith struggle to find places to accept them, and if they find out some of their favorite players feel they are not what they are – it can cause mental health issues. Not only because of the players, but because many places jokes can be made at the expense of gay men, gays are often the subject of fetishization by straight men, transgender people often face harassment because they want to be themselves . There are many, many examples of people of faith being persecuted or otherwise affected.

According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and released in 2017, people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community are four times more likely than straight people to experience some form of victimization of violence. And I can personally attest to these results. I myself was bullied growing up. I first tried to come out as gay when I was 12, but was rejected by people saying it was just a phase I was going through and that I would “be right” eventually. I was thrown out by the social categories I belonged to. I was told several times to kill myself. I was harassed for wearing nails in public. I was called gay.

These things are so hurtful I struggle with my mental health, and a big part of my depression and anxiety is the trauma caused to me by the youth I tried to be myself. I have other queer friends who have experienced worse than that – some of my friends have been physically beaten for identifying as transgender or as gay. It’s an unfortunate fact that I don’t think many realize the full extent of it.

I don’t want to shame people who aren’t given the right information growing up – I want to help educate anyone who wants to hear me. I want to turn recent events into an opportunity to have an open conversation. It is true that no one will understand each other without having a conversation, so I want to have a conversation with the poor people, or I want to learn more about the rural community. Now, the sports community is in a depressing place, but if people start talking about it and advocate for equal treatment – then there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

So many people are brought up to be taught that homosexuality is against their religious beliefs, or that homosexuality is something to be ashamed of. In fact, they are people just like you. They just want to experience love the way they experience it without being judged and ridiculed. I hope that one day they get the experience, and that the NBA community can work towards becoming an environment where people with disabilities are accepted.

I want to have a conversation with you about these topics, so I’ll have a DM-open on my Twitter. I will respond to anyone who wants to discuss these topics for whatever reason. I will do my best to answer the comments under this article as well – and if you are a smart person I encourage you to do the same. I want to educate and educate our community – show that we are people who are looking for acceptance at the end of the day. I really hope that Aaron Gordon and Anthony Edwards try to educate themselves about these communities and that this is the beginning of a meaningful change in the social paradigm.

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