I rarely turn on the television anymore.
We live in a world dominated by "reality TV," where housewives, dancing stars and undercover bosses have become escapist entertainment.
Unfortunately, today's true reality is filled with violence and hatred, so we're forced to rely on the "entertainment" world as our personal pause button.
People in the real world have turned their backs on each other, and the media is having a field day portraying this negativity.
I've never understood how people can hate so deeply.
I was raised to embrace the differences of those around me. Skin color, religious beliefs, sexual preferences -- my siblings and I were taught to look beyond that.
This has allowed me to see people for who they are -- not what they are.
It fascinates me that, regardless of "differences," everyone shares the same desire: to be loved.
Sadly, we live in a world where the concept of true love has traditionally been defined as that between a man and a woman.
Social norms state that people in same-sex relationships simply don't deserve to be celebrated in the same fashion as their heterosexual counterparts.
If you disagree with me, think about the word "wedding," and tell me the first image that comes to your mind.
A bride -- and a groom?
This is the way we've been trained to think. But what exactly makes it right?
Finding love in this day and age is no walk in the park for anyone. For those like myself, who are attracted to the opposite sex, when we do find that love, it's widely accepted. The only challenges we face in our relationships are the ones we impose upon ourselves.
For those attracted to the same sex, it's not that simple.
And it's nowhere as easy -- or widely accepted.
Homosexuals are unfairly attacked from some of the most unlikely places.
Let's talk about four.
1. Catholic Church: Blessed are not thou
It's no secret that the Catholic Church is opposed to same-sex relationships. They have blatantly said that same-sex couples have no place in God's kingdom. They are forbidden to get married in the church and are seen as sinners.
This is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, with more than 1 billion members.
We get angry if a friend doesn't agree with our relationship. Imagine a following that largely opposed to your love?
Coming from a Catholic who's always put God first in life, it's mind-boggling that the church calls same-sex relationships a sin. For years, not enough was even done to keep predatory priests from abusing children.
Loving someone should never be a sin in a world drenched with hate -- and abuse.
2. Government: We, the 'Certain' people
Ireland most recently approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, making it the first nation in the world to do so.
It's 2015. Yes, it's taken that long.
Here in the United States, we have told same-sex couples it's OK to get married, but only in a certain number of states.
The sad part is certain politicians running for president in 2016 use equality as a campaign booster. Only problem is, years ago, those same politicians strongly opposed it.
Why the sudden change of heart?
3. Professional sports: Personal foul
Forget your God-given ability. If you decide to step onto the court or playing field, the media will scrutinize your every move.
It will drive the ratings of any talk show, sports radio show, and it will give SportsCenter anchors something to talk about for weeks on end.
All because you prefer to love the same sex.
Ironically, there are not many openly gay professional athletes. But men who drag their girlfriends out of elevators, stab and kill make millions to play professional sports.
Athletes don't mind playing the game with these individuals, but have problems when it comes to those who prefer same-sex relationships.
We can't say for certain if that's entirely true, but that's sure as hell how the media portrays it.
Makes total sense.
4. Home: Family matters (If they accept you)
I think we all have the desire to find someone whom our parents can love.
Someone who can sit at our dinner table and feel like they have been there for years.
In my search for a woman to spend my life with, I always think about how she'll fit into my family and how accepting my parents will be. It's important; I want them to love her as much as I will.
Besides, she's going to be their daughter as much as I am their son.
Beyond that, I've always strived to make my parents proud, in everything I do. I'd never want them to look at me as a disappointment.
Many families refuse to accept their gay or lesbian children.
What does that even feel like? And how is rejecting your own child acceptable in this world?
Where can these people turn when society is unaccepting and their own families are embarrassed by who they are?
Put yourself in those shoes for a moment. Think about that before you judge.
I've spent the last eight years working for a company that values diversity. During that time, I've met some the brightest and kindest people in the world.
Many of them happen to be in same-sex relationships.
When people will inevitably ask me what I know about the struggles they face, I've heard their stories firsthand.
Every single day. For eight years.
When you invest in people for who they are and not what they are, you learn quite a bit about their life and journey. They let you in, opening your eyes to more than anything you can find in books or on television. That is the definition of reality.
It's simply not our place to judge anyone in life.
We're all equal. We bleed when we get cut.
At the end of the day, everyone deserves the opportunity to love and be loved.
We need to respect that -- together.
The foundation for peace is love.
And love must always rule.
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