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I Used to Disrespect LGBTQ People

Facing What I Did

By Andrew PretzelPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
I Used to Disrespect LGBTQ People
Photo by Randy Laybourne on Unsplash

I regret how I treated someone during my younger years due to ignorance and a lack of understanding.

Around age 15–16, there was a gay classmate of mine who I was not very respectful towards at times.

I made hurtful comments and jokes that I’m sure caused them pain.

I cringe now thinking back on the way I acted.

No one deserves to feel disrespected or belittled because of their sexual orientation.

We were all just kids then, but it was still wrong of me to use sexuality as an insult or something to mock.

I have grown since that period in my life and learned that LGBTQ+ people are just normal human beings deserving of dignity and respect like anyone else.

While I can’t take back what I said or did, I hope that if this person from my past is reading this, they know how sincerely sorry I am.

There is no excuse for my behavior — only regret and a commitment to do better. I’ve learned that true courage is standing up for others, not putting them down.

If I could speak to my younger self, I’d tell him to open his mind and heart more to people different than him.

All I can do now is continue educating myself, call out prejudice when I see it, and set a respectful example for others.

Being kind costs nothing.

I hope that through living more inclusively and speaking up for equality, I can somehow make positive amends for the mistakes of my past.

We all have room to grow — the most important thing is choosing to grow in a direction of greater understanding and compassion.

I’ve replayed this memory in my head many times, trying to understand my actions.

All these years later, I still feel deep shame when I think about the hurtful things I said without considering how it might affect someone.

We were just kids back then, but my words cut deep.

“Why did you say that?” you asked me, with pain in your eyes.

I had no good answer for you.

In my foolishness, I never meant to cause such pain.

If only I could take it all back.

But time only moves forward, I’ve learned.

All I can do is be a kinder, more thoughtful person.

When I see someone struggling, I think of you and what you must have felt in that moment thanks to me.

I’ve grown since then, tried to treat all people with compassion.

But this memory keeps me humble.

“It’s never too late to say sorry”, as my grandma used to tell me.

I hope that’s true, and hope someday I’ll find the courage to apologize to you face to face.

Will you ever forgive a foolish boy for what he said so long ago? I don’t know. But I must follow MLK’s wise words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” All I can do is try to bring more light into the world.

“To err is human, to forgive divine,”

said someone.

I hope you might find it in your heart to forgive a mistake from my past.

It’s a lesson that will stay with me forever.

By Muhmed Alaa El-Bank on Unsplash

Having regrets is a common human experience. Most people report having regrets about their personal and professional life choices. Common regrets include career, education, romance/marriage, and children/family decisions.

Research shows that our biggest regrets tend to be things we didn’t do rather than things we did do. This suggests people regret inaction more than action. The fear of potential regret can sometimes prevent us from taking risks or pursuing opportunities.

Regrets about youth tend to diminish with age. As people get older, they report their regrets as less troubling and intense. This could be because aging provides more life experiences to gain perspective. Older adults also tend to be more future oriented than dwelling on the past.

ChildhoodTeenage yearsSecretsSchoolHumanityFriendshipEmbarrassmentBad habits

About the Creator

Andrew Pretzel

Anxious and depressed. Muhawahahaha! 😈 Hmm.. wait what? 🥴

>>>> Support my writting on Ko-Fi with just $1 <<<<

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Comments (5)

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  • Sid Aaron Hirjiabout a month ago

    It’s always hard to look at our past and recognize how wrong we were to act a certain way. Harder yet to forgive ourselves and move on. Absolutely it is never too late to apologize and forgive anyone who hurt you

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    I respect you putting yourself out on the line, admitting where you were in your head at that time and exhibiting the inner growth you so clearly are continually working on. People do jump to conclusions and we must stomach their reactions be they criticism or praise in my experience. I have always been very open hearted, minded to a fault in that empathy can lead to being misunderstood. I have learned not to declare myself an ally of any kind until I am properly knighted by whatever community feels they have entitlement to allow me in the club. Very happy to have another person seeing the beauty of love in any form.

  • Gabriel Huizenga2 months ago

    A powerful and vulnerable essay here. Thank you for sharing <3

  • Your writing was truly moving. I hope your friend reads it and know how sorry you are.

  • Lightbringer 2 months ago

    Every bit of the write up is breath-taking...

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