Why are people treated differently? Why is one accepted freely while another is flatly rejected? Since we all come into this life the same way, at what point does our equality end? Is it in the nursery at the hospital where most children spend their first days with their peers and adult strangers? Do the medical professionals treat each child differently? Maybe, sometimes, by some people; but I think the transformation starts once we leave the nursery and enter our socialized environment. From that point on we struggle to stay close to "normal."

If we're a little eccentric or colored, or if we choose to love someone who is eccentric or colored or of the same gender, then we are either immediately or eventually subgrouped, ostracized and outcast by people who are afraid to stray too far from their accepted definition of "normal."

But, get this! Some of these so called "normal" people sometimes overlap into those very same groups that they try so emphatically to avoid. I mean, white men aren't the only people who discriminate. We all do it at times -- people of color, males, females, gays, straights, physically challenged, Christians and atheists; we're all guilty of prejudice.

Yet, all is not hopeless -- not for me at least, and I hope not for you. I say we all work at making tolerance and acceptance the new "norm." Cast out fear and rejection, and welcome in love and compassion. Are we afraid of losing the top position? The top is only one of many desirable positions, all equally enjoyable. As a group, let's make a paradigm shift toward re-creating what is considered "normal" in our society; if in no other area, then at least where love is concerned.

Growing up in public doesn't have to be so painful. Life has its problems and complications, and most of us work to survive and hope to make a difference. Not one of us needs the extra burden of overcoming additional obstacles thrust on us by ourselves and our yoke mates.

Thank you to all the gays, lesbians, sympathizers and supporters who struggle to extend equal rights into the final frontier -- that place where few have dared to tread. Because of you, I enjoy more of the freedom that describes true America ... the freedom to love whom I choose.


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