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            We were walking like we always did together on the "safe streets" of Columbia Missouri. Laughing and talking about the current men in our lives, we didn't notice the two boys who were following us. The next thing I remembered was grabbing my head after a strong hit, lying on the cold grass, and watching my best friend get beat up. "Faggot" "Homo" "Queer son of a Bitch". I listened to the two boys yell as they beat up my best friend, Joseph. .
             After that incident my rose colored glasses were removed forever. I thought that having my gay best friend was just as normal as having a straight best friend. Ignorance is bliss to a sixteen year old girl who had no idea how hateful the world we live in truly is. After that night I walked with caution and the fear of being beat up for being a "fag hag". One night, two boys, and years of hatred showed me how truly difficult Joseph's life would be just because he was gay. .
             Many people in the world have been taught so many things about homosexuality. People always assume that the values instilled in them by their parents, are the right ones. It's funny how we learn so fast the negative and take so long to learn the positives in life. Believe it or not, what your parents taught you may not always be correct. In fact studies prove that parents have a huge influence. "Studies suggest that children of accepting parents may be more tolerant overall" (Larsen, Reed, and Hoffman pg. 247).
             "My parents are hard core Catholics. I was raised to believe that Catholic boys married Catholic girls, and the rest of you were sinners. I can't help but sort of resent gays." (Sattler 2003) Believe it or not, these are the words from my own boyfriend's mouth. This shows how truly powerful parents are in the development of their children, and their children's beliefs. Ryan doesn't even know a gay person, yet he will tell me to my face that he resents them.
             Talking to people I have learned so much about the hatred and ignorance that surrounds me, surrounds all of us.

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