If you haven’t heard about this yet, a Florida teenager is facing criminal charges over her relationship with her girlfriend after she turned eighteen. This is my open letter for her.
I don’t know you, and the possibility that we will ever meet is paper-thin. I am standing with you anyway. I am sorry, Kaitlyn, that you are facing this discrimination. I am sorry that there are people telling you that you are wrong, that the way you feel is wrong, that you deserve criminal punishment. You do not. The only thing that changed was the turning of the day, from seventeen to eighteen. It isn’t fair, and you don’t deserve it. There are people out there saying terrible things. There are people out there saying it isn’t an act of homophobia, but it is. And I am sorry that even in 2013, something like this can happen. I hope that you can feel the support around the country for you right now. I hope you can take that support and use it to drown out the negativity being forced upon you. I hope that there will be justice for you, that you will be victorious. I hope you can teach people about their bigotry. I hope there will be a change in our society.
But either way, Kaitlyn, I am here, and I am standing with you.
A consensual, high-school relationship is not the same thing as a thirty-year-old predator abusing a fifteen-year-old. When I was in high school, there were dozens of relationships between kids who had turned/were turning eighteen and younger students. This is not predatory, this is not sexual misconduct, this is not child abuse if the relationship is consensual between both parties. And it seems that Kaitlyn’s relationship with her girlfriend was consensual and that Kaitlyn did not pressure her girlfriend. This is a case not about age difference, not about “lewd and lascivious battery,” but rather a case of parents who were angry about their daughter being in a homosexual relationship, and instead of voicing their concern in an appropriate way, waited until their daughter’s girlfriend turned eighteen and then pressed charges. This is about parents who are so bigoted, homophobic, and immature that instead of talk to their daughter or Kaitlyn or Kaitlyn’s parents, they chose to press criminal charges and potentially ruin another girl’s life.
I am sickened by the blatant homophobia in this case, and in the hundreds of other instances of things like this I see day in and day out living in the supposed “land of the free.” And it is my sincere hope that someday, we will be able to move beyond this kind of bigotry (and douchebagery). In the meantime, I’m choosing to stand with Kaitlyn.