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Imani Simmons
9 Honors Lit and Com
Ms. Smit
January 11, 2016
Why LGBT Rights Need to Happen:
An Analysis of The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
Love is the source of many emotions; happiness, pleasure, fear, melancholy, and much more. The
effect of love can range from falling in love for the first time to experiencing heart-break to
marriage. Most couples have free will towards who they can marry, but couples of the same sex
receive a large amount of prejudice just because of who theyre in love with. Although the
United States recently made gay marriage legal across the whole country on June 26, 2015, most
gay couples are still judged harshly throughout certain states. Nick Burd portrays the experience
of the confusion and prejudices against LGBT community members through the eyes of the
character, Dade Hamilton.
Dade Hamilton is a closeted gay male struggling to come out to his parents. Throughout the book
Dade experiences different emotions while trying to come out of the closet. Dade has already
accepted his sexuality however, he fears being rejected by his father and worries that his
sexuality will drive apart his parents marriage even more. Im gay, I told these things, Im a
homo. I would then wait for the orphaned drinking glass to shatter, the ceiling fan to drop, or for
the soap to let out a blood curling scream. But nothing ever happened. The world went on as
ever (Burd 16). Dade comes out to different things in his room and bathroom trying to practice
coming out to his parents. Each time he waits for the objects to react in a negative way to his
secret, but they never do. He realizes that if he comes out to his parents, they may react

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negatively or not at all, but if they do the world will still continue. Although he knows this, he is
still terrified to come out. Closer to the middle of the book, Dade begins to feel the burden of his
secret. He had recently found out that his father had been having an affair and his thoughts
pushed him to come out right then and there. I wanted to tell him about the nights I stared up
at the ceiling fan and told it I was gay. I wanted to do all this and test him, to see if he really
loved me (Burd 114). Most LGBT kids are terrified of coming out to their parents because they
fear rejection. Some parents today are cruel enough to disown their children or kick them out of
their house for being queer. Throughout the book Dade meets many friends who are a part of the
LGBT community. Alex who is gay and later becomes Dades boyfriend, and Lucy who is an out
of the closet lesbian. As Dade continues to get to know the two, they influence him to come out
to his parents and he realizes that he needs to do it for himself because his secret is becoming a
heavy burden. Mom and Dad, Im gay (Burd 189). This is one of Dades biggest moments in
the book, coming out the closet. He described the house as silent except the tension between
him and his parents was very think. Dade asked if it was okay because it had been his biggest
fear. His mom responds, I dont know, and his dad, I knew, I always knew. I hoped I was
wrong, but apparently I wasnt I knew (Burd 190). His mom says its okay but she was trying
to smile and his father was still bouncing his leg and in shock. Most parents dont know how to
respond to their child coming out or some even send them to church camps to brainwash the
gay out of you. The fact that parents today dont know how to respond to their children coming
out means that everyone needs to be educated on the LGBT community, and stop treating it like
a disorder or sickness.
Part 2: Connection to Events Today

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The United States has recently made same-sex marriage legal in the country, making it one of the
few countries that have it legalized. On June 26, 2015, America made gay marriage legalized
nationwide due to President Obamas commitment to the LGBT community. At the beginning of
2015, Obama repeated his commitment for legal and social equality for LGBT Americans.
Throughout the year LGBT members were allowed to be leaders for administration, and equality
for LGBT members in the military and gay marriage increased. Throughout Obamas
repetitiveness towards gay rights, he explicitly included the lesbian, bisexual and transgender
community and argued that LGBT Americans deserves the same protections and rights as other
Americans. (Miller) Although people are still struggling for their rights, gay and lesbian rights
for Americans have come quicker than any civil rights. (Zonkel and Grobaty) Discrimination
against LGBTs correlate with racial injustice. The faces of the LGBT community are
predominately white, and even though everyones goal is marriage and rights; queer people of
color have more to worry about. Jon Higgins says, but the issues people of color are facing
are more than marriage What about my rights as a black, queer man? ... How are we enriching
the lives of queer people of color outside of marriage? (Zonkel and Grobaty) This year, there
will be a lot of complications towards granting discrimination protections against LGBT people
or religious people exemptions to nonprofits and businesses the object to gay marriage.
William Pound thinks there will be a significant number of bills seeing to advance either
religious rights or the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Even though
the same-sex marriage law requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, only 20 states have
non-discriminating laws against sexual orientation and gender identity. The ACLU is trying to
broaden the list of states that contain laws against discrimination towards sexual orienteering and
gender identity. They are targeting at least half a dozen states including Michigan. (Lieb) Fair

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Michigan has recently begun a petition to put a non-discrimination amendment on the Michigan
constitution that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender,
and gender identity. The petition started collecting signatures at the beginning of January and
has until July to collect 315,564 signatures. Every state has same-sex marriage, but lesbian could
be fired from her job just by talking about her wedding. Alyssa Hodgson says that if the
amendment passes, It would send a message that Michigan does not tolerate discrimination
against the LGBT community.(FOX 47 News)
Part 3: Call to Action
I believe that America has made huge steps to making LGBT rights happen. From The United
States legalizing same-sex marriage to the ACLU expanding the list of states with laws against
discrimination against sexual orienteering and gender identity. In my opinion, we cant do much
to fix the situation of homophobic and transphobic people because there will always be ignorant
people against any justice towards the LGBT community. But, I believe that we can still educate
people on the LGBT community and why they need their rights. We need to keep people who are
open-minded in government offices and enforce the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
transgender people across the nation because there is no legitimate reason that LGBT people,
people of color, women, or religion shouldnt have the equivalent rights of a heterosexual, white,
male in the land of the free.

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Works Cited
FOX 47 News. "LGBT Community Reacts to Steps toward Changing Discrimination Law." WSYM.
WSYM-TV, 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
Lieb, David A. "States Plan Renewed Debate On LGBT Rights, Religious Freedom." HuffPost Politics.
TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 02 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
Miller, Hayley. "Obama Administration Continues Support of LGBT Community | Human Rights
Campaign." Human Rights Campaign. The Human Rights Campaign, 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 10
Jan. 2016.
Zonkel, Phillip, and Tim Grobaty. "Generation X Helped Pave the Way for LGBT Rights." Generation
X Helped Pave the Way for LGBT Rights. Long Beach Press Telegram, 03 Jan. 2016. Web. 10
Jan. 2016.