Salt Hate City
People here in the United States and specially in Salt Lake City, are not treated equally. These people are hated, and told they are a “virus.” I am talking about the discrimination and hate towards the LGBT community. These people are told the lifestyle they live is not acceptable by God. Gays are viewed as disgusting and not treated with the same dignity and respect as heterosexual people. These people are the subject of violent hate crimes, bullied in school, and murdered for being openly gay. According to Kirby, a twenty-three-year-old African American gay male, Salt Lake City has been the toughest place to live being gay.
Christopher Ahmon (Kirby) was born on May 5, 1993 in Jacksonville, Florida. Kirby didn’t live a normal childhood. He was raised by a single mother and barely knew his father. Kirby explained that his mom was a strong woman, that worked countless hours to provide for her children. Kirby said, “She was my light, when I was in a very dark place, and she was taken from me.” At the age of nine, Kirby got news that his mother was in a terrible car accident. She was hit and killed by a drunk driver coming home from work.
With the death of his mother, Kirby was forced to live with his father that he hardly knew. Kirby describes his dad as a “piece of shit.” “He treated me worse than a dog” said Kirby. He would abuse Kirby both physically and mentally. Kirby recalls of a time that his father locked him in a room for what felt like days without food or water.
One night at the age of thirteen, Kirby was taken to his uncle’s house while his father went out to the bar. While there, Kirby recalls his uncle and few of his friends taking him into a room where they tried to tell him to do heroin with them. When Kirby refused, two the men started to beat him. Kirby cried out for help from his uncle, but he turned away and left Kirby with them. From there the men took Kirby and started to rape and molest him.
When Kirby thinks back to the night he was raped, and about how his dad treated him growing up, he says those are the reasons he believes he is gay. “I think after those experiences something triggered in my brain telling me to think it was okay to be with a male,” Kirby said. Kirby also stated, “Because I didn’t have a father figure in my life, I think I try to go out and find a male that will take care of me, as if to fill that need that I never had.”
At the age of fourteen Kirby came out of the closet. He completely changed who he was. He started wearing dresses, and leggings with a belly shirt. He started to try on lipsticks and other forms of makeup. He told me, “When I finally decided to come out as gay, I had never in my life felt so alive. I felt like I was starting over and I could be who I wanted to be.”
I asked Kirby how the people of Jacksonville treated him, and was it difficult for him to be seen in public? He said, “Back home, yes there were people that didn’t agree with homosexuality, but they minded their own business.” He continued, “I feel like there were more people that loved me to death, versus people that attacked me for it.” However, Utah is a different story according to Kirby.
Kirby moved to Utah just two years ago in search of a new job and also because he heard it was safe, and has a great economy. So far, Utah has not been so kind to Kirby. Kirby is attacked here more than he ever was in Jacksonville. He stated, “Here, people will go out of their way to tell me how they feel about my decisions. I can’t go anywhere without people staring at me and calling me a faggot, sinner, and sometimes they even call me a nigger.” Kirby told me the attacks are so bad here in Utah, he has had to create alter-egos to be able to deal with what is being said to him.
Christopher hasn’t always been Kirby. He created this person as a stronger side of himself. Kirby doesn’t care what people say about him. He said “I just kind of let people throw hateful words at me, but they hit me like nothing, and turn to dust.” Christopher from time to time also goes by Ken. Ken is more of a “cunty” side of himself, according to Kirby. It’s the side of him where he is fully himself, he is happy, and he looks pretty. This is where he considers himself a “bad bitch” and will snap back at people that say rude things about him.
Things in Salt Lake City are only getting worse according to Kirby. Just this week a man approached Kirby while he was walking to work. He told Kirby that he was a virus living here and “we need to rid of all of you.” This man was so upset about the fact that Kirby was being himself that he went out of his way to attack Kirby.
I was unaware of how bad this problem was up until I met Kirby. I have witnessed the discrimination and hate towards Kirby. I have watched as people have called him a faggot and mocked him. It makes me worry about us as human beings. Kirby has not had an easy life up to this point, and when he finally feels like he can be himself, others are going out of their way to try and ruin him.
We are all equal, gay, white, black, male, female or transgender. Nobody should ever feel that they are not accepted, especially when they have finally found who they are truly meant to be. Kirby is one of the most genuine people I have met. He doesn’t try to attack you, so don’t attack him.