Have you ever been in a situation where you were unjustifiably mistreated and disrespected by another Pico just for the fact of how you look, the color of your skin, your sex preference, where you come from, or even for being a newbie. In another words, just for being "YOU" as if this was a crime or disease.
I don't doubt that we all have experienced some kind of discrimination at one point in our Pico lives. Sadly, some Picos will experience it more than others and some may be going through this every single day.
I have been called all sorts of disrespectful names and have had hateful words and actions thrown at me by some people in Pico - just like many of you have - all for not fitting the standard of what THEY believe acceptable should be.
The fact is, these people in reality are so unhappy in their own lives that the only way of feeling a sense of self worth is by putting other people down. However, the satisfaction of feeling superior to the rest of us is momentary and soon they find themselves back in their world of loneliness and sadness. Until they learn to accept that what they are doing is wrong and they accept that they have a problem, their lives will continue to be dominated by hate and they will never find true happiness in their lives if they keep doing what they are doing.
The "I am gay" incident
Months ago, I would visit Beginners Plaza everyday. On one occasion I noticed a girl who was always sitting alone by the fountain. When I clicked on her profile, I noticed that it carried an important message. It went something like this:
I am gay, but only God can judge me.
Seeing that I thought, how true that is. From that day on, I always looked for the girl by the fountain and I would give her props. Every day she would be sitting alone quietly, not bothering anyone and keeping to herself. I noticed no one dared to sit by her as if she had a contagious disease.
Finally, feeling fed up by people ignoring this beautiful human being, one day I walked up to her and sat by her side. I introduced myself and started chatting away, but she seemed distant and didn't seem to notice that I was talking to her. Nonetheless, I was determined not to leave her side until I would get at least a "hello" from her. I kept on and insistently chatted away. After a while, she stood up and faced me and what came out from her mouth shocked me and broke my heart.
She said, "I am sorry, I didn't think you were talking to me, people usually don't want to talk to me. They keep away and some are mean to me because I am gay".
Sensing the pain in her words broke my heart; I told her, "I am very sorry you been treated bad. I don't understand why some people have to be so cruel."
She then sat again next to me. And there we were, two human beings sitting together by the fountain with no labels just acceptance for each other. She shared with me how hard her time in Pico had been due to the discrimination she had experienced everyday by some people that felt that they could judge her. She also told me the reason she had joined the game community was because she was going through a hard time in her real life and Pico she hoped could help her forget a her troubles even if it was just for a little while. Unfortunately, she found Pico was often an overly negative experience as well. Still, day after day she logged in with hopes that this would be the day she would find some comfort.
From that day on we became good friends and I discovered in her one of the most caring and respectful Picos I have ever met. I rang her room everyday and every chance I had I would look and spend time with her. My good friend had a very small Buddy List - maybe five or six - and I was one of them. Sadly, she started coming around less and less until she finally stopped coming at all.
I can honestly say that it was an honor for me to be one of her friends. Still I wonder ... why couldn't she had been treated better to help lessen the sadness she was carrying in her heart? Why couldn't people have been more accepting of her? We don't always have to agree with someone's preferences or lifestyles, but that doesn't give us the right to judge them and treat them as if they are not human. I miss my friend very much and I pray to God that wherever she is, people are more caring and loving and that she has finally found the comfort she longed for.
Do you have a story?
If you have encountered or spoken out against discrimination in Pico please share it with us and it will be posted at the end of Discrimination Awareness Week.
Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.