My name is Josephine Skriver, and I am many things.
I am human. I have the capacity to love and to be loved. I feel empathy. I have a mind that allows me to form opinions and to gain perspective on situations and the world around me. I am an opinion-former. I hurt. I feel joy. I feel gratitude. I am a daughter to two beautiful people, who both happen to be gay. I am a sister to a boy who is also human and who has the same capabilities as I do. I am a friend. I am a lover. I am a dreamer. I am certainly many things, but one thing I am not -- is synthetic.
There is no such thing as a synthetic human. Every person, no matter their religion, background, skin color, opinion or sexual orientation, is part of our reality and deserves not only to receive love, but also to give love. I believe the ultimate gift of love is what brings life into this world and helps such lives grow. Helping them to understand, helping them to smile. Did my mother and father not deserve that joy because they are both gay themselves? Were they not allowed to feel the warmth of parenting? Were they not allowed the most basic of human rights -- to create love? Of course they deserved -- and deserve -- those things. We all deserve those things. My parents had a burning desire to bring life into this world, which is why they came together through a life-giving process and gave my brother and I the chance to be a part of this universe. Two innocent children. Don't we all start that way?
When we first arrive in this world we do not discriminate. We are innocent and do not hate. All we know is love and we love unconditionally, blindly, and without reason. I sometimes wish more of us could stay that way and remember how that feels like for as long as possible, that the world didn't take this away from us as early as it tends to do. Because of this inevitability, I feel convicted to be on a mission to shine a light on everyone who has lost those feelings to darkness. To remind them that it still exists, whether it be out in the open or still hiding in a dark corner, waiting to revive again.
Some of my favorite memories in my life don't involve much. Being held by parents and adored by them was always enough. I didn't care or judge my parents by their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, or what they believed in. I didn't look at my parents and see gay or straight - I saw passion and dedication. All I knew is that they loved me, and I loved them. Most importantly, I could not be more grateful. If anything, I will always admire my parents for not allowing their sexual orientation and all of the legal and social walls to prevent them from following their heart and dreams. The two of them, through the miracle of IVF, gave me a chance to live, to find a path, and to create a story of my own. Now, I intend to use one of the storybook's pages to stand up for everyone out there who feels alone and scared, or are constantly told that they are in any way less than another human on this earth. I am here to remind you that you are equal -- you are not a statistic nor a science experiment. You are strong. You are beautiful. And you are as real as anyone else. As humans, we are simply who we are and what we feel.
We have the right to free speech, and I will not take that away from anyone, because that would be both hypocritical and absurd of me. However, I can't help but to feel sadness whenever I hear others use their voices to bring hurt, whether it be big or small. If a platform and voice exists, it should be used to bring positivity and togetherness -- not to segregate, classify and tear people apart. I am not here to say that speaking your mind is not okay, because the ability to have our own unique perspectives and views is one of the beauties of being human. I just feel that often people say cruel or naive things simply because they simply do not know or understand, even if their intention was not to hurt. So I am here in an attempt to educate and to ask people to allow themselves to be educated. Ask questions, research, discover and learn things firsthand.
In the end, I can't control what others feel or say, but I can control me. I will not mirror distaste and I will not judge by circumstance. If you are someone who has judged me or anyone else on how we were born and conceived, on how we were brought up, or for any other reason, I am here to say that we feel just like you. We hurt just like you. We love just like you -- and those feelings are not something that can be disregarded as "synthetic."
If I could ask for one thing, it would be to look at me as a "who" and not a "what." I would request for everyone to get to know me and to have conversations with me. If you have the time, I would love for you to meet my parents, for I am sure they would brighten your life as I have witnessed them do for so many others. I would ask for you to hold my hand so you can feel that it's not so different from your own. I have seen a lot of hate and cruelty lately, but another beauty of being human is that though we have the ability to hate and be cruel, we also have the ability to hope. And so I become that idealist and hope -- that one day all in this world will look at each other as equals; that we will each learn tolerance and understanding.
In the end, I would be lying if I said that I haven't been hurt by some of the recent comments and remarks that referred to my own life. But you know what? I forgive the people who said them and I will continue to love them, and I believe that I can help open eyes both today and beyond.
If that doesn't make me biologically, emotionally...fully human, I don't know what will.