People Of UCA: Norman McLemore Jr.

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Senior occupational therapy major Norman McLemore Jr. lives his life to the fullest as a happy and energetic gay man.

McLemore said he never decided that he was gay and believes that his sexuality has always been a part of him.

“I feel like it is something that has always been inside of [me],” McLemore said.

McLemore didn’t come out until his freshman year at UCA.

McLemore said some religious people treat the gay community unfairly and they aren’t in a place to judge because only God is allowed to do so.

“They are most definitely not in place to put one shame in front of the other,” McLemore said.

McLemore said his relationship with God is private.

He said people should be informed about LGBT issues to fight against ignorance and stigmas.

“I feel that it plays a big role in a lot of the stigmas that are placed upon the LGBTQ community,” McLemore said. “We can’t necessarily help who we love. It is none of [our adversaries’]business, and it has nothing to do with them.”

McLemore said everything is going well with his family and that they fully support and respect his sexuality.

McLemore said because he is popular and his mother is a public figure, a lot could have gone wrong
when he came out.

“Luckily, it has been smooth sailing,” he said. “I haven’t been a victim of any hate crimes. I have been pretty fortunate.”

McLemore said he plans to raise children with his boyfriend Jonathan Smith and feels that a lot of gay parents are more compassionate than straight parents.

“I’m not saying that we are the better parents,” McLemore said. “We are just a little more open-minded and compassionate.”

McLemore said he feels that Donald Trump’s presidency is damaging for the LGBT community.

“It’s ignorant. It’s not helping unity in the country or the world,” McLemore said.

McLemore said it breaks his heart that Vice President Mike Pence supports conversion therapy and has a problem with gay people.

“[Pence] feels that it constitutes corporal punishment and death. [Pence] and Trump joked about hanging all the gays,” McLemore said. “That is the same as me discriminating against [Pence] because he has a wife. That’s not
okay. I don’t care who he loves. Why does he care who I love?”

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