Posts filed under ‘coming out’

The Gift

I have lived a blessed life.  I know it and I am grateful.  That is not to say that my life has been easy, but whenever the hard times hit, I am surrounded by wonderful people and God.  And what has continued to amaze me time and time again, is that the things I think are curses, actually end up being my greatest blessings.

I was sexually abused from 7 years old.  I am the first to admit that that part of my past has left me with some scars…..but it has also left me with some blessings.  From my experience, I was able to understand and connect with other people who faced and dealt with or were trying to deal with the same issue.  I volunteered at a local assault hot line and I found that in my being able to say, “Yes, I was once where you are at and I not only survived but thrived,” gave hope to the people I was talking to.  My experience gave me empathy and caring, it made me more aware of those around me who may be suffering.  Maybe not from the same exact life experiences, but suffering all the same.  I learned compassion for those who act out because just maybe they were hurting like I was.  I would never wish that particular experience on anyone and I am not jumping up and down with glee that I experienced it, but I am grateful for what I learned from it.  I will never be able to say that I am glad it happened, but I am thankful for what I learned from it.

I was the odd man out in school, especially high school.  I was different from the “norm” and I paid for it.  I had girls threatening to beat me up and making fun of me.  I hated it at the time, but from it I learned that people are not always what they appear on the outside.  That punk looking girl sneaking smokes in the restroom between classes was actually a lot more like me than I wanted to admit.  That boy who smoked pot every morning was hurting just the same as I was.  It just came out in different ways.  But through those experiences, I learned that I had absolutely no right to judge how someone else lived their life.  I had no right to make judgments on someone without living their life.

As hard as High School was for me, I also learned how to love.  No I never told her I was in love with her, and to this day she doesn’t know, but I learned the bitter sweet feelings of love.  No I am not talking about lust.  I was so far in the closet at that time that I couldn’t even begin to imagine being gay, no I am talking about loving someone.  Loving her for who she was and knowing she had my back.  We could talk on the phone for hours and not run out of things to say.  I could and did tell her everything.  The pain from that first heartbreak was horrid, but the lesson learned was how to love.  A wonderful lesson to learn.

That gets me to thinking about being gay.  For most of my life I hated it, denied it, ran from it, and pleaded to be made straight.  I wanted to die, planned how to die, and was rather distraught at the whole idea of being gay.  And even today, I still have times where I question my beliefs and my place in this world.  But even in the dark times, I can’t help but believe that my being gay is a gift from God.

How many people have you met that believe exactly what they were told to believe?  How many people have you met that rely on a book and not God for their understanding?  How many people hate people they have never met because they happened to fall in love with someone of the same gender?

In writing this blog and through other avenues, I have been blasted many times just for the fact that I am gay.  I have heard horrendous things said in the name of God that I know he would frown upon.  Even if God really does hate fags like the signs carried say, he would not want that hate to be spewed out upon his children.  I actually have been told that I am not blessed, but that I am cursed.  Cursed to live a life of celibacy or rot in hell.  Now my intention is not to get into a biblical argument, yes I know Leviticus and Romans et all,  my goal is to try to explain why I think being gay is a gift and not a curse.

1.  I never had the comfort of just buying into everything I was told about God and Church.  I had to, yes I was forced, to go to God on a personal level.  I had to ask what he thought about me.  Not what I was taught from childhood on, but what he wanted for me in my life.  If I hadn’t been gay, then I would never have been forced to find my own belief system.  I could have swallowed and regurgitated everything that I was told.  I never would have had to dig deep.  And I mean deep into my own self and my beliefs and my relationship with God.  I never would have stood before God and begged him to take my life before I disgraced him.  I never would have heard God say, very loudly and clearly I might add, that I had no right to hate what he lovingly created.  If I were born straight, then I would never have had the turmoil that I faced, but then again, I wouldn’t have had this personal one on one relationship with my creator.  I never would have had to move beyond the expected to the unexpected.

2.  I never had the pleasure of just being “normal”  I had to learn how to be myself and accept myself and in that process I have learned so much.  I am gifted by the fact that I had to look at every aspect of my life.  I got to know myself intimately and on a level I would have never reached if I weren’t gay.  Yes I know, straight people do the soul searching thing too, but I was forced to.  And what I learned is a blessing beyond belief.  I learned that I am who God created me to be, I learned that God doesn’t fit into a little box that humans continuously try to put him in, and I learned that God likes it when we question.  It opens up real dialogue.  Not memorized verses or chants, but honest conversation.

3.  In accepting who I am, I am much more open to accepting others as they are.  Take my two sons for example.  The oldest is very smart in common sense and fixing things.  He is great with his hands, but he has trouble with “book learning”  He is very smart but he will never be a straight A student.  He won’t.  But I celebrate his C’s as much as an A.  Because he works his tail off and he earns every grade he gets.  I never had to work in school.  I was in the gifted program and I never had trouble until I hit high school.  We are completely different.  But I can accept him for who he is.  He doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of me.  He is who he is and that is a wonderful person with a quick wit and more common sense than I have.

My youngest is so brilliant that he is social poor.  Do you know what I mean?  He sees the world in a completely different way.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he discovers great things one day because he is willing to look at things differently than anyone else.  He was born with a great sense of self.  He doesn’t care what people think.  In his mind, he is right with the world and if they don’t agree, then the heck with them.  But in seeing my boys and how very different they are, I have to accept them.  Because I have finally accepted myself, I am able to accept them.  They both know that I love them no matter what and I know I am more accepting because I accept myself.

4.  In admitting to being gay, I have met some wonderful people who challenge me on a daily basis.  They ask the questions and state their beliefs that force me to revisit my own.  I have met some wonderful people whom I may never meet face to face, but I know in 40 years we will be in different nursing homes emailing each other because we truly love one another.  I like all of my internet friends, but I do love some of them.  And it is a real love born out of the commonality we share but I also love my straight friends.  It isn’t about being gay or straight, it is about caring, and worrying, and loving friends.  In being gay and searching my soul, I learned about agape love.  I learned about the love of friends, and I learned about what true friendship is.  Today I spent hours with a very straight friend of mine.  We worked on putting up trim and such things but what we really worked on was supporting each other.  I know she has my back and I have her’s.  Do I love her?  Yes.  Very much but I love her as my friend, nothing more.  Yes gay women can be friends with other women.  J and I are a good example of that.

5.  I have been dropped into the fire and I came out whole.  I am who God created me to be.  He didn’t create me to burn in hell.  Can I still go there?  Sure but my chances are the same as my straight friends.  If I go to hell it will not be because I am gay.  It will be because I once turned away from a homeless person in need.  Or I failed to be there for a friend.  Or I acted in hate and not love.  My being gay?  It won’t get me to hell.  My being human might.

6.  One time when I was in grade school, a teacher of mine recognized that I was different and she took me under her wing.  I can remember the day she told me that if God wanted everyone  to be alike, then all flowers would be blue.  She told me that God loved me and she was and is so instrumental in my life.  She is about 70 ish??? Maybe closer to 80’s but we have remained good friends.  One night I felt the need to come out to her.  I don’t know why,  but I did.  And her reaction stunned me,  a member of her family had just came out and she didn’t know how to react.  In talking she came to an understanding and her family member was accepted for being who he is.  And that gives me hope.  Because if this grandmother of, I don’t know, at least 10 can come to terms and deal with a gay family member than so can the rest of the world.

7.  I am going to stop at lucky 7, but I can think of a thousand reasons to be grateful that I am gay.  But #7  is I am grateful that I am gay.  It doesn’t matter if it is nature or nurture, hormones in the womb, a choice or destiny.  What matters is how I live my life.  I am very happy to be in a wonderful monogamous relationship with the woman whom I love more than life itself.  Yes we have issues, What couple doesn’t?  But she fills my days with laughter, my nights with passion, my soul with love.  I have learned to love without prejudice.  Without ulterior motives.  I have learned to love wholly and deeply.  I have learned how to live.

Being gay isn’t a curse or a punishment.  Being gay is a gift, just like being straight is a gift.  But it is a gift that we must accept to live fully and freely.

Advertisements

January 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm 2 comments

homohysteria

The last few days I have been reading about coming out at my favorite website, http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ and I have been thinking about how easy I have had it compared to many others.  Although my journey has had its rough patches and wild turns, so far I haven’t lost anyone yet.

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to lose family members or good friends just because they found out I was gay.  But that is what a lot of people face.  I have heard stories and read stories where a person had to choose between being true to themselves or their families.  I have read where people have been kicked out of their homes because the parents refuse to believe that God’s love is stronger than fear or nonacceptance.  I have read stories of mothers losing their children because archaic judges believe that a lesbain can not be a good mother.  I have heard many stories at  http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ of good Christian women being removed from bible studies or youth leadership positions, and even asked to leave the church, just because they are gay. 

I call this homohysteria.  That is all it is.  People get scared of what they don’t know and how can they know homosexuality if they are straight?  That would be like asking me to know what it is like to grow up in the inner city.  I can’t, I have never experienced it.  That doesn’t mean that I fear anyone who did.  It just means that I don’t have a personal reference to completely understand. 

So maybe I am wrong, but this is my thinking on how homohysteria plays out.

1.  I am not gay and cannot understand the attraction.

2.  If I can’t understand then it must be something bad.

3.  If it is bad then I need to fear it.

4.  If I am afraid of it then it must be able to hurt me.

5.  If it can hurt me then I must protect myself by striking first.

Okay, first off if you are not gay, I am not asking you to be.  I am not trying to change anyone.  I am not trying to switch you to my team.  You are straight, hey that is fine with me.  If you are straight then you can’t understand being gay.  But then again I can’t understand liking chocolate better than vanilla, being left handed, enjoying S&M behaviors, hating poetry, or even growing up in the inner city.  Just because I can’t understand (or maybe the better word is know), doesn’t mean that I have to judge you or be afraid of you.  All I ask is the same consideration.

If I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I have to be afraid of it.  And if I am afraid of something doesn’t mean that it will hurt me.  Personal confession time here but, I am afraid of blowing up balloons.  I know that sounds crazy and since I do have two kids I have learned how to do it, but I am still afraid of it.  But I know that little balloon won’t hurt me.  Worse case scenario, it will pop and make a noise.  I am in no danger from it, I just need to realize that fears are sometimes unfounded.  Just like the fear of homosexuals.

And no, I don’t have to strike out first to protect myself.  I have met some wonderful balloons that didn’t pop or give me reason to be afraid.  I have also met a lot of gay and straight people who gave me no reason to fear.  I met a friend in college that was amazed that I grew up in the country, he grew up in downtown….somewhere.  So we were different in many ways but we had the human condition in common.  We were friends.

But I can’t think of coming out without thinking about the special problems of Christians who come out.  Gay Christians seem to float between being a disgrace to their church and being “weird” to the homosexuals who have left the church because of being hurt.  And I can understand that.  I too was hurt by the gays are going to hell sermons I have heard over the years.  And I wouldn’t be in church today if I wasn’t sure that the minister doesn’t condemn me straight to hell.   But even if I couldn’t go to my church, I wouldn’t question that God loves me.

Just some things to keep in mind, if you are straight…. gay people aren’t out to change you over.  We aren’t the pedophiles or threat to society that you have been told.  If you are gay… straight people don’t automatically hate you or want to change you over.  A lot of straight people have gay friends.  I believe in the silent majority.  I think most people don’t care about orientation, they care about people.  Maybe I am being a pollyanna (oops that shows my age), but I believe compassion will win out in the end and we can all be called children of god.  

April 22, 2008 at 5:25 pm 14 comments


Recent Posts

Categories