If you’re a regular reader, you may already know that 2011 was one crazy year for me. After coming out to my dad at the end of 2010 (which went better than expected), the following year was chock full of life changes. Until then, I had managed to keep my same-sex attraction a secret (which is quite an achievement since I became aware of my orientation at age 14). I was outed a few times by a couple of different people. I lost friendships because of my sexuality, and I was forced to resign from my Christian band after 11 years for the same reason.
The pain of leading a double life can be intense at times. Church, work, hanging out with friends: all of these activities have an added layer of stress and anxiety for closeted gay folk. What if they suspect? What if I slip and say something? What if we’re watching “The Biggest Loser”, and my flushed face betrays me when Jillian shows up on the screen? (You can’t tell me there’s a lesbian on earth who isn’t affected in the same way by Ms. Michaels…)
The point is, holding stuff inside—secrets of that magnitude—is unhealthy. When this goes on for years upon years, it has a profound and limiting effect on you and the way that you’re able to connect with others. Well-meaning religious-righters often say, “See? The suicide statistics for homosexuals is staggering. Why would you want to lead that lifestyle?” With all due respect, gays don’t kill themselves because they’re gay. They kill themselves because of the hurtful ways they’re treated, even within the Church. Sadly, in some instances, it’s especially because of the ways they’re treated by the Church. In the majority of congregations, homosexuals are free to serve as much as they want… as long as they don’t come out. In other words, as long as they hate themselves, God can use them. But the moment they come out (or are outed), then they must step down. God can’t use them anymore.
Is this the love of Christ?
Please, I beg you… if you are a religious conservative who opposes build-bridging between your church and the gay community, reconsider. Think about the debilitating effects your actions can have on those outside (and inside) your walls, who are seeking a life-giving relationship with Christ. Jesus is waiting, ready to accept them with open arms. The only thing standing between them is you.
Let’s work together in love. Let’s open our hearts to truly listen to one another.
Let’s stop giving LGBT’s a reason for living a double life.