I was once homophobic.
It’s true. What I didn’t realize back then, is that those feelings of fear and dismay toward “those people” stemmed from my own internalized emotions. I didn’t know what to do with the feelings I had. So I just naïvely believed that I was simply a loyal, true-blue friend. That’s must be why I constantly found ways to nurture my relationships with my girlfriends, right? And the agony I felt when we weren’t together? Well… surely that was just the spiritual and emotional bond that young Christian women shared.
I told myself that lie for years. I assumed an interest in boys would manifest eventually. I dated a handful of guys… all of which were Godly, amazing young men. There was no logical reason why I shouldn’t be head over heels. Yet, when I was out on a date, all I could think about was getting back to my “best friend” of the moment… to relax, be myself, and of course, engage in hours of female bonding.
I really am appalled when I think about my ideology back then. Because I’d been told what to believe about homosexuals, I knew that I had better keep a safe distance. I was friendly to everyone—and perhaps even went out of my way to be nice to “those people”—but I never socialized with them. In my own haughty and hypocritical way, I saw my “kindness” as a way to show them Jesus. (I cringe even as I type these words.) My insincere actions reflected nothing of the selfless, humble, love-centric life of Christ.
Occasionally, I’ll read my old journals. They are teeming with clues of my repressed sexuality. Here I was, a teenager who wrote about all of these feelings I was experiencing… yet I didn’t know what to call them. Deep inside I knew there was something going on. But being gay wasn’t an option for me as I saw it, so I simply didn’t think about it. I realize now that my unwillingness to confront these emotions did not make me straight… it just made me confused.
Looking back, I now understand that if I couldn’t even understand my own sexuality, then I had no business judging others who had embraced theirs. On behalf of all homophobes everywhere, I’m sorry. I apologize for the actions that take place when fear replaces love. And no, I’m not suggesting that all homophobic people are really homosexuals, themselves (although I have seen it happen on more than one occasion). All I’m advocating here is love. When I sought the way of Christ, I found that true love is unconditional. We are called to love all people—no matter their race, gender, social class, religion, or sexual orientation. I pray for the day that all people can live without fear… a day when not one more soul is separated from the knowledge of Jesus’ relentless love.