Every week, I spend a ridiculous amount of time editing my Facebook wall. Why? Because I’m not 100% out on Facebook. And so, when someone who knows I’m gay posts something revealing to my wall that others who don’t know I’m gay might see, then I have to either edit the audience for that post, or delete it entirely. See how cumbersome that can become? (I’m sure there are plenty of you who know what that’s like.) There are lots of my Facebook friends who know; I’ve come out to several people. I’m sure there are more than I would like to realize who have “heard it through the grapevine”. But then, there are many who simply don’t know. And it is because of them that I edit my online life. I even have a custom-made “gay-safe” list that comes in handy quite often. But this way of separating my life into little virtual compartments is becoming too complex and certainly too time-consuming. Why do I care so much? Why does it matter what these people—most of whom I never even see on a daily basis—think of me? And so, today I present an open letter to my Facebook friends. If I had the guts, the courage, the boldness to really do it, this is what I would say:
To All of my Facebook Friends:
I love you. Please don’t stop reading this now. There’s something I need to say. This is perhaps the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m writing to tell you that I am a lesbian. Over the past several years, I’ve edited my life for those of you who may not accept me. But then, I realized… by keeping up this charade, I’m not giving you the chance to make your own decision about me. That’s unfair. Many of you already know this news. Many of you don’t. Many of you have heard from a friend of a friend of a friend… and many of you have sensed it for years. To those of you who already knew: thank you for being my emotional support—for being my backbone when I didn’t have one of my own. Thank you for showing me unconditional love and acceptance throughout the duration of my journey. To those of you who didn’t know this before now: I’m sorry that I couldn’t bring myself to tell you. We had such good times and amazing memories. I was scared that this news would negate all of that. I was afraid that “gay” was the only thing you would see when you looked at me… and I want you to see that I am so much more than that. Being gay is a part of me, but it is not my identity. I am the person you’ve always known.
I realize that many of you probably have lots of questions for me. I will attempt to answer some for you:
•Yes, I’ve always known something was different. No, I didn’t always know exactly what to call it. Once I put the pieces together, my entire life made perfect sense… no joke.
•Yes, I believe I was born this way.
•No, I was never sexually abused.
•Yes, I had amazing relationships with both of my parents when I was a child. Yes, Dad knows. And yes… he has been amazingly supportive. No, I never got the chance to tell my mom before she passed away… but part of me thinks she knew.
•Yes, I went to counseling. Yes, I tried to “pray away the gay”. I also tried to fast it away, bargain it away, and plead it away… all of this for nearly a decade, and all to no avail.
•Yes, I know what the Bible says (I know those six passages well)… and no, I do not believe that those texts are as black and white as I was taught. Yes, I believe with my entire being that God loves me… and I even believe that He created me this way. Yes, I am still hopelessly in love with God—even more so now than before.
•Yes, I share my life with someone (going on 6 years now). Yes, I am happier than I could have ever imagined. No, society doesn’t always make it easy for us… but I believe in the hope of a better day.
•Yes, I believe that the Church (as a whole) should address this topic more readily. Yes, I know plenty of gays and lesbians who have turned away from God because of religion. That’s not God’s fault… it’s the product of fear and ill-education.
•Yes, there is such a thing as a gay-affirming church. Yes, I have been to a few. No, lighting does not strike when all the gays start singing. Turns out God likes to hear their voices, too.
•No, my journey has not been one of justifying my feelings. It has been one of deep refining, of profound pain, and finally, of unconditional love and acceptance.
•Yes, I do feel an unmistakable call to advocate for justice, acceptance, and love for the LGBT community. And no, I will not stop doing everything I can to promote that love, understanding and compassion for all of God’s children.
•No, I do not expect all of you to agree with me or even like me after this. But I want you to know that we can still be in relationship, even if we don’t see eye to eye.
•Yes, I would love to talk to each and every one of you about this. I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have; My preference would be to do so over a cup of coffee and a stroll—although email will suffice if distance works against us.
•Yes, I am scared. And yes, I’m sure there will be days when I wonder if this was the right thing to do at all. But honesty is always right; the truth sets us free. God has given me so much on this journey. Yes, there was a time when I would have given anything to be straight. But now? Heck no… I wouldn’t change a thing.
Have any of you come out on Facebook? How did you do it?