When you’re a Christian (gay or straight) who advocates for LGBT inclusion, you’re going to gain some critics. And I have a few! (I’ll consider it a compliment.) Since my advocacy involves my own sexuality, people are going to form their own various opinions. A lot of things get back to me through the grapevine, although it’s difficult to say what is fact and what has become exaggerated like something from a giant game of “Telephone”. But one thing that some people apparently wonder, is why I choose to keep my personal blog and this blog separate. They wonder why I’m brave enough to post things here with my first name only, but hesitant to say too much on my personal Facebook page, etc., where my full identity is front and center. I would be lying if I said part of that didn’t come from fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of hate. Fear of losing friends (who wouldn’t have been friends in the first place). You know, all of that normal stuff. However, there is one primary aspect that keeps me from being as vocal as I’d like to be… and that is protecting those that are a part of my past. There are a couple of folks with whom I experimented, had flings, had feelings, had relationships—who are still deep inside the closet. At least one of these individuals told me she’s been healed from her same-sex attraction. (And that is her experience, so I will not patronize that… even though I have my doubts.) These people are also the ones who are generally responsible for outing me to others. (I get it… they think if they out me, then no one will question their sexuality.) But this brings up a question that I often ponder: Can I come out fully, and still protect those individuals?
Lately, I’m finding that I just don’t care as much anymore about who “knows” (as if it’s something to be ashamed of). It feels so good to know who I am, and to know that who I am is a-ok! And the longer I go on with this knowledge, the fire of justice, advocacy, and love inside me grows. Part of carrying out that advocacy is sharing my story. I cannot share my whole story if I leave out certain parts—things that help to explain why I did what I did, felt what I felt, and thought what I thought. While I would never ever reveal someone else’s name or identity, I do sometimes feel the need to share certain things that have happened along the way. First of all, I need to be free to share my story because it may help someone else. Secondly, I need to share my story because it is cathartic. I am learning to do that in ways that are both healing for me, and respectful to others involved.
A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about what I would say if ever made a Facebook announcement concerning my sexual orientation. I still don’t know if I feel the need to post it. Perhaps a better approach is to stop hiding things on my profile. Maybe I should consider listing the url to this blog as my website, making my relationship status public, etc. I need to work toward having an unedited online presence. This is becoming increasingly important to me. And maybe one day in the near future, I will take that final step of totally and completely outing myself. It’s to the point now where people are either going to hear about my sexuality from someone else, or from me.
I’d rather it be from me.
Do any of you edit your lives to protect other people from your past? How did you find a solution that was right for you?