Author Archives: Mandy

Tales Of A Former Advocate: A Farewell

I began this blog in 2010 to document my own experience as a Christian lesbian who had a heart for loving discussion between the Church and the LGBT community. I felt that fire in my belly to reach out, to live in the tension, to make a difference. Friends, I cannot do it anymore.

I never imagined I would be writing a “farewell” post to a group of people I hold so dearly. But the truth of the matter is I can no longer put myself through this emotional turmoil. Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level, it’s been one letdown after another. My friends, family, long lost relatives, and strangers have come out of the woodwork to exclaim how terrible, sinful, and perverted the LGBT community is: How we are ruining the sanctity of marriage, how we are not worthy of a place at God’s table, how we are the moral decay of the nation. Things have only been made worse by the fact the recent Kim Davis fiasco has been unfolding near my hometown. (I canceled a trip home on Labor Day, because I could not bear the thought of being around that kind of hatefulness.) Some of my own family members are calling this the Christian Holocaust. I cannot even wrap my mind around that kind of ignorance and selfishness. I still can’t understand why someone would think their religious freedom includes taking away the rights of other people. There is immense poverty, sickness, and death that plagues this world on a daily basis… and they are concerned that two people of the same gender getting married will somehow take away their 1st Amendment rights. It’s asinine.

I’ve been told that once people knew I was gay—someone they’ve known their entire lives, someone they love—they would learn to listen to the issues pervading the Church as a whole. Once I came out, this issue would (supposedly) be personal to far more people. Instead, I’ve discovered most people don’t want to hear my story. People see me differently once they know I’m gay. Yes, there are those Christians out there who love me for who I am; and oh my goodness, I am forever indebted to them! But these people who love me just as I am have already fought the good fight. I didn’t need to convince them LGBT individuals were worthy of love, because they already knew it. Friends, there are people out there who were created to be advocates for the LGBT community. But I am simply not one of them. I thought I was strong enough, but I’m not. I’m tired of sobbing. I’m tired of helplessly watching my partner cry over other people’s insensitivity.

I’ve been through hell and back to discover my heartfelt position on the issue of LGBT inclusion in the Church. I cannot spend one more minute giving my time to people who acknowledge the fact I’ve studied and researched this topic, yet still feel it necessary to make an itemized list of why they believe my life is sinful. We may not agree. Fine. But I will no longer accept less than the same respect I give them regarding their deeply held beliefs.

I do not wish to call myself a Christian anymore. I love Jesus and will forever have him written on my heart… but I refuse to outwardly wear the label of a group whose name has become synonymous with hate to far too many people. The term “Christian” wasn’t used until a few decades after Jesus walked the earth, and it’s a word that no longer has positive connotations for me, and for so many others. Ultimately, it is just a label, and I refuse to wear it. I have become a member of the Native American Church—a spiritual group who does not judge me for who I love, a group who encourages each individual to seek out a personal, profound, spiritual path. For me, it is where I choose to continue to live out my faith. For me, it is home.

To hate-spewing Christians, I will say the following: I hope the reconciliation movement continues to grow within the walls of your churches. Christian LGBT advocates are the only hope for the future of your religious institution. I hope you fully understand that because of you, countless LGBT individuals will never, ever know Jesus. But more than that, I hope you have a change of heart before it’s too late. Don’t judge the LGBT community; love on them. Would that really be so bad? And just to be abundantly clear: It’s not Jesus or the loving Christians who led me to abandon the Christian label. It’s you.

For those of you who’ve read my posts over the last five years: Words cannot express my gratitude to you. To have a support group from so many people I’ve never even met in person, it really meant the world to me. I appreciate all of you who shared your stories, who reached out in love, who fought for equality. I am forever indebted to you. Obviously, things are changing in our favor. The past five years have been crucial for the progress of LGBT inclusion. And things will continue to get better from here.

I’ve discovered for me, personally, I have to find ways to live my life without worrying what others think of me. When I separate myself from the kind of negativity that’s been going on lately, life becomes so much richer. This is a necessary season of refining, a necessary season of pruning. Because you and I? We’re on to better things. And a couple generations from now, we’ll be able to tell our grandkids we were on the right side of history… the side of inclusion and love.


Pulling Up The Drawbridge

“Time to pull up the drawbridge.” That’s what my dad says when it’s time to get re-centered. My dad is an extremely social guy—not at all like me in that regard—but he still needs the occasional recharge. He’ll get his grocery supplies, refine his Netflix queue, lock the doors, and hibernate. It seems like that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months now. I go to work, then come home and pull up the drawbridge. For extroverts, that may sound depressing. But I’m not sad. Not at all. I’m actually the happiest I’ve been in a really, really long time! Life is good, and it’s only going to get better from here.

In the midst of the documentary project, and some other side projects, I’ve been quite busy lately. I decided to temporarily disable my Facebook account in order to get some things done. (I’m still currently on Twitter and Instagram; Somehow those don’t take up major chunks of my day the way that Facebook tends to do.) What was meant to be a one week hiatus has turned into over two weeks (and counting). I’m astonished at how much I’m actually enjoying being off Facebook. I’ve taken breaks before, and I couldn’t wait to sign back in! But this time is different, and I think I might be starting to understand why.

If you follow my other blog, you might remember a post about HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). I won’t go into detail here, but in a nutshell, I am affected way too much by what others think of me… to the point that it’s debilitating. Therefore, when I really immerse myself in advocacy work, I am engaged in lots of conversation. Some of it is uncomfortable, and that’s ok. We must have discussions which take us out of our comfort level, or else nothing will change. That being said, I found myself in dire need of a recharge. Being off Facebook has resulted in a more even-keeled emotional state. Although I really try to stay out of controversial Facebook arguments, I still saw them every day on my news feed, whether I participated or not. I felt flooded with negativity. I was focused on things that cultivated anger instead of peace. I was reminded of those who think differently of me now. And really, why give those people even one second of my time, worrying about what they think?

When I set out on this venture of being honest about who I am, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. And I wouldn’t go back in the closet for anything. But sometimes, I just grow weary. Perhaps advocacy work isn’t for me. Perhaps I internalize it a bit too much. And maybe things will change in the future. But for me, right now, all I want to do is stay inside my safe, comfortable, predictable world. I want cozy up inside my house with my awesome little family.

And I want to pull up the drawbridge.

KickStarter Launch Off To An Amazing Start!


I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you guys so much for being so supportive of the new documentary project. Please take a moment to read the first update!

Originally posted on One Liberation Under God:

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.59.53 AMHi, everyone! After months of contemplation, we finally launched the KickStarter page for the project on Tuesday. It had reached a point where I had to stop worrying about number crunching and statistics, and just actually do it! So far, you guys have exceeded my expectations. In less than three days, we reached half of our first goal of $400!

By now, you probably know how the project will work. But you may be wondering how this fundraising thing works. In order to explain why we set such a low goal, I’ll include an excerpt from the project page:

Nashville is my current city, and northeastern KY is my hometown. Therefore, no extra funds are necessary to cover those interviews. Destinations closest to me will take top priority, so we can make the most out of the time and money we have. So why did we only set a $400 goal? 

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Update: Film Project

Hello, all! This is just a quick update to let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve had a lot going on over the summer, most of which is settling down now. I hope all of you are having a relaxing and adventurous summer!

This map shows the proposed route of interviews for the project.

This map shows the proposed route of interviews for the project.

I’m so excited about the documentary project I mentioned earlier this year. (Yes, it is still happening!) I have not begun a Kickstarter campaign yet, because I want to make sure I’m doing this fundraiser thing right. I’ve spoken with a few people… all of whom have very different opinions about how to approach marketing and fundraising for this project. Some say an extended fundraising campaign will do the trick; others say a brief and focused campaign will be more effective. Honestly, I’m not sure what to do (although I’m pretty sure that doing nothing won’t get me too far)! That’s why I’m asking for your thoughts. If you have any ideas for the “One Liberation” film project, please let me know. I do have a short list of organizations and online communities that are willing to advertise once the fundraising begins, although I’m always on the lookout for more!

Stay tuned for more info! In the meantime, I’ll be working on a “real” blog post.


So You’re Gay. Why Can’t You Just Shut Up About It?

713307_82954404This was said to me by a former colleague of mine, albeit slightly more politically correct. I think she said something like: “Why do we have to talk about this? Why can’t you just be quiet?” This came at a crucial time in my life; I was at a crossroads. I could either stay in a ministry which did not accept any aspect of my orientation, or I could resign. I could lie, or I could be true to myself. Put that way, the choice seems easy. I should be a hero, right? Live honestly. Sacrifice comfort for truth. But I enjoyed what I did. I loved the ministry. I loved serving in that capacity. So, I learned to compromise. I told half-truths. I lived a double-life. For a time, I shut up about it.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the decision to do so was not in my best interest. It could only last so long: Censoring my personal life; editing pronouns; serving people who I knew would not approve of me (or perhaps not even like me at all) if they knew the truth. For those of us in the LGBT community, these stories are all too familiar. But what saddens me most about situations such as these is not the fact that folks may disagree on LGBT issues, but the fact there is an overall unwillingness for such discussions.

Growing up in a religiously conservative environment, I can recall the fear that surrounded topics such as LGBT issues. It can be an uncomfortable conversation for some folks… and it’s easy to forget that fact once we’ve spent our fair share of time in more progressive circles. But there are a few things I would like to get out into the open. For those folks who wonder why we can’t just shut up about it? Our answer may be a little different than you think.

Most of the LGBT folks I know aren’t interested in running through the streets wearing nothing but a rainbow flag. They don’t want to shout their orientation from the rooftops. They don’t set out to “flaunt” affection in order to make you uncomfortable. They don’t desire to make waves, start arguments, or become poster children for controversy.

Personally, what I want is pretty simple. I want to live in community and fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I want LGBT Christians to be valued for their talents and gifts. I want to serve—to live a life of love and compassion. Most of us long for the day when sexual orientation and gender identity are no longer factors for determining human worth in our religious institutions.

One thing we’ve learned from history: issues don’t disappear when we stop talking about them. And one thing we’ve learned from statistics? Someone you know is LGBT. Yes, even someone in your congregation; and in many cases, it is someone in a leadership role. Instead of pretending people are someone they aren’t, why not seek safe spaces for conversation? Why not tear down those invisible barriers that keep us from true fellowship? It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be pretty. But it is the right thing, plain and simple. Because right now, the message that millions of LGBT Christians are hearing is: “You can continue to serve and use your talents as long as you hide who you are.”

Surely, there has to be a better answer. And that is why I, for one, can no longer shut up about it.

The Mission


Here’s a little more elaboration on the upcoming documentary project!

Originally posted on One Liberation Under God:

Hey everyone! I just wanted to take a second and elaborate on the vision for this project. Here are a few key points:

1. This project is about communication, not debate! This is the single most important point to make. The idea is to gain understanding, and consider points of view with which we don’t agree.

2. The goal is to give equal voice to all points of view. If you’ve seen the promo video, you may be wondering where the straight people are! I included photos of the participants who sent them to me. There are a few other folks who fall on the more conservative side of the scale, and they will be included in the film; they just weren’t included in the video. That being said, I would like to schedule more interviews with more conservatively-minded people, as right now only 15% of our interviewees fit that criteria.

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Promo Video Launched!


FYI: Here’s a link to the official website and promo video for the documentary project.

Originally posted on One Liberation Under God:

After several long weeks, I’ve finally been able to finish the promo video. Now, the real work begins! While I’m itching to get started, I realize the fundraising process can be a delicate thing, and I want to do it right! Stay tuned for the fundraising launch, which should be happening in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, send prayers, love, and good vibes this way. Here’s hoping to a successful project that will hopefully help us all to find some common ground.

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