Writing is an act of healing for me. Releasing my deepest inner ramblings into the universe feels cleansing. As I grow older, I try to make it a regular practice. The longer I’ve done this, the more I realize that this catharsis actually helps me to embrace forgiveness. By organizing my thoughts, my hurts, my emotions, I can experience them fully, process them, and begin healing.
For those of us who are LGBTQI Christians, there are certain hurts that can cut deep. When people in our lives cease to understand us, support us, or even love us… we can’t help but take it personally. We take it to heart because their rejection attacks a fundamental part of who we are.
So, why not try this out here and now? I’m going to recount one of the first times that homophobia cut deep… a time where words hurt. And in the comment section, you can do the same if you like.
A couple of years before I came out, I was at my old university for a music performance. This particular show is a tradition at my alma mater… it’s directed, written, and performed solely by the students. Every year, at the end of every performance, they have the audience stand up, join hands, and sing a hymn. It’s always the same one. (We are all about tradition.) This particular year, they had a young gentleman come forward to lead the hymn. My friend sitting next to me—who had been a long-time family friend—leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Isn’t singing this song against his religion?”
Confused, I asked her to repeat herself.
“You know, he’s gay. Isn’t singing a church song against his religion?” She chuckled as she said it.
“Oh,” I said. I might have given a half-smile or an empty laugh. I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is that my hands began to sweat, I felt lightheaded, and my heart sank. My throat tightened and my eyes welled. I managed to choke back the tears, but the emotional scars of those few words stayed with me for years.
She had no idea that the person sitting right next to her was a lesbian. We had spent years singing side by side in our ministry… but if she knew I was gay, it would somehow change things for her. Those few words spoke volumes to me. What I heard was that my songs of praise were worthless. They were meaningless. That they could only be pure and right and true if a straight person were singing them. Had she known back then that I was gay, she wouldn’t have said it. But she spoke her true feelings that night, and they’ve haunted me ever since.
What she expressed in those few words that evening is a product of fear and ill-education. She’s never been told that gay people love God, too. She’s bought into the rhetoric that is preached—and sometimes screamed—from certain pulpits every Sunday. And if I can’t find a way to have that conversation with her, then I can only pray that one day, someone else does. For everything that loving discussion can’t heal, time itself will. With the passing of each year and each decade, there will come a day when the exclusion of LGBT’s is a thing of the past. Our future generations will look back on it as a shameful memory, and wonder what made their ancestors so unloving, barbaric, and exclusive. And all of us who are considered “too progressive”, “too open-minded”, or “too liberal” will have ended up on the right side of history. Until that day, we will be prepared to endure ridicule, to be misunderstood, to experience way too much “conditional love”. But we must also be courageous. We must tell our stories. We must engage in loving dialogue…. because our day is coming!
There is strength in numbers, and there is power in telling our stories. Have you been hurt by someone because of your sexual orientation? Have you been bullied, made fun of, or rejected? Release it. Let it go. And let the healing begin.
Please feel free to share your story below, or on the submission page.