I first realized I was gay in Elementary school. Even earlier than that, I sensed I was different. Once I realized I was attracted to boys, my life changed. I knew immediately that I could not let it be known. It was considered the ultimate sin in my church and community. It was very unacceptable and something you just did not talk about. Keeping all those feelings inside was difficult.
Going through high school trying to hide who I was, certainly was challenging. Even though I tried to hide it, I was often called names such as fag and queer in school. Then when I got home there was Dad. He would often call me names like momma’s boy and sissy. Thank God for my Mom who always was my protector and supporter. I think she sensed I was different and she felt a need to protect me. And protect me she did.
I remembered thinking, who would choose to be gay? A lifestyle that was so socially unacceptable. A lifestyle where people lose their lives just for being who they are. I prayed for many years for God to take it away and make me “normal” because the church taught me it was not normal. Later in life, when the church did find out, they tried to anoint me with oil and cast the “demons” out of me. This only made me feel more ashamed, depressed, and isolated. I spent many sleepless nights, even as a kid, pondering my same sex attraction. I was very confused because my first several sexual experiences were with married men in the church. That same church that taught me that homosexuality was an abomination and demonic spirit.
Fast forward to the past 25 years of my life. A time when I’ve come to realize that I am the beautiful person God created me to be. Yes I was different than what most considered the norm at the time, but God uniquely created me. Once I realized there wasn’t a demon inside me, as the church had told me, I began to experience freedom. I accepted and loved myself exactly how God had created me. I wasn’t abnormal and there was nothing wrong with me. We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s uneasiness, a tightening, and a shutting down. Next thing we know, we become very self-righteous about our point of view.
Today I am blessed to have family, friends, and a church that love me regardless of my sexual preference. Today I am able to express gratitude for my life. I am able to love and express love. I am aware of the truth that we are ALL unique expressions of God, one no less than another. Even today, it is difficult at times knowing that certain groups of people believe that you do not deserve the same rights just because you are being you.
I would love to see a world that works for everyone. A world where we see ALL as an expression of God. It doesn’t matter what kind of scarf they have on their head or who they fall in love with. It is our place to love unconditionally. Conditional love is no love. To say I love you but you are Muslim with a scarf on your head is conditional love. To say I love you but you are gay is conditional love. I am thankful that God loves all with no conditions. It is my intention to be more like him because I am part of him.
Peace and blessings