Yes that's right.
I used to be THAT girl.
I was the girl that knew all of the Bible verses condemning homosexuality. I used those phrases: "God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve", or "Hate the sin; love the sinner", or "Being gay is a choice".
I loved my LGBTQ friends SO much that it hurt me at night to think God was ready to fry them, thus I needed to make sure they knew there was a better way. Sexual immorality, after all, is a struggle for all of us whatever the form.
I was THAT girl.
But maybe not so much for the reasons some might think. Yes, I believed being gay was a sin but I really hadn't checked the Bible out in faith. I knew it to the letter, but certainly not the Spirit. More so, I thought that if I hid my own attraction to girls and older women, "killing the flesh" as it were, God wouldn't send my own hide to hell. My condmnation of others stemmed out of terror for my own immortal soul.
The crappy deal was: I was attracted to guys too. But God said ANY lust was bad, so predictably I took this all literally to the extreme and refused to even date (other reasons existed too, but let's just focus on this for today, okay?). Celibacy was more spiritual (apparently) anyway than being gay, straight, trans or bi, so how could I lose? It took the confusion away, made me spiritually 'better' (for a time), and I could at least breathe. "I'm pure… I'm pure… I'm pure… I'm pure…"
It was NOT a perfect solution… by far. Sharing these feelings got me into some major trouble/embarrassment a few years back. The least-shaming was: "Well at least you're bi, so you can choose which way to swing, right?" (translation: "as long as you choose a guy, you're safe"). In my effort of being honest, I am seeing a fine gentleman right now and we're happy where we are. Did I do a giant "PHEW!". Nope. He's superb and I'm thankful for him, and God will take relationship where it needs to go. Yes, God still figures quite prominently in all of my relationships.
But over the past few years I have most certainly realized that no matter how scared I was or why I pounded the Bible the way that I did, I hurt people.
I judged them. Maligned them. Tried to convert them. Explained through intellectuall reasoning why I was correct. Used 'science' to underscore my point.
I hurt them.
And I'm sorry. I can't tell you how sorry.
I won't use my own story to justify why I did what I did. My story is what it is and I am what I am, but it's no excuse to hide behind the "hate the sin, love the sinner" smugness (sidebar: "love everyone; hate the sin in yourself").
Thank you to those people who have been incredibly gracious in accepting my apology and allowing me room to make reconciliation. Thank you to my friends who listened to my own struggle, and loved me all the same. Thank you to those who have been braver than myself and have stood on the front lines where they have been beaten, judged, and hated.
Yeah sure there are folks who will be sure to deliver backlash — in fact I know can count on certain ones as soon as I hit the "Publish" button on the blog! Some are religious (of varying faiths), but others are non-religious declaring that there is no room for "religous people" to grow or change. To me, that just busts up their own argument since this leaves them with no room to grow or change (but again, another post for another day).
But if I look back and see how my actions and words hurt people, I know how I DON'T want to be treated or judged. Theologically, people have already made their arguments about why gay marriage is undermining biblical marriage (post for another day: there's no such thing as "biblical" marriage), but to me that just shows how weak we've made faith to be. Everything's a freakin' threat.
Christians from Little Flowers Church in Winnepeg mounted an "I'm Sorry" campaign during the recent pride parade. Trained and supported by The Marin Foundation in Chicago, they showed up at the parade and… asked for forgiveness. Some sneered. That's okay. These church-y folks were there humbly and honestly, and for the most part the reconciliation was returned warmly and graciously.
- There are gay Christians.
- LGBTQ people desire an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ just as much as straight people.
- Yes, both gay and straight people have suffered under many forms of bullying (common ground), but I have never once heard of a case of someone being bullied simply because they were straight. People in the LGBTQ community can't say the same. Straight folk need to stop the arguments and desire to listen to the stories of others who have experiences uniquely dark to them.
People, gay or straight, don't want to be Bible-based with the fear of hell. We are all seeking. We are all created in the image of God. We are all aching to be loved. Whatever one's take is on the afterlife, it should never be used as coercion for approaching God. Ever. Whether I was bi or not, this hellfire terror at Bible camp was nothing short of spiritual abuse (I was only 9! Ironically the first year I remember liking a woman… I just chocked it up to students idolizing teachers).
The video below has garnered much criticism as it has praise. It turns the world around and shows a society where same-sex couples are the norm and straight people are "breeders". Straight people are treated with contempt and derision, and even taught in church why hetersexuality is an abomination. The kind of bullying and judgment in the video is taken from real life experiences of people from across North America.
The controversy over the video doesn't necessarily stem from the gay-straight debates, but rather the graphic suicide of a teenage girl who comes out as straight and suffers greatly at the hands of her 'normal' classmates. A Manitoba teacher showed this in her classroom and one parent was outraged that he wasn't given the right to offer permission before his child saw the film.
After viewing it myself, I see his point, however I do believe he is taking his beef to the extreme. Call off the dogs, sir. Thank you.
Having said that, watch this for yourself and then watch it with your kids. Talk about it. Ask questions. If a teacher does end up sending home a permission form for your kids to watch this, either grant consent or decline consent with the understanding that you would rather watch this with your children at home so you can start a conversation.
Wherever we stand, we must all agree that LGBTQ violence must end on every level… from school bullying to church-shaming, to human trafficking.
I used to be THAT girl.