Dear Nay Sayers,
I see you there, on the news quite often. Standing there with your picket signs telling me that "Fags are going to hell" and "God created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and Steve" I applaud you for your originality and your cute rhymes.
For so many years when I was growing up and even as an adult, I believed you. I believed that this feeling inside of me, these thoughts, this idea of who I was, was truly against God. How could it not? You've told me all the bible verses telling me so, you've told me the stories, you told me how AIDS was God's way of killing gay people off. You told me God hated gays, you told me that it was unnatural for people of the same sex to be together. You told me there was no room in heaven for homos, you told me that the choice of homosexuality was the work of Satan. How could so many people be wrong?
Large groups of people and organizations all fighting against gay marriage. Millions spent on "protecting the sanctity of marriage", millions of deaths in God's name trying to rid the world of these unnatural freaks, these sexual deviants, these perverts. How the homosexuals were recruiting and stealing our children and teaching them about gay sex. How homosexuals should not be left alone with children because their deviant minds would force them to do things to them, that the only safe place was church because there was no room in the house of the Lord for gay people.
You told me sex and marriage were about reproduction and since gay people can't reproduce they should have no rights to it. You told me about Sodom and Gomorrah, you told me about Leviticus, you have pounded that bible on my heart over and over and over again. You told me that gay people were different, they aren't like you and I, that these deviants were only out to destroy religion and families.
I listened to all this and it really sunk in, it was burned on my brain forever. What you taught me was that God was a loving God, unless you were a homo. You taught me that everyone was welcome to the house of God.......unless they are gay. You taught me to love the sinner and not the sin.
The sad part about your preaching of love for all.....except this list of people we made for God, is that it never really felt right. To listen to the preacher tell me to love thy neighbor, to treat others as I would want to be treated myself, all those good hearty messages I held so dear to my heart, it made your message feel like a contradiction to what was the root of the message. Sadly in my heart I knew I could never be close to religion, I could never be close to God, that God didn't really want me, because I knew in my heart that I was gay.
I spent years bargaining with God, begging God to take it away, to let me be straight, to let me be like everyone else. I wanted God to reach out to me, to love me the way he loved everybody else. I was tired of being on the wrong side of the looking glass. I tried, I tried to give up thoughts of other men, I tried dating women, I tried sleeping with women, I tried to be as butch and "manly" as I could. I hid my love of music, I hid anything in my life that might be interpreted as "gay". I hid myself because I knew if the truth were to come out, I'd be alone. I'd be separated from my God who I tried to believe loved everyone the same, but you kept telling me otherwise. How can I be wrong, I'm not a preacher!?!?
In the last several years I came to accept that I was indeed a homosexual, or a fag as you like to call me. I stopped listening to you pass your judgement on others and took it personal because it always was. You weren't telling me to love the sinner and not the sin, you were telling me I wasn't loved. You were telling me I wasn't worthy of God's love and I was to be cast out of the church because I was listening to the voice of Satan.
I used to sit in church and become so angry at all of you sitting around me. Listening to a sermon about loving one another and soon after talking about groups of people that weren't welcome with the Lord, a group of people that didn't fit in and had no place in the house of worship. You were talking about me. Me, one of the only kids that paid attention in Sunday School, one of the only kids to take church seriously, one of the only kids in my group to return to church after I was confirmed. You watched me grow in Christ, you watched me learn my place in the church, you were there to watch me every step of the way, and now because of something I am you would so willingly cast me aside? I couldn't take it anymore and I slowly withdrew from you. I stopped attending church, I stopping looking you in the eye, I stopped thinking you were family and eventually stopped going to church.
I let you drive me from my church home. I let you push me away from my God. I let you put so much stress into a loving relationship between me and Jesus. I let you make me think that I couldn't be loved.
Well here I am, 32 years old, here to tell you that finally my heart has been rattled. My brain has been released, my heart has been set free, and you should be scared.
I have met people that love me for who I am. I know there are churches out there that accept me for who I am, all of me, not just the bits and pieces that fit inside those narrow minded walls you are so fond of. There are people out there that accept me and reminded me that God's love is for everyone. I met people that think that even if it turns out that homosexuality is a sin, that God loves me anyway, God loves every bit of me, imperfect just like every other human on the planet. I've come to understand that you could never fully get it because you aren't gay. It's like trying to get a man to understand what being a woman is like and vise/versa, you just can't understand there is no choice, there is no decision, it's how God made me.
I've met gay couples that are more loving than those heterosexual couples you keep shoving in my face. I met gay people who seem to know more about Jesus' love than you could ever comprehend. I've met preachers who love unconditionally, I've met families who love their children gay or straight. I've met friends that reminded me that God's love is for me just as much as it is for you.
So you go ahead and make your signs, come up with your cute rhymes. Please continue to tell me how much God hates fags because you know what? I no longer listen. I no longer let you talk myself down, I no longer let you berate me with your hate slogans or your judgements. They are falling on deaf ears. I was reminded recently through acts of God that I am loved, that I AM worthy of Christ, and no matter who I love, no matter what you think, God is there for me and God loves me. Instead of replying to your hate, instead of fighting with you about who's right and who's wrong, I will pray. I will pray that you feel the love that I feel, I will pray that you will reach out to your neighbors who need help, I will pray that you will stop judging and see the good around you, and finally, I will pray for you to see God in the way I do, because you really can't understand what you're missing.