You meet a lot of good people blogging. One of the best I’ve met is Mike Moore of Asheville, NC, a man who, like most LGBT people, has every last reason to consider Christianity his enemy.
Sometimes Mike’ll write me an email filled with such well-said passion that I’ll turn it into a blog post (with his permission, of course), as I did with Would You Confront a Pastor as This Gay Man Did? and A Good Week to Hate Christians.
Mike recently wrote me the below. I wanted to share it because I think what it says about life for gay people can’t be said often enough. I don’t know when LGBT people will never again have reason to give such testimony, but it sure as hell won’t be soon enough.
Take it away, Mike.
Many of us in the LBGT community must lie to survive—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. We must lie to survive our families, keep our jobs, stay in our schools … have you seen the brutal, off-shore camps of abuse endured by kids sent off by their “loving” parents in order to be made hetero? Kids die at those places.
We survive by lying. In twenty-nine states, any employee, from a file-clerk to a CEO, can be fired for no other reason than that he or she is gay. Someone is convinced that being gay is a moral abomination—and just like that you’ve lost your income, you and your family’s health benefits, your work relationships, the structure of your daily life.
A mere two months before my graduation Westmont College threatened to expel me because I had homo-sex off-campus. No Westmont straight couples, living and sleeping together off-campus, were threatened with this penalty, even though they were also breaking the school’s honor code. Well, I lied my ass off: phony repentance, crocodile tears, counseling filled with lies and promises I never intended to keep, prayers that were jokes. Two months later I walked away with the diploma I had earned. And to secure that diploma I would tell the same lies all over again. I would have to.
Lying has kept us LGBT people alive for generations. Do we want to lie? Of course not. Does our society at large provide a safe place for us to be honest? It absolutely does not. If you want to see the hatred rained down upon us by “respectable” people, check out some gay blogs—Towleroad and Joe.My.God come to mind—or watch some of the Christian leaders doing the rounds of talking-head TV shows. What you read and see will turn your stomach. It should, anyway. It does ours. And a lot of that churning inside of us is raw fear.
Even now, states like Arizona and Kansas are trying to make discrimination against the LBGT community legal. Read those laws yourselves. Then ask yourself: How would people react if those exact same laws were targeting Christians? Imagine sitting in a diner, and having the owner or manager come up to your table, and say, “I saw you pray over your meal. I want you Christians out of my restaurant, right now. We don’t tolerate Christians in this place. Get your things together, and leave. Right now.”
I built an amazing, 28-year marriage that I wouldn’t trade for world or God. And that marriage is largely built upon lies: lies to our families; lies to our neighbors; lies to work colleagues who made it clear they considered gays as perverts and pedophiles; lies to hotel clerks in hostile locations; lies to hospital staff (“He’s my brother”) in order to get hospital visitations.
And then there are the lies that hover over us, daily and constantly, like dark and heavy clouds. I’d love to hold my husband’s hand as we walk down the street together, just like all those straight couples doing the same. But it’s not safe for us to do that. Just like straight couples, my husband and I would like to hug and kiss and jump up and down with excitement upon seeing each other at airports. But we dampen our natural reactions, so as not to suffer hearing “Fags!”, or worse, as we know we would.
Every time I want to throw my arm around my husband in public and pull him close—be it in a restaurant, club, bar, movie theater, or just strolling down the street—I check myself by wondering, “Is this a safe place for that?” The answer is usually, “Better not risk it.” And I live in liberal towns: New York City, San Francisco, Hollywood, Asheville!
Every time this society forces me to “check” my actions to ensure that my sexuality will bring no harm to my husband or myself, I am forced to live a lie. I cannot be honest about who I am, what I think, how I live, or how I wish to behave. I am prohibited from publicly showing the same light-hearted romantic affection that no straight person thinks twice before showing his or her love.
I am a liar. I have no choice but to be. And for that I have mostly to thank religion—especially, of course, Christianity, which has always been eager to propagate the real lie, which is that there’s anything at all unnatural, aberrant, or offensive about being gay.
On his Facebook page, Mike wrote along with his link to this post, “For all of my Christian friends … I know—I hope—you know I’m not referring to you. You guys actually believe in Jesus, which is cool.”