gay thursday: coming out

gay thursday: coming out January 26, 2012

coming out gay

Coming out can be scary. The risk of rejection is great.

There are those who have been there. Done that.

And they understand.

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  • so so sad …

  • Jacquie Kernick

    Despite all the baggage we accumulated over many years of exposure to fundamental/evangelical teachings (and the homosexual being an abomination to God)….God rescued our family, delivered us out of the hands of radical Christianity which was definitely a plus when our son came out to us.

    We were able to embrace him as the loved son he always was and will be…I am sad that he struggled so many years with the dread of rejection of us as his parents and held the ‘secret’ of being gay for way too long. I am so thankful we had left behind our judgmental attitude and he is free to be the person God created him to be.

    Thanks for remembering the struggle, David.

  • but so rewarding, who else can we be but us?

  • Jacquie Kernick

    Definitely better to be ourselves….feels so good to let ‘all’ the masks go 🙂 You are so right, David Waters.

  • Kimberly

    I’m still struggling with many issues on this… ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE “OURSELVES”?

    IS “coming out” a good thing? why is homosexuality NOT sin? Was everything we were taught wrong?

    I have some serious questions and sincerely desire answers!

  • Hi Kimberly: I can’t give you answers. Especially to something as loaded as this. I suggest you keep going on the same path you’ve begun: asking questions. There is life in this journey.

  • Jacquie Kernick

    Kimberley, there are many questions around the teachings we’ve received and accepted for so long. Coming out is a decision not to be taken lightly because there will be some very hurtful reactions and rejections from many. When it becomes harder to deny the real you, that seems to be when most decide they can’t live under a false persona any longer so risk all and come out.

    All I can say to you is that it is good to let love by your yardstick always. I hope there are some answers for you in your search…don’t be afraid of asking the questions and if you know anyone who is gay it is good to speak with them.

  • LOVE IT! PFLAG is a great organization that greatly helped both me and my daughter. Let me see that normal, responsible, great people were gay and happy. I left my fears go and found that most people had no problem with her being Lesbian. She recently had a marriage ceremony here in Texas in spite of it not being legal. There was a huge crowd and only my daughter-in-law and her kids didn’t come. She’s Baptist. I always figured Jesus was gay!!

  • Kimberly, note that not being gay is NOT in the 10 commandments if you adhere to those. The Bible is subject to man’s interpretation and was written by man. I’m atheist so it doesn’t apply to me. All I know is that my daughter was unhappy, drinking far too much and was suicidal. She came out at 30 and has been nothing but happy since then with a full life and plenty of friends and family that love her and love who she is. She has a son that is well adjusted and an ex-husband that is her friend and understands. It’s your decision but be yourself. It’s a good thing.

  • Nancy T.

    @Kimberly…questioning the ‘sin’ of homosexuality was one of the early things that had me start questioning my faith, back in my more standard believer days.

    This was in the mid/late eighties, when fear about AIDS was still high, and where acts of violence and discrimation against gays and lesbians was still hight.

    For a short period of time I bought into the ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’, but… this wasn’t a ‘choice’.

    I also was aware of the hypocrisy of how ‘gay’ sin, or ‘non-virgin’ sin, or other ‘moral’ issues, were regarded far far differently than sins of omission, white lies, tax fudging, white collar crime in general (who is more sinful, the girl that has sex before marriage, or the CEO that knows his company is lax on pollution standards that affect the health of hundreds/thousands of people and animals that live nearby)

    Then people compared it to pedophilia, where ‘born that way’ doesn’t make it ‘right’. But, ‘pedophilia’ is highly dysfunctional, and being gay wasn’t, in fact, being gay seemed as much ‘born that way’ as heterosexuality, or being a blonde, or having good spatial acuity.

    So, my next step was struggling with ‘do we fix’ how we are born? This has a lot complexity, how do we value people with differences that they don’t have control over? Extrovert, Introvert, etc.

    My final breakthrough was biology. I already knew about hermaphrodites, but I hadn’t realized that besides the small number of completely hermaprhodite people (fully developed genitalia for both the female and male sex) that there were any number of ‘partial’ hermaphrodites.

    So… god makes mistakes? Is being a hermaphrodite a ‘sin’? What ‘sex’ is a full or partial hermaphrodite supposed to ‘pick’. Do we use surgery to ‘fix’ all cases of full and partial hermaprhodites? Who makes that decision? The parent of a minor? the minor? we wait til the kid is of age of majority?

    These questions were also reinforced by some ‘memoirs’ that were published during this time. One was by a child whose parents made the ‘choice’ and had his ‘ambiguous’ genitalia surgery shaped to be a vagina, and was treated as a girl, dressed as a girl, and named a girl’s name. And he went through hell, being someone that always felt ‘different’ (not knowing about the surgery or decision) and felt he was a lesbian, and had much confusion. In his teens some partial secondary male sex traits appeared (more facial hair, etc) causing more distress and confusion. Finally, knowing the full story, and as an adult, he had surgery to change him back into the ‘boy’ he should have been allowed to grow into.

    I figured if god can’t even get the physical biology right, then maybe we shouldn’t be so hung up the biology of the brain, it’s chemistry and hormones.

    People aren’t ‘deviant’ or ‘sinful’ because they are born differently. In some cases, there may be people that are born with differences that are problematic when they act upon them, such as psychopathology… however even this is tricky.

    Many Fortune 500 CEOs and presidents show the same amount of lack of morals and lack of empathy and other psychopathic traits, but we only think of them as ‘criminals’ when they bilk thousands and thousands of people of their life-savings. We think of the psychopath that is a serial killer, as both criminal and insane and often ‘evil’. Often, those that are very sick indeed (ie ‘evil’) have also had a number of ‘nurture’ dysfunctions heaped upon their ‘nature’ wiring.

    NOTE: I am in no way ‘condoning’ pedophilia or serial killers, or saying that they are automatons with no choice, but I do tend to think of them as very very sick individuals more so than ‘evil’ in the biblical sense.

    I believe that our sexuality falls along a continuum, that we are biologically and physiologically along a continuum, and that on one end their may be completely straight heterosxuality, but along the continuum, going on to no one particular end point, are any number of expressions of who we are, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transexual, transgender, and any other number of ways of being. I also believe, that sometimes people have choice in these matters, including to choose heterosexuality. I believe this because sometimes people make choices based on politics and life experience. I knew someone that had been so abused physically and mentally by men, that her only expression of love and sexuality was through connections with women. This was not a ‘fix’ it case. This is someone that was raped so brutally and repeatedly, from a young age, that she had no interest in trying to put herself through the trauma of making sex with a guy be ‘okay’. And she was completely comfortable with being on a continuum where she found herself able to relate and be sexual with women. Some people also make choices based on politics or religion.

    NOTE: I stress that ‘choice’ is often there when someone already has bisexual proclivities and decides to ‘pick’ one sexual expression, rather than be fully themselves as bisexual, or because other matters make it more obvious to them to pick one. I also think that in some cases people choose against their biological leaning, for a number of reasons, and live with the difficulty of going against their own nature. To some degree, I suppose, it would be akin to choosing to remain a virgin, for those without a strong sex drive, this may not be that difficult, for others it may be a great hardship, but for whatever personal reasons, they choose to stay celibate.

    I am sure that I am not explaining this well enough, but I want to emphasize that ‘choice’ does not trump how we are born. It isn’t a matter that ‘virginity’ is the same as sexual orientation, so much as that we are all born sexual and sexed creatures, from the time of our birth to the day that we die.

    Again, sorry for the long post, but I do believe that there are many aspects that I touch on, that many people haven’t considered, in their questioning of some forms of sexual expression as being a ‘sin’. I hope that I have provided some food for thought.

  • marcie

    Kimberley keep asking questions but be open to answers that will be to long and wide for any box!!! =). I wish I could offer help here but Nancy makes a point that also lead me to question my belief. Keep questioning!!!

  • Pat Pope

    And it doesn’t just relate to coming out sexually. Coming out of one’s theological closet can cause people to draw away from you and hate you. We like it better when everyone sings the same tune, whether they believe it or not.

  • ha! I love gay thursdays!

  • marcie

    Kimberley in an attempt to truly reach out because I have asked these questions and the road was hardcore. Please feel free to Facebook me Marcie Dillard. All any can do at this point is share my amazing journey because the farther I get the less I know. But freedom is so sweet. Your welcome and invited to have what little I may have to give

  • Matt

    We shouldn’t set apart homosexuality as the unpardonable sin nor should we cast people aside who live in such a way. However, saying that homosexuality is not a sin, simply for the sake of avoiding offense, is nothing less than dishonesty and cowardice.

    I had a gay coworker at my previous job and he was honest about his lifestyle with me. He told me he knew that what he was doing was wrong (I didn’t need to tell him), yet he couldn’t make himself right; he couldn’t make himself attracted to women. I don’t doubt that. But the point is he is honest about it, and honesty, I believe to be precious to God, worth more than any feat of piety.

    Saying homosexuality is not a sin is the inability to be honest about who you are, thus denying your need for grace. If we sweep one sin under the rug, what is to stop us from treating all sin in like manner? We then run the risk of believing ourselves to be entitled and rejecting grace all together.

  • Christine

    Kimberly:

    Maybe you have anough responses already… maybe too much food for thought or further questions. I could add my story to the useful ones here, but it might already be overwhelming.

    But, if it helps, here’s how your questions struck me:

    “I’m still struggling with many issues on this… ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE “OURSELVES”?”

    What a loaded question. Ask yourself this: when you think of this question, what do you imagine being the alternative? Who else would each of us be? What characteristics that makes someone “themselves” are you thinking of?

    “IS “coming out” a good thing?”

    How would you usually decide if something is good? What’s the criteria?

    “why is homosexuality NOT sin?”

    Why would it be?

    “Was everything we were taught wrong?”

    “We” were not taught anything. We were each taught different things – some similar, some not. Some of what everyone is taught is likely wrong, maybe all. How could someone else know enough to evaluate all you’ve ever been taught?

    “I have some serious questions and sincerely desire answers!”

    There’s a lot of support here for emphasizing questions over answers – and I don’t disagree. But I get you in that we need anough peace and confidence in “where I think things might be at the moment” to at least live our lives. Questioning is good, but overwhelming confusion is not a state we want to remain in.

    For what it’s worth, I think there’s some valuable dialogue here is you want to get a place wherequestioning starts to feel mangeable and productive again.

  • Christine

    Matt:

    You assume people are just trying to avoid offending people. You presupposed, despite their honest, heart-felt stories that they actually believe the opposite of what they say. You are not taking them at their word; you are calling us all lyers based on *your* beliefs.

    Do you truly believe that’s appropriate?

  • Sarah

    Love it.

  • Matt

    Hi Christine,

    What I said here is not up for debate. Show me any part of scripture that says homosexuality is not a sin and I would take an opposing argument into consideration… Or do you think that to be too dogmatic and cliche of a response? I said what I said for anyone willing to listen to both sides of the fence and weigh the arguments without preconceived bias.

  • matt: impossible!

  • Marcie

    I appriciate and repect where you are at matt but feel that many of us were on your side of the fence and have jumped it. At least I have. There isn’t anything you could say that I havent already believed myself at one point. If you want to learn from me as you expect others to learn from you we may have something to converse about. Blessings

  • Gary

    Matt I would love for you to actually hear the hypocrisy of your words.

    First you said “What I said here is not up for debate.”. Ironically enough you followed that declaration with some silly mumbo jumbo about what type of argument you would be willing to take into consideration. Of course those very arguments have been made and you simply close your ears and mind to them.

    Secondly you stated ” I said what I said for anyone willing to listen to both sides of the fence and weigh the arguments without preconceived bias.”

    The blatant hypocrisy between these two statements is glaring and hysterical. You unashamedly told us you are not willing to live by the same standard that you expect us to adhere to. What possible motive should we have for wasting our time on you?

  • Gary

    We shouldn’t set apart Internet usage as the unpardonable sin nor should we cast people aside who live in such a way. However, saying that Internet usage is not a sin, simply for the sake of avoiding offense, is nothing less than dishonesty and cowardice.

    What I just stated is not up for debate. Show me any part of scripture that says the Internet is not a sin and I would take an opposing argument into consideration.

  • Homosexuality is not a sin.

    There is no secular, biblical, psychiatric, medical or legal reason to deny people full participation in society or to deny them the full exercise of their rights because of their sexual orientation.

    Clicking on my name will link to a document of support that can be downloaded as a PDF file.

    The following extended quote is excerpted from an article by Richard Elliot Friedman and Shawna Dolansky, authors of The Bible Now:

    We are scholars, not politicians. Our job isn’t to score points for a side, push an agenda or to re-size the Bible to fit our personal views.

    So here’s the text and a summary of the evidence:

    “You shall not lay a male the layings of a woman; it is a to’ebah” (offensive thing)
    — Leviticus 18:22.

    “And a man who will lay a male the layings of a woman: the two of them have done a to’ebah (offensive thing). They shall be put to death. Their blood is on them”
    — Leviticus 20:13.

    We acknowledged that many people have recognized that these two texts pretty clearly do prohibit at least some kinds of male-male sex … The law really means what pretty much everyone has taken it to mean for centuries. Whatever view one takes, one must address the law fairly in terms of what it says.

    So we sought to contribute another perspective that we believe can be helpful on this subject. The text identifies male homosexual acts by the technical term to’ebah, translated in English here as “an offensive thing” or in older translations as “an abomination.” This is important because most things that are forbidden in biblical law are not identified with this word. In both of the contexts in Leviticus (chapters 18 and 20), male homosexuality is the only act to be called this. (Other acts are included broadly in a line at the end of chapter 18.) So this term, which is an important one in the Bible in general, is particularly important with regard to the law about male homosexual acts.

    The question is: Is this term to’ebah an absolute, meaning that an act that is a to’ebah is wrong in itself and can never be otherwise? Or is the term relative — meaning that something that is a to’ebah to one person may not be offensive to another, or something that is a to’ebah in one culture may not be offensive in another, or something that is a to’ebah in one generation or time period may not be offensive in another — in which case the law may change as people’s perceptions change?

    When one examines all the occurrences of this technical term in the Hebrew Bible, one finds that elsewhere the term is in fact relative. For example, in the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that, if the Pharaoh asks them what their occupation is, they should say that they’re cowherds. They must not say that they are shepherds. Why? Because, Joseph explains, all shepherds are an offensive thing (to’ebah) to the Egyptians. But shepherds are not an offensive thing to the Israelites or Moabites or many other cultures. In another passage in that story, we read that Egyptians don’t eat with Israelites because that would be an offensive thing (to’ebah) to them. But Arameans and Canaanites eat with Israelites and don’t find it offensive. See also the story of the Exodus from Egypt, where Moses tells Pharaoh that the things that Israelites sacrifice would be an offensive thing (to’ebah) to the Egyptians. But these things are certainly not an offensive thing to the Israelites.

    Now, one might respond that the law here is different because it concerns an offensive thing to God — and is therefore not subject to the relativity of human values. But that is actually not the case here. The Bible specifically identifies such laws about things that are divine offenses with the phrase “an offensive thing to the LORD” (to’ebat yhwh). That phrase is not used here in the law about male homosexual acts. It is not one of the laws that are identified as a to’ebah to God!

    If this is right, then it is an amazing irony. Calling male homosexual acts a to’ebah was precisely what made the biblical text seem so absolutely anti-homosexual and without the possibility of change. But it is precisely the fact of to’ebah that opens the possibility of the law’s change. So, (1) whatever position one takes on this matter, left or right, conservative or liberal, one should acknowledge that the law really does forbid homosexual sex between males but not between females. And (2) one should recognize that the biblical prohibition is not one that is eternal and unchanging. The prohibition in the Bible applies only so long as male homosexual acts are perceived to be offensive. This could involve arguments and evidence from specialists in biology, psychology and culture. They are beyond our range of expertise as Bible scholars. Our task here has been to make the biblical evidence known.

    Are Biblical Laws About Homosexuality Eternal?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-elliott-friedman/biblical-law-on-homosexuality_b_911963.html

    Richard Elliot Friedman, Shawna Dolansky
    (authors of “The Bible Now“)
    (pp. 1-40)
    Huffington Post
    posted 8/1/2011 04:52 PM ET
    retrieved 9/16/2011

  • Matt

    It’s not up for debate. Unless, of course, you’re willing to open the scripture and commit intellectual suicide. Or perhaps deny them.

  • Matt

    Gary,

    I forgive you for being insolent.

  • Gary

    Matt,

    I forgive you for being a dickhead.

  • Sarah

    Kimberly- keep going sweetheart, all things will come.

    Sarah

  • Kimberly,

    If you were taught the following, then what you were taught is wrong. This is theology that is either post-biblical or even non-biblical. Most of the text below is taken from: (Later in the book, Marcus Borg explains the meaning of the language as understood biblically and by the early church)

    Speaking Christian
    Why Christian Words have lost Their Meaning and Power –
    AND HOW THEY CAN BE RESTORED
    by
    Marcus J. Borg
    pp. 11-16

    – – – – –

    Christianity “has four central elements:”
    1) The Afterlife: Heaven is the reason for being Christian.

    2) Sin and Forgiveness: Sin is the central issue in our life with God. Forgiveness is the solution. Because we are sinners, we deserve to be punished.

    3) Jesus Died For Our Sins: What is most important about Jesus is his death. He died for out sins in our place, paid the price of our disobedience, and thereby made our forgiveness possible. Again, what matters most about Jesus is his death as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world so that we can be forgiven and go to heaven.

    4) Believing: Affirming a core set of statements to be true. Believing, or ‘having faith’ is what God wants from us and what makes it possible to go to heaven. This means not only believing that Jesus died for our sins, but much more, including that the Bible is the inerrant revelation of God, literally and absolutely true. Affirming a set of beliefs matter – this is the primary meaning of ‘faith.’

    Within this heaven-and-hell framework, the vocabulary or “language” of Christianity has developed specific definitions. Its dictionary would contain the following words and definitions:

    Faith means believing a set of statements about God, Jesus, and the Bible to be true, often literally true.

    God refers to a personlike being separate from the universe. The character of God is both loving and punitive. God loves us enough to send Jesus to die for us, but God will also judge and punish those who do not believe or behave as they ought.

    Mercy is about God forgiving us, even though we are sinful and deserve to be punished.

    Peace is understood as an individual internal state – peace of mind and being at peace with God.

    Redeemed, Redeemer, Redemption (like Salvation, Saved, and Savior) refer to Jesus as the redeemer who redeems us from our sins and brings about our redemption.

    Righteousness is about individual virtue – about being a righteous person.

    Repentance is remorse for sin and resolving to live a better life.

    Sacrifice refers to the death of Jesus on the cross as payment for our sins.

    Salvation refers to life after death; it is about going to heaven.

    Saved means to be saved from our sins.

    Savior refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins.

  • marcie

    OMG Gary bah ha ha

  • marcie

    Same cloth brother although I am much more of a diplomat by nature

  • Gary

    I do try to be diplomatic. But sometimes…you just gotta say it like it is. LOL

  • shelly

    The term “homosexual(ity)” didn’t exist until the late 1800s and didn’t start appearing in English versions of the Bible until the 1950s or so.

    Not to mention… what about historical and cultural context?

    I believe the Mosaic laws about male/male sex being considered taboo have to do with two things:

    1) Males were considered dominant within Hebrew culture; for one male to become submissive to another one in the same way a woman would was to diminish his masculinity; and

    2) They’d just left a land (Egypt) where male/male sex was common between citizens and temple prostitutes.

    Even so… it wasn’t necessarily about the act itself; it was about the Hebrews setting themselves apart from the Egyptians they’d left behind, as well as the Canaanites. Nothing to do with two men in a committed, loving relationship. (Also, as noted, there were no laws about two women sleeping together as they would with a man.)

    The writings of Paul have to be considered similarly. The last bit of Romans 1 has to be read within the context of the earlier verses in that chapter, as well as the start of Romans 2, IMO. Why were those people “given over” to “dishonourable passions” (Concordant Literal New Testament)? Because they took their focus away from God, the Creator, and began worshiping creation or other gods. This is the sort of thing Paul would’ve seen in his travels; it was common practice in Ancient Rome.

    The 1 Corinthians reference… the Greek words “arsenokoites” and “malakoi” don’t translate to “homosexuality”. “Arsenokoites” means “male beds”; “malakoi” is used elsewhere in the New Testament to mean “soft”. The King James translates this word to mean “effeminate” in this passage. The Concordant Literal translates the two words as “sodomites” (those who practice sodomy — either anal sex (an act not limited to m/m pairs, although they do practice it; the NIV uses the phrase “shrine prostitute”) or zoophilia (person/animal)) and “catamites” (young boys kept by older men for sexual purposes; it is suggested by some scholars that the boy the Centurion asked Jesus to heal in the Gospels was a “kept boy”). Again, it has nothing to do with two men (or two women) in a committed, loving relationship; it has to do with one being used for sex — something I think all of us would agree is WRONG.

    And then there’s Jude. It says one of Sodom’s sins was going after “strange flesh”. Some would say it’s a condemnation of homosexuality, but if you read the story in Genesis, Lot’s visitors were angels. The angels were the “strange flesh”; the mob wanted to rape them. (Again, I think all of us would agree that rape is WRONG.) Yet, in Ezekiel (among other passages), Sodom’s sins are better-defined: the city was very rich, but they did nothing to help the poor. They were also accused of adultery, lying, impenitence (being unrepentant), careless living, fornication (not pre-marital sex, but illicit/illegal sex; the Latin root, “fornicati”, refers to a place where prostitutes did their business), and lasciviousness. Again, nothing to do with two men (or women) in a loving, committed relationship.

    Simply put, Ancient Hebrews, Ancient Israelites, and Ancient Greeks and Romans had no understanding of the concept that two men, or two women, could be in a loving, affirming, committed, consensual relationship with each other similar to a man and woman.

    What The Bible Says (and Doesn’t Say) about Homosexuality:
    http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/

    When Christ Was Gay:
    http://www.soulforce.org/forums/showthread.php?t=648 (original author’s site has been sucked into the internet vortex, for the most part; thankfully someone did a copy-and-paste job!)

    I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay:
    http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html

  • Christine

    I laugh and am thrilled by you all. There was a time when lone voices cryed out to teach the things you seem now even more expert in. I could not have said it better.

    There’s more, of course, but enough to make the point very clearly that Biblical arguments abound.

    What I aimed to called attention to, what Matt’s assertion that others did not really believe what they said – that we were essentially lying. I think you’re long and determined responses speak for themselves. Whatever the ultimate truth, clear views exist here – and no one is shying away just to be polite.

    At a minimum for beneficial discussion, we have to at least accept, until given explicit reason to think otherwise, that people geniunely believe what they say, and that views different than our own are real and exist. Without this, indeed, no constructive discourse follows.

    Once you accept our sincerity, Matt, I would be pleased to dialogue.

  • @Gary:

    “We shouldn’t set apart Internet usage as the unpardonable sin nor should we cast people aside who live in such a way. However, saying that Internet usage is not a sin, simply for the sake of avoiding offense, is nothing less than dishonesty and cowardice.

    What I just stated is not up for debate. Show me any part of scripture that says the Internet is not a sin and I would take an opposing argument into consideration.”

    If I wasn’t gay and happily married, I just might develop a crush on you for that :0) Made my day. Thanks.

  • Gary

    Thanks Cindy…glad I could give you a chuckle. Now you’ve made my day.

  • Christine

    Hey, Gary, that’s my wife. Watch out! 😀 LOL

  • Christine

    Hey, honey. Cute. Glad to see you back 🙂

  • Gary

    Hey Christine I found something else we have in common. We are both married to wonderfully witty women. How blessed we both are!

  • marcie

    So Christine just cuz I’m a people person… If I made the connection Cindy is your wife,?

  • @Gary: 🙂 Yes, very much so!

    @marcie: Yes, that was just my less than subtle way of showing off. That wonderful woman is indeed married to me. 🙂 Years ago (wow, time flies), we were kind of a tag-team duo on this site. If was a different cast of characters, then. Still new not to be on the defensive all the time.

  • marcie

    Ahh so sweet. Have my own love story but won’t tell that one this board would overload. But nice to know who is who. Live in Washington state believing gay marriage laws will pass for my sweet family member!!! Blessings 🙂

  • Hopefully Washington will come on board soon Marcie. It was nice to see companies like Microsoft and Nike come out in support. I follow the fight for marriage equality in the US with great interest. We’ve had full equality here in Canada since 2005 and most legal benefits through the extension of our “common-law” status to same-sex couples from 1999. Christine and I sometimes talk about the possibility of going to live in New York someday (temporarily, I’d never want to live in the US permanently, no offence) but even though New York has marriage equality at the state level, it would still be very difficult for us to go there as long as the ridiculousness that is DOMA remains in effect blocking any federal recognition of our marriage.

    On an interesting side note, back in my fundie days, I refused to vote for the politicians that supported marriage equality and even wrote a letter to my member to that effect; the only thing I ever felt strongly enough about to actually write rather than be content just signing my name to a petition. In the end, I was really glad that people like me weren’t able to dictate the rights of people like (the real) me in this country. Your country is bound to progress to equality eventually as well, regardless of the waning influence of the religious nut-jobs.

  • marcie

    Thank you for writing. I like you am thankful that while I walked in utter ignorance I had no real influence =]. I could of never imagined what my life is now. Although amazing and full of love it would have been an abomination to the women I was. Still sometimes have a hard time if I allow that women of the past to stand in judgment of the free women I am today. Many blessings to you and yours.

  • In my experience (yours may differ), homosexuals I’ve known automatically assume that if they come out, Christians will hate them. That’s more than likely not the case, although it does happen. While I do consider it a sin based on biblical definitions and events, I haven’t and wouldn’t hate a person who came out to me. (Not many people I know who are heterosexuals make their sexuality and sex life the main topic of discussion, though I have encountered ones who do.) And patting homosexuals on the back acting like nothing is wrong is disingenuous. What about the health dangers? I won’t mention the many terrible diseases that come about when ignoring natural laws of in and out.

    As a fan of Freddie Mercury and Keith Haring, I despise the lifestyle that took those two creative individuals far too early. If only someone had loved them enough to tell them the risks, we could still be enjoying their work today.

    And it’s fine to bring “God” into the equation if you’d like. But doesn’t love for the Creator imply respect for His Creation (in this context, the human body and its design)?

    So, hope you guys don’t mind me being honest by coming out and saying that it’s going to be hard to convince other people that you love your Dad by driving his car backwards into a tree after puking your guts out in it…

  • Joshua, wow, I have so much to say to you that I don’t even know where to begin.

    First of all, the reason many gay people assume that if they come out to a Christian they will hate them is really simple. It’s called experience. No, not all Christians hate gay people (even if we ignore for now the fact that those are not mutually exclusive groups). Perhaps not even a majority of Christians hate gay people. But many do and those that do tend to be very vocal in their hate. Of course, even those that do will say they don’t because hate and Christianity aren’t exactly good bedfellows, but neither their words nor actions disguise the contempt and disgust that they feel in their hearts. Your post is certainly not an exception to this rule.

    Secondly, hate by any other name hurts as much. The gay people you know who you assume made the assumption that coming out to a Christian will mean that the Christian will hate them, are quite likely fully aware that those Christians they hesitate to come out to would not define how they feel about them as “hate”. But they probably realize that the response of many Christians will be condescension, stereotyping and most of all, ignorant assertions about things they know nothing about. You know, basically your post. All of these things can sting as much (and sometimes more) than clear hatred. If you really do not hate gay people, perhaps you might consider dissecting what you just said and ask yourself, If somebody substituted heterosexual for gay and said the same thing to you, would you feel loved or despised?

    Your comparison of love between two people of the same sex to someone borrowing their father’s car and puking in it, then driving it backwards into a tree is beyond offensive. You have demonstrated zero understanding of what it means to be gay and also throw out “health dangers” as though you have some clue about what you are talking about when you are clearly woefully misinformed. And as you are clearly literate and have access to the internet, I can only assume that you are wilfully ignorant. If this is any representation of how you would respond to a gay friend coming out to you, they wouldn’t be that far off the mark if they were apprehensive about getting a hateful response.

    Being gay and having sex with someone of the same sex are not one and the same thing, for starters. Just like being straight and having sex with someone of the opposite sex are not one and the same thing. You can be celibate and gay just as you can be celibate and straight. Being gay isn’t just about sex. The “health dangers” you so casually speak of are about sex so let’s make that clear from the start. There are no particular health dangers associated directly with who you are attracted to. And having sex by its very nature brings with it certain health risks, be it straight sex or gay sex. So let’s talk about the health risks for a moment of gay sex versus straight sex. Contrary to popular myth amongst homophobes and those who’ve just never had a reason to find out otherwise, gay sex is not inherently more risky than straight sex. In both cases there are many different factors to consider. In either case, your choice of partner is the first factor to determine risk. Obviously no partner at all is the only way to completely avoid any risk of sexually transmitted disease whether you are gay or straight. Next best is to be monogamous with someone you trust to be honest about their previous sexual encounters which obviously affect your risk factor. This is the same whether you are gay or straight. Being gay does not make you promiscuous any more than being straight exempts you from such behaviour. Nor does being gay make your partner any more or less trustworthy than a straight partner. The only potential difference in health risk would be that which comes from the acts themselves. It is certainly true that not all sex acts carry the same level of risk. Although again, this isn’t really a gay/straight issue either though certain acts may be more prevalent amongst gay people than straight, there isn’t exactly a perfect dividing line between gay sex acts and straight, as much as you might like to think there is. Anal sex carries a slightly elevated risk of transmission of sexual diseases than does vaginal sex, but anal sex is not specifically a gay thing. Straight people do it to. And there is no higher risk of transmission between two men engaged in anal sex than there is a man and a woman engaged in anal sex. There are lots of other sex acts in which people engage other than penetrative sex which all carry less risk of disease transmission (in differing degrees). Believe it or not, there are some gay men that never engage in anal sex for one reason or another (sometimes religious, it being the only gay sex act actually mentioned in the bible as offensive). These men are not at a higher risk of infection by virtue of being gay. And as for lesbians, there is nothing that two women might do together that carries as high a risk of infection as having plain old sex with a man. How bout that.

    Finally, I cannot let slide your little bracketed jab that demonstrates a complete ignorance of what coming out is all about. You said, in reference to gay people coming out, “(Not many people I know who are heterosexuals make their sexuality and sex life the main topic of discussion, though I have encountered ones who do.)” Being in a relatively supportive environment where homosexuality is becoming less and less of an issue, I am acutely aware that I “come out” to complete strangers on a regular basis, often without even thinking about it at the time. If I am in casual conversation with someone I hardly know, I might, in the course of making small talk, mention something about my wife. In doing so, I just outted myself to that person. Coming out is not about talking about your sex life. Heterosexual people “come out” as heterosexual on a regular basis, the difference is that they aren’t even aware of it because they are part of the majority and therefore it isn’t going to raise any eyebrows or set off any bigots when they come out. Every time someone talks about their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. Every time they hold hands with their significant other in public. In small ways people “come out” all the time and nobody even notices until it is a gay person coming out, then all of a sudden it is about them flaunting their sexuality in public. I’ve been down this road. I’ve dealt with people who want me to hide my relationship in public and don’t even see the hypocrisy of that as they would never ask the same thing of a heterosexual couple but somehow for me it is seen as flaunting it or pushing it in their face. Open your eyes and look around. Gay people (in general) do not talk about sex any more than straight people, you just read things into our perfectly normal actions that you wouldn’t read into the exact same actions by a straight couple. It is not our fault that when certain people see perfectly innocent actions between gay people (holding hand while walking down the street, kissing good bye at the airport, bragging about their wonderful spouse, etc) their brains automatically go to what those people are doing in bed. When I see a heterosexual couple together just being a couple, my mind does not wander to their sex life. That is your problem, not ours.

  • marcie

    Joshua, ignorance such as displayed in your post is bedfellows with hatred. If pushed to far I believe you will feel it bubble up. My prayer for you is that you will not defensively feel you must hit the ball out of your court but take time to ponder what Cindy has said and ask yourself one honest question. What if oh god I am wrong?

  • @Cindy, thanks for the extended reply. It was very emotion-filled. Although you make several wrong assumptions about a person you know absolutely nothing about, I did press on to the end. I’m not certain why it is OK for you to insult people who disagree with you and then take offense at my casual comment about the misuse of a car and the profession of loving a father being contradictory (comparing it to bringing “God” into the conversation). If you knew intimate details about my own past and the deep hurt I’ve endured, you would apologize — or maybe you wouldn’t care at all; after all, most never consider that kind of thing, though their past encounters with “Christians” is enough to justify their life-long disdain for them in the eyes of the people that applaud them. But to make a long, difficult story short, I have every justification to hate gay people. But I don’t. You can accuse me of hate all you want. I know it isn’t true.

    @Marice, is a rhetorical question placed a top an insult of a stranger somehow more “intelligent”? Wrong about what? Wrong about health hazards of homosexual activity? (I gave two examples.) To say that there are minimal or absolutely no health risks to homosexual sex is the position of ignorance. It ignores studies of the average life span of homosexuals, the rampant promiscuity, drug use, depression, and so on. Those things are not so different suffered by promiscuous heterosexual counterparts who engage in similar behavior, which is part of the point: Abnormal sexual behavior has significant health dangers. But judging from past comments, you’re probably not listening at this point. So I’ll stop and pass this along to you. Here it is, short and sweet, from the doctors, the American College of Pediatricians, in fact:

    http://factsaboutyouth.com/posts/health-risks-of-the-homosexual-lifestyle/

  • marcie

    Joshua, no it was a real question one rooted in humility and concern for you. I have learned something about posting on the internet, if one is defensive, wounded, or angry the reader will filter the post through those emotions. To tell you something of myself I am none of those. If you can picture Davids Sophia…. Stripped of all my wisdom, theology, and human reasonings a painful and humbling experience. There is nothing left, the purpose of all that was to show me unconditional love. It is where I now stand. The reason I may seem to not be paying attention is because I have faught all these battles and it is clear so very clear when a person comes into this virtual living room with another spirit. I am sorry for your pain but let it do its work because to speak out of fear or anger doesn’t build up. When I feel these emotions it is a time to listen. Really much love today =)

  • marcie

    FYI the link that was posted is an org that is spearheaded by an anti gay activist named George Reves himself caught spending ten days with a male escort. He is from of all places Gainesville Florida.

  • Christine

    “I have every justification to hate gay people”

    You just put “gay people” is this category where, what a few people did to you is associated with a basic charatceristic and you have extended a “just” reason to hate to the entire group.

    The is the DEFINITION of bigotry. You aren’t worth our time.

  • @Joshua:
    If you found my post insulting, why not tell me what you were insulted by? If I indeed made false assumptions about you, why not correct them? I am well aware that all of us make assumptions about people we talk to everyday, it’s pretty much impossible to carry out a conversation otherwise. And chances are they aren’t all going to be correct. The reasonable response to an incorrect assumption is to correct it rather than just saying that my assumptions are false with no actual indication of an assumption you think I made which is false. If I said something untrue or based on a misguided assumption of you, I’d be happy to apologize, but you’re going to have to correct me first.

    The main difference in my assumptions and yours, and my insults and yours are this: I made assumptions based on what you said and responded to what you said (admittedly in what may be perceived as an insulting manner in places). You on the other hand made assumptions about a whole group of people (of which you are presumably on the outside no less) and tossed out insults directed at a whole group of people. To put it in perspective, this is like the difference in getting upset with a black person and calling them a jerk for the things they said versus saying that all black people are jerks. These are not two sides of the same coin. One is a reaction to a specific person; the other is racism pure and simple.

    In similar manner, reacting to a particular gay person with contempt or anger or even hate is not the same as lumping all gay people together and showing contempt or anger or even hate towards them. One is a reaction to a specific person; the other is bigotry pure and simple. Which brings me to this statement of yours: “I have every justification to hate gay people.” This is simply not possible and a bigoted view regardless of whether or not you carry through with the hatred that you feel to be justified. No, I don’t know your story, but I don’t need to know your story to know that feeling that hatred of an entire people group can ever be justified is wrong. Maybe you’ve had some really bad encounters with some gay people, maybe even with every gay person you’ve ever actually met, but that can still not provide justification for hating all gay people. That would still be bigotry and bigotry is never justifiable. Your limited experiences can never justify bigotry. Similarly, if you had bad experiences with some black people, maybe even every black person you’ve ever met, that would still not provided justification for hating all black people. That would still be racism and racism is never justifiable. And just in case you are one of those people (based on your previous post if I were to make an assumption I would guess you are) that denies all scientific evidence that suggests that sexual orientation is innate and you believe rather that it is a choice we make, let me give you an example of how it still would not be justifiable to hate everyone in a group based on something that isn’t innate. I think you’ll be able to relate to this one. Having bad experiences with some Christians, maybe even every Christian you’ve ever met, would not provide justification for hating all Christians. That would still be bigotry and bigotry is never justifiable.

    To your repeating of the so-called health dangers of homosexual activity, may I just say that your own response to Marcie shows that you actually know the difference, but continue to insist otherwise. You said, “Those things are not so different suffered by promiscuous heterosexual counterparts who engage in similar behavior, which is part of the point”, yet you fail to get the whole point. Nobody is disputing that promiscuous sexual activity, gay or straight, is risky for one’s health and well-being. What is being disputed is your unfounded insistence that “homosexual activity” carries its own risk (presumably for some arbitrary reason of being “abnormal”) aside from promiscuity which does not discriminate between gay and straight. Of course, this is where the only thing you can cite are statistics about higher levels of promiscuity, drug use, depression and so forth amongst gay people. Perhaps you simply misunderstand what statistics say and don’t say. Statistics talk about trends and averages and say absolutely nothing about causal relationships. And they certainly don’t say anything about a specific person who shares one characteristic of a studied group but not others (for example, the life-expectancy of a non-promiscuous, non-drug-using, non-depressed gay person). Properly used, they are an excellent tool to identify troublesome trends and a jumping off point to then further explore the causes behind those trends so that solutions can be found. Misused (such as by groups like the one you linked to) they are a malicious tool to attach false causes to in order to support bigotry, racism and the like. Properly used, statistics about higher levels of promiscuity, drug abuse, depression and such amongst gay people lead groups to ask why this is so that we can begin to reverse such troubling threads. As one example, the much higher rate of suicide amongst gay teenagers has been linked to the stigmatization and bullying that they often face. This leads to things like anti-bullying initiatives in an attempt to stem the tide. Sadly, these initiatives are fought tooth and nail by anti-gay groups (sadly pretty much all of which identify as Christian) who want to claim (against all evidence) that being gay makes you more likely to commit suicide not anything that you suffer as a result of being gay, just some arbitrary offense against God thing. It’s utterly ridiculous, but they have statistics to prove that gay teenagers are more likely to commit suicide than straight teenagers therefore being gay must make you more likely to commit suicide, no further examination of causes is necessary as this supports their bigoted view of the world. Just like for racists, statistics that show a higher incident of violent crime amongst black people justifies their racism instead of causing them to look at what has been done by society to black people that has led to the circumstances they are currently in.

    Finally, as for your link. The American College of Pediatricians, is an organization that was set up with only two purposes. Fight the so-called “gay agenda” and fight abortion. They are not considered an authority on anything by anyone outside of those who use their junk science to back up their own views. They are not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics which is the pediatric counterpart to the American Medical Association, both of which are considered authorities in their respective fields and neither of which supports anti-gay bigotry. Putting an official sounding name on an bigoted activist organization does not an authority make.

  • Jacquie Kernick

    @Cindy. Thank you, a million thank yous, for your well written response to Joshua.

    I was near to tears reading your wonderful defense of gay people and your being able to set the record straight about the link he posted too.

    Unfortunately there are many people who are bigoted; hopefully people such as yoursel, Cindy, will continue to speak out against the lies they continue to peddle. x

  • Jacquie Kernick

    Cindy. Thank you, a million thank yous, for your well written response to Joshua.

    I was near to tears reading your wonderful defense of gay people and your being able to set the record straight about the link he posted too.

    Unfortunately there are many people who are bigoted; hopefully people such as yourself, Cindy, will continue to speak out against the lies they continue to peddle. x

  • Jacquie Kernick

    Apologies for the double post…

  • Syl

    Kimberly, turning around some of your questions may help put them in perspective:

    Being oneself:
    Is it wise or healthy to strive to be someone you are not? What are the consequences of hiding or supressing who you truly are, or a central part of who you are? Why, or in what context, would it be harmful or helpful to not be yourself?

    Coming out:
    Why would being “closeted” be a good thing? Under what circumstances would you find it desireable to keep a part of yourself and your life hidden from public view? What might the cost be to your emotional and mental well being and your relationships with others?

    Sin:
    Why should a personal preference which is different than that of the majority be considered a sin? What if that difference creates no harm to yourself or another person? What is it about a difference that would put it in the category of “sin”?

    All wrong:
    What if _some_ things you were taught were wrong? Does that therefore invalidate everything you were taught? Is it wise to accept that everything you were taught was right – or that everything was wrong? Is it perhaps better to thoughtfully examine the reasons behind long-held assumptions, continually evaluate their validity in light of experience and knowledge, and modify or discard those which are either wrong or irrelevent?

    I’ve found that the answers to questions such as these (those which ring true, at least) tend to be those which are arrived at in my own way and own time, rather than being delivered by others. Happy questioning!