Let me start out by saying I am a lesbian and my faith plays a big role in my life. When I was younger, I was very active in church. I even lived with my pastor and his wife for a few months. I was told it was “to build structure.” To this day, I still don’t know exactly what that meant.
I had been with a girl before, but not completely out about it. I then decided I was tired of hiding who I was to the people who I thought wouldn’t judge me. But I was completely wrong. One night after church, I got called into a room where the pastor’s wife was. She sat me down and she pulled out the Bible. I new then this was about my sexuality. She went on to say that what I’m doing was wrong. I remember having the Bible swayed in my face and I remember all I could think about was, “I’m gonna have to choose my church or my happiness.” I felt so judged and hurt.
That basically was the turning point for me. I walked out the door and haven’t been in one church service there since. Im 21 now and I still have many great memories and friends (that are also gay) from the church. I haven’t forgotten what had happened, nor did I really know how much of an impact it would have on me till this day. No one should be judged for who they love or how they are. I’m now waiting to marry my girlfriend Jamie of 3 years and can’t wait to start a family. I WILL be able to marry the woman of my dreams one day and so will so many others still waiting!!
I DO GIVE A DAMN!!
I’m a 72 year-old grandmother who wrote a marriage equality song 3 months ago for my niece and her fiancee. As a mental health therapist, I was well aware of the discrimination to which LGBT people are subjected, and though I was happy for the girls, I knew they would have countless obstacles to face. Over the decades, I have sat in many sessions with gay, lesbian, and transgender clients, and my admiration and respect for these courageous men and women is monumental, to say the least. Many were raised by rigid, shaming, intolerant parents — some were physically and even sexually abused as children and teenagers. They were taunted and teased at school…they were often ostracized even in church, where congregations would ceaselessly pray for them in an effort to exorcize the ‘gay-ness’. I have held clients as they’d loudly state that they would do anything to NOT be gay because it was too difficult to try and fit into an intolerant world. They dated opposite sex people, they went to church, some even participated in “Take Away The Gay” programs — but none of these changed their sense of who they authentically ‘were’ — a human being who happened to be attracted to other human beings of the same gender. Period. They ‘knew’ they were gay from a very early age…and I believe that’s the way it is with all of us human beings. Like our eye, hair, and skin color, our sexual orientation is — in my opinion — part of our genetic blueprint. God created us all in a wonderful rainbow of sizes, shapes, and colors…and some of us are straight, some are gay. I further believe that to label any of these traits ‘bad’ or ‘good’ is an insult to God–Who loves every single one of us unconditionally.
I have always been liberal and pretty opinionated, and I find that in my senior years, I am even more gutsy, because I do give a damn. The song I wrote, “What If We Are Just Like You” is, purely and simply, about the common hopes and dreams all of us humans have. Many of us wish for a lasting love relationship – for marriage, a home, kids, pets, family vacations. All of this is a part of our maturing process. For a man and a woman, it’s almost like a kids’ game of hopscotch… but for LGBTs, it must seem like an unending parade of decathlons spread out over a mine field of obstacles. Who is anyone to say that any ’subset’ of society does not have aspirations, feelings, and visions? Gay people laugh, cry, live, die. They’ve tried every way possible to ‘fit in’…they are hard workers, and givers. The chorus ends with, “We have a goal…we have a soul….yet you say we’re not like you.”
So, the song was born. I’m a spiritual, not a ‘religious’ person, and I know, unequivocally, that this song was divinely inspired. There is no doubt in my mind about that. The idea came quickly, and the song was written quickly. And to me, that’s God stuff. So I could not NOT write it…and I could not NOT ‘put the song out there’. So I sat my 72 year-old ass down at my out-of-tune piano, filmed myself with my iPhone stacked up on some books, and sent it to YouTube. The comments that pull at my heartstrings are from people in countries where even ‘coming out’ is a crime punishable by incarceration or even death. This makes me more committed than ever to being ‘on the right side of history’ and working for equality and respect for all people everywhere. We are human beings, with human hearts, minds, and souls. Our spirits, individually and collectively, are more alike than different. And we can truly look into the eyes of our world family and know that “we” are just like “you.”
God Bless Cyndi and all the ‘Give A Damn’ Family. I’m proud to be with you ‘on the right side of history’.
Love – Sherri Gray
My name is Kayla and I am an upcoming senior in high school. I live in Mississippi so I have encountered my fair share of ignorance that has spanned from sexuality to race to religion. It’s either their way or the highway. In my high school, there is an abundance of religion and bible-verse slinging, but a lack of teaching about tolerance and respect for what makes people different. Nobody takes the time to remind us that the differences in people is what makes us all so damn beautiful.
I grew up as many young southern children did- going to a church where basically everything is sinning. My family did not support same-sex relationships. I actually remember one day my mother saying, “Let my kids do drugs instead, something I can easily fix.” Now I just reflect and can’t help but think, “REALLY!!!” Up to this point in my life, I have had all the opinions that a person could have about the topic:
1) IT’S WRONG
2) WELL IT’S STILL WRONG BUT YOU CAN’T JUDGE PEOPLE
and from that I began to ask the question, “If a person can’t help who he or she falls in love with, why would God give them a person they shouldn’t be with based on the fact that those two people have the same junk?” The I realized He wouldn’t! He is a gracious and loving God.
After I came to this conclusion, I started to notice the ostracism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle in my school and how teachers did nothing to correct the ignorance that flowed around their classrooms. One kid actually gave a PowerPoint presentation on how he believed that being gay was wrong and how all gay men should be sent to live on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere. One girl continues to use the excuse that it’s how a person is raised. A person can blame their parents for their own ignorance for only so long. After awhile, the way a person sees the world becomes entirely their own. But this is partially the reason why I GIVE A DAMN.
The other reason I GIVE A DAMN is because of my friends. I have been lucky enough to befriend people who not only share my beliefs, but also have the courage to stand for what they believe in and they don’t give a damn about what anyone thinks of them. These people include others students as well as my guidance counselor and a teacher. They stood completely behind me when I wanted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at my school.
I also think about some of my friends’ futures and if they decide to marry the ones that they love. I want to know that they will have the same rights as I do. I want to know that they will always know that someone is with them in the fight for justice and equality.
“I am not gay, although I wish I was, just to piss off homophobes.” -Kurt Cobain
I have always believed in God for my entire life. I also believe that religion should never be used to discriminate against anyone. I know not everyone is perfect and I know that we can accept anyone who is gay. I know that some of my co-workers believe in God. I also told a couple of them about me being a gay man. They still love me for who I am and accept me for what I am. I also have heard in the news about lesbians and gay men getting beaten up over their sexual orenitation. I just think it is wrong and nobody should allow it to happen.
I have always been monogamous to either a female partner or male partner. I am married and my partner is female. I have chosen to be monogamous, but that doesn’t change what I know of myself – that I am bisexual. I have been surrounded by conservative and non-tolerant, well-meaning ‘Christians’ all my life.
I am now on the other side of 50 and have a daughter who I hope will not be deeply disappointed that her dad is bisexual. Many who I have revealed my orientation to chose to bury their heads in the sand or believe that I was ‘confused’ because I was sexually abused as a child. I commend the brave act of those who have stood up for themselves in recent years.
I am constantly exposed to negative words that are the opposite of love and acceptance. I am active in music and the spoken word in church, but careful not to be forward regarding what I’ve guarded in my heart most my life. My wife knows, and a few in my family and they’re not convinced, so I leave it as it is. It doesn’t bother me that I’m bisexual, but it does bother me that I did not have the courage to be open and honest about my orientation. I also regret that I never allowed love to grow with my male partners of the past and chose rather to hurt them by leaving.
It’s ironic that I’m not believed, but I’m not ready to shout it on the rooftops either. I do give a damn. I love my wife and daughter and I’m not going to leave them, but monogamy in a heterosexual relationship doesn’t change my bisexuality.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been bisexual. I knew I liked a girl the way I liked boys in first grade but I didn’t really understand what that was at the time. Over the years I learned and because of the town I was in, I was too afraid to come out to anyone but my closest friends.
I come from a town that consists of 2000 people and a lot of churches. I’m a southern Baptist and never really got why people said if someone was homosexual that they were going to hell. In the bible it says that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you believe in Jesus as God’s only son and believe in what he did for us all then you are saved.
As the years went by I became more and more comfortable with coming out. I had met a girl that was also bisexual and I fell in love with her. We just couldn’t be together because we knew that even though some people would be okay with it, the majority wouldn’t and her parents would never let us see each other again.
One day, at my school, two girls who were known lesbians got caught making out. It caused such a stir that some people tried to start a movement. One guy started making and putting up posters telling gays to get out of the school and a lot of people who I grew up with tried to start a petition to get homosexuals and bisexuals moved to a different building. I was so torn up about it that I was scared to go to school for a while. I couldn’t believe that people had started acting that way. People I grew up and were close to started hating me and I lost a lot of friends because of my sexual preference.
I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted by my family but I know that there are many others who have to go through what I went through. I participated openly in the National Day of Silence and was kicked out of my church because of it. I’m ready for change. I lost someone I loved, was scared of my school, lost friends, and I was judged by those who teach tolerance.
I am a bisexual woman. I have been in a relationship with one of the most wonderful women I have ever met, for a couple of years now. Up until my early twenties I had only been with men, which felt very natural to me, and never even really thought of being with a woman. At a certain point, I did think about it, and it didn’t feel unnatural to me. I have never struggled with my sexuality or my feelings toward either sex, it just is what it is, and I have found that I have loved people based on who they are as a person, not their gender.
I also come from a very conservative Christian home. My family has been part of our church for two generations so, needless to say, my family is a part of the fabric of the community there. I was never taught to hate anyone, but I was definitely under the impression that gay was not “okay” for me. My parents have met gay friends of mine and it was never an issue, but I was aware that they voted Yes on Prop 8, so I knew where they stood. I am thankful that they managed to successfully raise two open-minded children, despite their attitudes and the attitudes of the church.
Ironically enough, my parents are convinced that my sibling and I have been indoctrinated by modern culture, while they are the ones who tune in to a well known conservative news channel for a couple of hours every evening.
Recently, my parents “outed” me. I can’t blame them for being shocked and upset – I expected it. In fact, I expected it to be a lot worse than it was, but it was bad enough. They were filled with disapproval of my bad moral choice, read me bible verses condemning homosexuality, and while they reiterated that they love me, even now, four months later, I’m pretty sure they are still in deep denial.
My mom still likes to mention, “When you marry a nice man one day.” I am taking it day by day, but it is a very intense process, as I don’t wish to ruin my relationship with my parents, but it will have to change. To think that they would rather me live a lie and turn my back on the greatest love of my life so far, just so that it looks good to the rest of my family and our church friends, is devastating.
I know in my heart that God loves us all equally. Unfortunately, throughout history, the bible has been used inappropriately by cultures and a lot of churches to rationalize and mask their own hateful agendas. I am thankful that I have not turned by back on my faith, because it is one of the things in my life that is helping me to deal with my life at the moment, having just “come out” to my parents and some friends.
I have prayed for years for clarity and guidance regarding my sexuality and my faith and the position I am in with my family and church community, being a bisexual woman. What happened? I was finally put in a situation by my parents where I had the chance to stop lying about my relationship, and I took that opportunity.
Since coming out, I have met several wonderful Christians who have a deep, deep faith, and who truly strive to live by Jesus’ example that Love is the greatest thing of all, and I have found a church that is all-inclusive and is still rooted in the teachings of Jesus. I would encourage people to not give up on their faith, for the bible reads, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
There are all-inclusive faith communities out there if you look for them! My hope is that one day my parents, family and friends can celebrate me for who I am fully, otherwise, they’re going to miss out on a wonderful part of their lives.
I am 17 years old and have been raised in a very religious household. I was always reminded of the time when Jesus taught, “Thou shalt not judge.”
When I finally came to terms with myself and who I am, I got up the strength to tell those around me.
No one accepted me.
It was as if the scripture “Thou shalt not judge” just flew out the window. I constantly had people telling me I was going to hell, and I had to “pray the gay away”
News flash: YOU CAN’T.
I didn’t choose to be gay, this is just the way I am. I shouldn’t have to skip my Anatomy class in high school just because 3 members from the football team said they would beat me up. I shouldn’t be shunned from church. And I certainly shouldn’t have to live in fear of losing my job for expressing who I am.
I GIVE A DAMN!
I am a 54 year old male who has 4 sisters, 2 of them are gay. I love both of them and have no problem with their lifestyles. My youngest sister has found religion and tells my sister that she will go to hell and is an affront to the Lord. I belong to a faith that accepts gays.
My name is Leilani. About 9 years ago, I had an experience. I grew up in a loving supporting family. We are Christians. I remember being told that of course, homosexuality was a sin. I remember standing in a prayer circle and thinking to myself, “I wonder if any of these people around me , my friends, choir members.. are gay?”. I did wonder. And even though, at the time, I thought it was a sin, I felt like it was wrong that these people would be made to feel bad about it.
I went to college. A long way from home. It was the first time I was on my own in a sense. And through my interactions, collaborations, and being witness to various cultures of people (sexual identity included) without being around my family, I became aware that people are just people trying to love each other and that God loves all people. It was the first time that I realized the possibility that the reason why people were so “disgusted” or critical of it, was because they just hadn’t really been around any gay people, or didn’t know of any openly gay people.
After my first college year, one of my closest friends opened up to me and told me he was gay. I felt honored that he trusted me enough to tell me. He was laughing and I could tell he might cry, had I rejected him. He said, “It’s okay if you think its bad, but I just wanted you to know.” I said, “Congratulations!” I had a choice and at that time I don’t remember all the words I said but I told him I didn’t think anything was wrong with him.
I am now at the point where I don’t think being gay is a sin. I know that to some I probably am not seen as a TRUE Christian because of that. And you know what? I don’t care. And it’s because of that, that I am really happy. But I do care that other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people feel loved, without guilt for being who they are, and are free to know and have whatever spiritual relationship they desire with God.
I am searching still for the right church where I as a straight woman don’t have to worry about other straight Christians making fun of and condemning homosexuality. I hope that if someone is reading this, that it can help to know there are Christians out here who not only love you, but don’t think that the way you were born is an affront or a sin to God. Much love always. God bless you forever.
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Many faiths espouse values such as commitment to social justice, love and acceptance. But unfortunately, some also use their doctrines and guidebooks to attack, condemn and discriminate against gay and transgender people.