Will it End?

30 07 2012

The first year that my son came out, we lost some family friends. It was hard in a way, but at the same time I felt relief that it was over. I guess my feelings were: “well, it is hard to find out these people really did have conditions on our relationship, but the good news is that I will now know for sure who my true friends are”. Now, almost three years later,  there is much of the same happening. I sometimes think this whole Chick-Fil-A thing has everyone in an uproar – and the entire point is being missed. I live in an area where there aren’t even Chick-Fil-A restaurants, yet I am losing friends over my stance against them.

I thought this was behind us? I thought by now that all of my friends knew where I stood and even if they aren’t in the same place that I am, I thought they at least accepted me  as I am. I am suddenly getting emails and Facebook messages that I am offending their faith. Which is ironic since I am also a Christian. It is the close mindedness that all “true” Christians take the bible literally. All “true” Christians know that the bible clearly tells us that homosexuality is wrong. I feel like a broken record. How many times do I have to explain my stance on this? I used to believe it was wrong too – but once I started my own research – with an actual open mind to seek the truth, I found out that the word homosexuality was added to the bible in 1946. There is also an explanation for every one of the “clobber” verses that are used to prove homosexuality is wrong. Just stop me now – or I will go on all night.

The point is – will this be my life? Will it never end that someone is always trying to steer me back to the “right” path? Granted – their heart is probably in the right place, they may honestly want to try to save me. I must give them the benefit of the doubt.

I know how to get it to end. I need to stop speaking up. I need to be quiet and just let them say what they want and smile and move on. Hell NO! I have been called to be an advocate. An advocate is willing to get in between someone and their attackers – an advocate takes the brunt of the attack. I will do that. Dang – I WANT to do that! I love my son, family members, and friends who are LGBT and I will gladly take the blow instead of them over and over again. I am not going anyplace  –  so bring it on!





Is it working?

28 07 2012

I know we are all tired of hearing about Chick-Fil-A. I really just think it is a symptom of the bigger picture though. There is a group of people, heck – as a Christian they ARE my group of people – EEEK!, who is discriminating against an entire group of people based on the “bible”. I have several Facebook friends posting things in favor of Chick-Fil-A – and it has me in a funk. I take it personally – because to me it is personal.

I have been really down – I wonder if our fight to educate people about the truth is even doing any good. Is it working? Are people changing their minds at all? I was feeling pretty defeated – but then I realized – YES – we are making  a difference. Just 10 short years ago I would’ve been the one defending Chick-Fil-A! One person at a time we are making a difference. I MUST believe this – all of the work we are all doing – it may seem slow, but one person at a time, people are changing.

Here is the post I put on my FB status today:

“I write this with a heavy heart. As I watch you – my friends and family – post and like posts that support Chick-Fil-A it hurts my heart. I maybe taking this too personally – but to me this is personal. I recognize that I have a child who w…ill be discriminated against his entire life by a certain group of people – even though my sweet boy has a pure, sweet heart. This isn’t about what Chick-Fil-A does – I do not know them nor do we even have any of them here – this is about getting on my FB page and seeing my friends and family post this stuff. This is about my son, and the family and friends that I love with my whole heart that this affects. I have tossed around whether to just stay off of FB until this blows over. But I am not a person who just walks away – I am a fighter – especially when it is something I believe in. 10 yrs ago – I would’ve been the one posting my support of Chick-Fil-A – that gives me hope. People can learn the truth about what the bible REALLY says about homosexuality. Jesus himself said NOTHING about it – not one word. The bible was used to defend slavery and to keep women from voting. PLEASE do some research. There are many resources out there – start here – and let me know if you want more. And just remember when you post something – it isn’t random – you need to see my beautiful son’s face – these are real people – who do not have a lifestyle – they have a life. www.believeoutloud.com





Batman

20 07 2012

Today is a sad day in America. Another gunman gone mad. Innocent people are dead and injured today because they chose to do a crazy thing and go to a midnight movie. It isn’t crazy really – my kids went to the 12:06am showing last night. Why 12:06? Because the 12:01, 12:03, 12:04 were all sold out. We live in a fairly small town with a large college campus – so things like midnight showings are very popular.

When I woke up this morning, I rolled over and picked up my kindle and started scrolling Facebook. I began seeing the story of the Colorado shooting. My heart sank immediately and I jumped out of bed and open the curtains to make sure my son’s car was in the driveway. Yes, there sat the red mustang – my kids were safe and sound sleeping away in their bedrooms. I can say that – but many parents in Colorado can’t say that today.

I guess these things just bring home for me how short and unpredictable life is. We have absolutely what today or tomorrow will hold. We humans, myself included, let the silliest things get in the way of our relationships. I wonder about the ones who died last night or are fighting for their lives today. Were there people they were estranged from. I guess because I live in a world where I often meet people whose families have disowned them due to their sexuality I wonder if any parents lost children last night that they had disowned. Are they regretful or had they already let them go in their heart so it doesn’t hurt as much today? I just wonder if they will spend the rest of their lives wishing they had done things differently. That would be an awful thing to live with for the rest of your life.

Love and acceptance seems like such a better choice than hate and judgement.





Stories

17 07 2012

I have had several people tell me that either they don’t really have a story, or that their story is nothing special. Let me tell you – if you are LGBTQIP or even straight, we all have a story. It is our stories that help us draw together as people. Stories are what break down walls and help people find common ground. I would like to encourage you to find your story and tell it whenever you are given the chance.

We never know who might hear something they have never heard before and another barrier is knocked down. My son is telling his story this week at PFLAG. We were talking about it last night. He volunteered a few months ago to do the B for Bisexual. We have been doing a series of education using all the letters – we called it Alphabet Soup. Well, now that it is actually time for him to tell his story he is not too sure he should. He, like all of us, has a beautiful touching story.

I will just summarize some things that I learned about my son last night. He says he always knew he was different, even as a very young child, but didn’t understand why. When he became a young teen and realized he had same-sex attraction he started doing research on being gay. Just when he decided he was gay, then the next day he would be sitting somewhere and a beautiful woman would walk in and he was drawn to her boobs. Then he was like “how can I be gay and like boobs?” Anyway – this is a short summary remember – he finally realized he seemed to be equally attracted to men and women. So he was SUPER confused.

Then one day he saw a drunk woman on MTV who was talking about being bisexual. She said she slept with both men and women. (Now you must imagine my son telling all of this in a strong british accent at midnight last night. We were rolling with laughter) So, he determined that this woman was a slut – but that he might also be bisexual even though he wasn’t sleeping around. He started researching bisexuality (which has far fewer information to find) and determined he was, in fact, bisexual.

He thinks he was about 15 at the time. He told it out loud to his sister for the 1st time at 18. That is a LOT of years to carry something that heavy alone. I so wish I knew then what I know now and could’ve been more open and talked to him then so he wasn’t alone. He talked of years of begging God to take his same-sex attraction away. It breaks my heart – how could God take away what he created in the first place. Being LGBT is not a choice – people are born that way. How do I know that? From all the 100s of stories I have heard about people knowing as young children. When you are 5 it isn’t about sex folks.

If you are a parent of small children – don’t let your religion interfere in your relationships. Start educating yourself now. Have the right talks with your kids now, so that if they have questions they will feel they can come to you and ask them. Don’t be afraid. It is NOT the end of the world to have a queer child – it really isn’t!! That is our culture speaking – NOT the truth. Don’t believe the lies any longer.

I dream of the day that parents and children alike don’t have to feel shamed for who they are, for any reason. Lift up your chin – look people in the eye and tell your stories. We all need more humanity and less judgement in our lives. It is scary to be vulnerable – but it is so worth it to be true to ourselves. We deserve it!!





Fear

13 07 2012

I have been thinking lately, and this seems as good a place as any to put words to my thoughts. I am not sure why, but recently my thoughts have drifted back to my previous religious experiences. I can still remember that gut fear that would pop up. I am unsure if I am going to be able to put this into words but I am going to try.

I remember being told things about needing to be careful of people or things or ideas that would lead me astray and draw me away from God. Almost as if even though I am desiring to be close to God that some evil will pull me away from God without me realizing it. If you really think about it – not only does it not really make sense, it isn’t even bible based theology. The bible says nothing can snatch us from God’s hand – NOTHING.

Not that long ago my daughter had a friend over for a play date. This little girl attends a very conservative Christian church. We were driving down the road and my son was humming. The little girl, with fear and concern in her voice, exclaimed: “oh – be very careful! You may accidentally pray to the wrong God.” UM – we didn’t say much but it was a pretty big discussion back home later that night after the little girl had gone home. This is precisely the type of fear based theology I am talking about. Either God is all-powerful or He isn’t worth much really. I mean honestly, if he doesn’t know that someone is just humming and condemns them – who wants to worship THAT God?!! Count me out please.

I really am getting someplace with all of this – I think this is precisely why people of faith are afraid to get to know gay people. Or liberal people. or democrats (LOL! sorry I had to throw that in there. I was actually told once that Republicans are the only political party that is bible based. BUT let’s not go there tonight – that could open up a whole different can of worms!) or anyone that doesn’t fit their cookie cutter mold looks or acts like. I think it is a fear that they will somehow be dragged against their will away from their God. The bible proclaims over and over again that fear is not of God. I think God fully intends us to use our brains – how boring it would be if we were all just His puppets. He gave us free will and intelligence for a reason – it wasn’t by accident. Doesn’t it stand to reason that He wants us to use our brains and not be afraid?

I don’t really have the answers… just more questions really. I guess this will go on as long as people are taught that they are going astray from God if they question things – like their Pastor’s sunday sermon or what their church says about being gay. I just think it is an interesting insight that I hadn’t considered. Many Christian churches work as a dictatorship and not a democracy. If someone questions the leader’s beliefs then they must be the one who is wrong – I mean a pastor couldn’t be after all?! Just my thoughts tonight… what are yours?





Honesty

12 07 2012

I have wrestled with writing this post. Probably why I have been back in civilization for a few days and am just now being brave enough to write. I have wrestled with sharing this – but really, if this blog is not about honesty and truth, then it is pretty pointless to continue.

I really thought I was past all of my prejudice – I really did – and then it slapped me right in the face. My son has taken up wearing nail polish. I know – you are now thinking – “big deal”. I know right?!! But honestly it was a big deal. Over the years he has sometimes painted his nails – and then taken it off before he left the house. We came in from camping on Sunday afternoon and he greeted us at the door with nails painted in all different colors. I felt a pain in my gut. Literally – knowing he had been to church that way – and rang handbells – and not  at our church – a different church. I reacted negatively and it was not good.

This is what confuses me – I started PFLAG in my town, I FIGHT for equality – I speak up for people I hardly know – yet I was the least accepting and receiving of my son this past week. I can’t even really tell you why. If I saw another man wearing nail polish (and I have seen plenty) I probably would’ve complimented him – and I would have been sincere. So, why do I have a double standard with my own kid? I have been wrestling with this all week.

I think one reason is fear for him. I mean we live in rural Montana and although our town is fairly diverse and affirming, I know there are still people in this area who would just as soon see a queer person dead as alive. That is just reality. But after thinking on this all week – I think the root of my reaction was more about people just plain judging him negatively. People categorizing him in a negative light. I can remember when my kids were all small not wanting them to stick out or be different. Life is hard and I wanted to save them as much pain as possible. So, seeing him actually doing something that sets him apart in a visual way rubbed me wrong. Which is still odd to me because I have always tried to get my kids to walk to their own drummer – I guess I approved as long as being different meant doing things your own way that everyone would admire. I didn’t think they should be different enough that people would ridicule them or put them down. I am a hypocrite.

After all week of deliberating about this – I have asked forgiveness and tried to be more open-minded. Secondly, my thinking has shifted. My son is an amazing person. Maybe him wearing nail polish might make someone start to lump him in a negative category – but as soon as he opens his mouth – their myths will be dispelled! I mean isn’t this what we are always preaching – “be out and be visual”. Relationships are what change people’s minds. It is easier to hate what you don’t know but when you add a face to that group of people it is much harder to hate them.

So, it has been a week of learning and growing for me. I am obviously NOT “there” yet…