Transformation Part 2

30 08 2012

I wish I had a secret formula – one you could sit anyone down, walk them through and they would have a lightbulb go off in their head and realize the truth about homosexuality. The truth is – I do have that secret formula. The problem is that most people who feel it is wrong are too afraid to actually sit down and talk about it. Oh – they may do a lot of talking, but they don’t do much listening.

The secret formula is this – there is a counter truth to EVERY argument that is brought up against homosexuality. Every scripture that says it is wrong can be rebuffed by a different scripture. Here lies the problem, not just with this issue, but every Humanity issue – there has to be a desire to learn and grow and change. If the desire to change is not there – nothing said or done really will matter.

I am not going to take up this blog space expelling the myths for you – the majority of people who read this already know the truth. If you are a person who is actually reading this because you do want to find the truth – please email me mgrabbe1008@msn.com with your specific questions. I assure you that I will not attack you. I will openly and honestly answer your questions. I do reserve the right to NOT answer you if you are belligerent and rude to me. That type of interaction can not go anyplace good. If you want to have a frank and honest discussion in a respectable way – email me – I would love to talk.

As I sit here at my dining room table and think of all the LGBTQ people I have met over recent years the love I feel in my heart literally does swell. I feel a bit like the Grinch on Christmas morning – my heart has grown about 10 sizes!! I so wish I wouldn’t have spent so many years avoiding anyone I thought might be gay. Heck ,back then, transgender and bisexual weren’t even in my line of thinking. I probably would’ve treated them as aliens from mars or something. Isn’t that such a  shame? I robbed myself of YEARS of being around people who are some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to know.

I have recently begun wearing a button that was a gift from a wonderful Christian lady, Kathy Baldock, who runs Canyon Walker Connections, a wonderful resource. She is a Christian advocate for LGBT rights. The button says “Christian + Gay = OK. I have been wearing it daily – I put it on when I leave my house. I usually forget I even have the thing on! The other night as I was at a very loud, busy event and ordering ice cream, the lady behind the counter says “Hey!” I look up from counting my change and she had tears in her eyes and said “I want to thank you for wearing that button. My daughter is gay. Seeing that means a lot to me.”

 

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My Transformation Part 1

22 08 2012

I am often asked how I went from a person who thought homosexuality was a choice and a sin to where I am today. Today I know without a single doubt,  homosexuality is NOT a choice and therefore it can not be a sin. I can only speak to my own transition and story. I have no idea if it in any way can help anyone else change. I can only tell how it happened for me.

Growing up, I experienced quite a bit of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Is everyone in the south that way? Absolutely not! I do not know if it was the area I lived in or just the people I had around me – but it was common place. I think it was even deeper than that though. People were judged not only by the things I listed above, but if you were singled out for any reason, it would be a source of ridicule and shame. I felt a lot of pressure to drive the “right” car, and of course it better be clean! Pressure to wear the “right” clothes, have the “right “hair, hang out with the “right” people. Hence began the dilemma for me – I have never cared one bit about any of those things. I would never choose a friend based on any of those things, to me it just seems silly. Honestly, if someone didn’t want to hang out with me because I am fat, or drive a van with a dent in the back, then honestly it is mutual – I don’t care to hang around with you either.

Growing up I was raised in a southern Baptist house. I was taught that homosexuality was a sin and a choice. Above that I was also told it was a perversion and that these people were “sick”. Sometimes people who have never heard these types of things wonder how someone can take homosexuality to an extreme and think if someone is gay then they must also be a pedophile or want to have sex with animals, etc… It seems so far-fetched, but let me tell you, if you are told these things as a young impressionable child by adults you respect – it just IS truth to you. Period.

There was something inside of me – something that always twinged when I heard a racist joke or a slander of any kind. I guess it just “goes against my grain” so to speak. The other day at the tattoo shop the artist was saying derogatory things about “little people”. He used the word “midget” several times, even after being told it was a derogatory term. He made some crude jokes and I was honestly ready to walk out of the door. I was there with a friend so I didn’t – but if I had been the one getting the tattoo (which he hadn’t started yet) I probably would have gotten up and left. I just do NOT tolerate putting down anyone for any reason very well. I have always had a heart for human rights I suppose.

I think one of the reasons I changed was moving up North. Again – please do not take this the wrong way – there are MANY wonderful people in the south that I love dearly. I think up here we are much more worried about surviving the winter than to care if anyone has on the “right” clothes or drives the “right” car. In Montana there seems to be a much more “live and let live” mentality in general. It was here that I first heard a Christian say they supported the LGBT community. I was honestly shocked. I had always assumed us “Christians” were all on the same side of the issue. I mean it is plain and simple in the book was use as our syllabus!! The bible says it is wrong… right?! WRONG! That is when I truly changed and I really started my transformation from a Christian who used God as an excuse to “hate” one entire group of our population. The bible MUST be researched in the times and culture it was written. I am actually now embarrassed about all the verses I ignored while holding the ones that say homosexuality is a sin so near and dear to my heart. I think the truth is that the thought of gay sex grossed me out so it was easy to want to believe it was wrong. I wonder why it grossed me out? Well, a young kid is grossed out about ANY sex – period – so tell them the gory details of gay sex while they are at that impressionable age – and that sticks with you. I don’t think anyone EVER was born homophobic, or racist, or sexist. These things are taught, without a doubt.

to be continued…





“God loves you and so do I”

20 08 2012

Sometimes I hesitate to be forthcoming about being a Christian. Don’t get me wrong – I love God with my whole heart, but his followers are a whole different story sometimes. I am not sure how we went from our mission of “loving our neighbors as ourselves” to thinking it is our job to correct everything we think is “unchristian” in the world. My Mama always taught me, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. I think there is too much vinegar coming from Christians lately.

I have been asked by non-believers why we even care what Christians think. I think it is something that must be considered because honestly, Christians are the main reason the US in not embracing equality. I do not desire to argue with anyone or convince anyone. I personally am so grateful for having my eyes opened to the truth about what the bible really says about homosexuality that I want to share that gift with Christians who do want to hear it. Along the way, I have encountered many who do not want to hear it. One day they will though. Probably not from me, since they will have long ago shut me out of their life like an irritating clanging cymbal, but from someone. Truth always prevails.

I personally believe God places the passions and desires in our hearts as a way of leading us to the work He has for us to do. At almost 44 years old (OUCH!) I can honestly say that I have finally found the niche God has for me. My work with PFLAG and the LGBT community has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. I know today that if something happened to my son or if he suddenly woke up straight tomorrow, that I would continue this work. It is a part of who I am now. I will not quit or slow down until the discrimination stops, not only in my country but worldwide.

So, next time you hear something hateful in the name of God, please remember that all Christians do not feel that way. There are many Christians who accept you and/or your loved ones exactly as you are. We have not been as loud as the others, and for that I apologize. The next time you hear a Church Bell ringing please listen closely – that is the clanging cymbal of my voice – yelling the truth above all the foolish chatter – “God loves you! And so do I!”

 

 





“I have gay friends…”

14 08 2012

I am going to post about something that I find confusing. I may be over-thinking but I find it really odd. It seems like 9 out of 10 times that someone is bashing gays and gets called out about it that they often reply, “I like gay people, I have gay friends…” Like that somehow glosses over what they said.

I am honestly confused by this. First of all – if you are saying a group of people do not deserve the same rights as you do and that they are “living in sin” or insert any insult you want in this slot – you are NOT being a friend to them. You may know some gay people – but I assure you they probably do not consider you a “friend”. I mean flip the tables around – if they were putting you down how long would you be their friend? I hope not long.

I think this shows a few things. First of all, they obviously do not even realize the things they are saying are hurtful and non-friendly. It is hard to believe, but it must be so. Secondly, I really do think they believe what they are saying and hearing to be truth. They really do think the bible condemns homosexuality. I don’t want to get into a biblical debate – but if you want to do some research on your own click here: Bible verses  I have done research – remember – I used to be a Christian who believed homosexuality is a sin and a choice. I am so glad that God still speaks today and we can find the truth if we want to seek it.

Back on subject – I like bunny trails – can you tell?!! These people really do believe they have the truth and they are acting out of “love”. Let me explain. When I was a teenager one summer I went to a camp – a southern baptist camp – and they used scripture to show us that it was our responsibility to bring our friends to Christ. OK – seems innocent enough – but they went on to show scripture that talks about blood being poured on our hands if we did not. I was told that EVERY person I sit by in class, see walking down the street, work with, etc… that did not know Christ, if I didn’t witness to them and they end up in hell, then when I get to heaven their blood will be poured on my hands. If I did not speak up and witness to everyone I meet, then each of their eternal lives were in my hands. If they spent eternity in hell it would be MY fault. I realize you don’t know me very well, but I LOVE people, so I took this very seriously. I had nightmares about it for years.

So, in some warped way, these people believe they are trying to “save the gays”. It makes me feel a bit sorry for them really, and angry. I am a bit angry that I was taught these things at an impressionable age – and that these types of teachings are still going on today. Jesus gave two commandments – Love God with your whole heart and Love your neighbor as yourself. I am not sure why the “fear based” teachings are still so prevalent.

So, next time someone says to me – “I have gay friends…” after saying something homophobic – I am gonna remind them what being a friend really is:

The value of friendship is often the result of friends consistently demonstrating the following:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positive reciprocity — equal give-and-take between the two parties
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.




What would I have done?

9 08 2012

We have a video of my son when he was two years old. He is wearing his sister’s pink tutu and running around with a football. It is a cute video…but whenever I see it I wonder why I never considered that he might not be straight? I just don’t think my mind would go there.

One day when my son was about six years old, my husband said to me, “you realize our son is in the two highest gay sports there are? Gymnastics and Figure Skating?”. We laughed. Then a few days later he had my Victoria Secret catalog on the couch and when I asked what he was doing he said, “I like looking at naked women, Mama.” OK – whew – relief – crisis averted.

Have you seen this: Letter from a dad to his unborn son? It is so beautiful – and really expresses the sentiments I would say now, but not what I would’ve said back then, unfortunately.

If I had somehow known when pregnant or even his first years of life that he was bisexual – I probably would’ve bought into every claim for a “cure”. I would’ve made sure NOT to be an overbearing mother and to make sure his father spent tons of time with him. Those are the first myths out there… what other myths would I have bought into at the risk of hurting my child? It really scares the shit out of me to be honest, because now I know the truth about the damage done to individuals. I know how harmful all that “reparative therapy” actually is!

Now, that I am on the OTHER side of the issue – I really do not understand why this particular issue is one that draws so much fear in people. I really know for me – it was fear that motivated me. I would’ve claimed it was God – YES – I was one of those Christians. Gosh – it makes me sick to my stomach even typing that now. It is the truth though. This issue divides people – it divides families, churches, countries. It is a HUGE issue. I don’t have the answers either.

All I know is that I love my son with everything I am and accept him 100% exactly as he is. Well, I would be happier if he picked up after himself more…but since he is moving soon that is a moot point. As far as who he chooses to love – I have prayed my kids entire lives that no matter who they pick, that I will love them too. I just didn’t know back then how big of a circle of people who would encompass!

This issue may divide families – but NOT this family. It has been a source of drawing us all together from the day he came out. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this, I love all of my children and want them to know I will fight for them until the day I no longer breathe air. That is a promise.





I wish…

6 08 2012

Things I wish I had known years ago:

1) I wish I would’ve had some gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in my life – all of my life. I guess being homophobic, if I did know some they certainly weren’t “out” to me. If I would’ve had some friends – I would’ve realized how fabulously wonderful and Non-scary they are. That they wouldn’t hit on me or try to recruit me. Who started that lie anyway? It seems so dumb now that I know better.

2)I wish I would’ve realized that limiting my thinking to their “sex life” was perverted on my part. No relationship is based simply on sex. Sex is a small part of a GLBT person’s life, just like it is ours. I love my husband – but if his only redeeming quality was that he was good in bed, I doubt I would’ve stayed with him for 25 years. There has to be more there than sex for it to be a “relationship”.

3)number 2 leads us right here: I wish I would have known that LGBT people desire long-term relationships. I was always taught (by people who probably knew NO gay people by the way) that GLBT people were sleeping with anybody anytime and only wanted to play around. Are there GLBT people like that? Sure there are… but also plenty of straight people sleeping around as well. As straight people, we can sure set a double standard. Everyone just wants to be loved. I know plenty of people GLBT in long-term relationships – relationships that have outlasted many of my straight friends.

4)I wish I would’ve known how hurtful people of faith were being. There is this thing taught – I call it a “thing” because I am unsure what to call it. It is more of a feeling – I can feel it in my chest right now when I think of the church I grew up in. It comes from a place of fear. Fear that we will get off the “right path” and become corrupt. It isn’t just about gay people – it is about anything that we fear will cause us to get out of God’s will. I think it is also a fear to not trust yourself – as a sinner you could be misguided and then corrupt yourself. Maybe this is only in very strict denominations – I am not sure since I was in a strict denomination and then went to one that actually asks me to think. I don’t know where people are that lie in between the two. I am getting off subject. I just wish I had known then that in our fear of “being right with God” that we were hurting a whole lot of people. People that needed God’s love shown to them through us. I failed miserably.

5)I wish I had known there is NO Gay Agenda! You heard me right – NONE. It is all made up. Wanting to be treated equal is not an agenda, it is a civil right. LGBT people do not want to recruit your children or even to convince you to change your mind about them. They only want the same rights that the rest of us have. They pay the same taxes, fight in the same wars as military, put their hard-earned money back into our economy. They just want to be treated fairly. I wish I would’ve known that, because it certainly seems like a very small thing to ask for.





Arrogance

4 08 2012

I used to be so arrogant about my kids, back when my older two were younger. I would hear people say things like, “what if your child turns out to be gay? what would you do?” I would laugh at such statements. Probably not out loud – although that depended if I was with my other arrogant “nothing can touch us because we follow God” friends then I might have laughed out loud. homosexuality was a choice after all. Perverts made choices to be “those” people. I was raising my kids right. We loved God and attended church weekly. We prayed together at home and did bible studies. Of course MY kids could never turn out “like that”.

HAHA! Makes me laugh now. What an idiot I was. Heck – I still am sometimes, but I hope I am getting some wisdom over time! The point is, as parents we do the best to our ability. I was not a perfect mother, but I did the best to my ability. Here is one of the problems with homosexuality – the people who falsely still believe it to be a choice, immediately look at the parents. I know for me, that was where I first went myself. “Where did I go wrong?” “what should I have done differently?” Here is a memo to me and all the other parents out there – the answer to those questions is NOTHING! Nope – we didn’t do anything to cause it – so there would be no way to prevent it either. I may have done plenty of things that screwed my kids up that they will one day find themselves in the therapists office about, but me causing my son’s bisexuality will not be one of them.

I will go further than that – my son is perfect just like he is!! I wouldn’t change him if I could. Sure in those first few months when the adjustment was difficult for me I wished it would be different. To be honest, sometimes late at night when I am worrying about where he is and if some idiot will decide to beat him up, then I may think about him being straight. The truth is that is not what I really want. My kid is the most fabulous young man I know – and his queerness is just a small factor that helps create this wonderful picture of who he is. I wouldn’t really change anything about him.

I thank God for the slice of humble pie I was served since those days of “my kids would never”. How selfish and arrogant I was. I actually thought that my children’s lives were about me – that I had everything under control and that I was creating perfect little humans. UGH! I am glad I now see the big picture – their life is theirs to live – good and bad. As far as my son being queer – I couldn’t care less really. It is such a small part of who he is to me now. What I would say to a young mom that I heard say what I used to say? “Lady – you would be so lucky as to have one of your kids turn out queer.”

It is a wonderful glorious journey indeed!