I thought I would share this with you all, this is an email to an old teacher from college. He always stood up for equality and the gay community, back at that point of my life I was in denial about my sexuality and ultimately I didn’t treat this teacher the way I should have! – getting into arguments about all sorts of things. So in some ways this email is an apology, but it is also a catch up for my teacher to see where I am now 🙂 Here it is…
I have changed so much since you last saw me, the last year has been the most life changing year of my life. As you probably know I went along to school last Friday and caught up with some old teachers, I was hoping to see you there too, but you have moved away by the sound of things.
First of all, I just want to say sorry for all the silly comments I used to make in class regarding gay people and everything relating to that. I have only recently come to accept that I am gay myself, it took me a very long time, especially being in a Christian family where I was brought up thinking it was wrong. I used to be so scared that someone would know the truth so whenever a topic relating to homosexuality came up I would get scared and become extremely opinionated against it as my defense mechanism…
I was also such an extremely judgemental person all of my life until recently, with coming to accept who I am I have learnt to not judge other people for who they are, something that you were always pushing for. I always wondered whether you may be gay, along with rumors that went around, whether its true or not is up to you to tell me – I wouldn’t tell anybody. I hope that one day I can be happy with a partner, I am still struggling with a few judgemental people and extended family but I have supportive people too. My brother and Father treat me a bit differently but it will take time for them to accept that this is who I am and have always been.
I only accepted to myself that I was gay in February, to Mum in May and then the rest of my family in June/July. The grapevine then spread through all the extended family and I became the gossip for a while. Mum has been amazingly supportive by the way.
When I first told my Dad and Brother, they are the most conservative in the family, they wanted to have a family meeting with the pastor from church. At first I said no because I knew what he would say and ultimately it would go in circles always going back to someones opinion. They kept pressuring the idea so Mum and I decided that we would do it to help them. The meeting took three hours and tears were shed by everyone in the room. Although it took a very long time in some ways it was good to get everyone’s thoughts out into the open. I have had my own internal battle with God for years, something that the family don’t really consider. My Brother, Dad and the Pastor all wanted me to ‘change’ to straight but after the past 4 or more years of trying to change, I knew this wasn’t possible for me.
Ultimately, the meeting ended with the Pastor telling me that living as a gay man and acting upon it was wrong according to the Bible, I still feel as though people like my Brother and his partner haven’t understood properly what I have been though for years – saying I should change, thinking it was a choice, without even thinking of the stress and hard times I have been through for so long. I tried to change and couldn’t, I have been in a family where it was wrong to be gay, so why would I ever ‘choose’ to be that way…
Thankfully I have learnt that it is not wrong to be who I am, I have always been this way and no matter what people say, I will always believe that God loves me for who I am.
To me, the sins in the Bible such as stealing, adultery, and murder (the ones compared to homosexuality) are all hurting somebody, they are evil things. But to compare these to a same sex couple who love one another – I just cannot get my head past that. Would God really condemn two people for loving one another. This is where I stand now, after years of thinking and trying to understand, it has been hard but thankfully I got through it.
Both Mum and I have tried to explain how so many people in my position are drawn to suicide, everyone should be happy that I am still here and that even through the hardest of times I managed to make it to where I am now. Part of accepting who I am and understanding things has come through watching films. A film called “Prayers for Bobby” really touched me, it drew so many comparisons to the life I have and it made me very emotional. A story of a Christian guy like me growing to realise he is not attracted to girls as he ‘should be’. The film touches on all the parts of being gay and really helps show people what its like and how hard it is to be told to “change”, or to “try harder”.
One thing that always worried me was coming out to my Dad’s parents, they are very conservative, I have always been the favourite grandchild (out of about 30!), I have always loved spending time with them and I worried so much how they would treat me after I told them. Thankfully when I told them they dealt with it as best as they ever could, instead of judging me or telling me that I was wrong to be who I am, they said something along the lines of “You are still Lewy, we love you and will always love you, you will always be welcome here and what you do when you leave is up to you.” For a couple that have been Christians for their whole life, this was an amazing display of unconditional love and I am so happy I can still spend time with them because I have always cherished spending time with both sets of grandparents.
So there you go, that’s my story. Years in the making but wow, I feel so much better now. Not having to lie and act as someone I am not. Not judging people for who they are, learning to accept people and love them! I hope you enjoyed reading this and I would love to stay in touch. I find it funny how we used to joke about me going from “beetle to man”, well now I truly have become that greater version of myself 🙂
Thank you for everything,
Love is Love ❤