Tag Archives: equality

I am NOT an abomination!

NOTE: This is a repost of when I originally wrote it and posted it in July of 2008. Needless to say, my opinion/feelings have not changed, and sad to say, the world has not changed much either in this regard. I continue to know, fully and without question, that I am a beloved child of God, and I am not flawed, diseased, or deviant in any way, ESPECIALLY not for being a lesbian.

Enjoy!

I feel compelled to write about this due to the strong feelings associated with this topic: HOMOSEXUALITY. I don’t get angry about the topic much anymore, as much as become determined, almost indignant, on needing to firmly state why I feel the way that I do about this. And, I have to say, I would feel firmly that homosexuality is as natural in humanity as heterosexuality, even if I were not a lesbian. But I am a lesbian, and I know in my heart of hearts that I am EXACTLY as God intended me to be.

Now, I am not writing this post as a testament to what science is proving in terms of sexual orientation and genetics. I am not writing this post as a way to quote passages of Scripture, to defend why they are misinterpreted. I am writing this from a feeling, human perspective. It is just the way that I do things, try to bring the personal perspective to the table, which is not always considered when the various sides of this issue take their positions and refuse to see another point of view as valid.

I feel firmly confident in the fact that God has created me, as well as millions of other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, in His image, and exactly as He wanted us to be. I would, and do, believe that regardless if science seemed to indicate that there is genetic differences or not, that God meant for this to be. I feel fully connected to God and to my spirituality, not in spite of being gay, but because I am gay. I am a kind, generous human being, I give willingly to others, I try to be fair and not wasteful, and I have a committed, lifelong partner whom I am devoted to. We are raising a well adjusted, beautiful daughter and doing a fine job. God has blessed us in so many ways, because of who we are.
This is usually where the conversation goes to the area of “love the sinner, hate the sin” kind of statements, referring to being gay as being a “choice” or “lifestyle”, and that we are “giving in” to “sinful urges” without restraint. While I will not be discussing my own sexual behavior here, since that is just not my style, I will say that sexual orientation, or in my case, being a lesbian, is about SO MUCH MORE than sexual behavior, sexual activity, sexual intimacy. Yes, that is part of it in most of the couple relationships that I am acquainted with, as in most committed relationships. That is PART of what connects two persons to one another. But, think about it for a minute, when you meet someone that you know may be a significant person to you, one to whom you are attracted, how would you describe that attraction? Some of us have had the experience of being attracted to a person physically or sexually only, with nothing else much there. That has not been my typical experience, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about falling in love, being attracted to a person on all levels: physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, soulfully, prayerfully- the heart to heart connection that comes with those that we fall in love with madly. THAT is what orientation is about. If I were to describe a heterosexual orientation as only about sex, or sexual attraction or intimacy, I would be diminishing it and leaving out so much else that describes and defines a couple relationship.

And, just as there are messed up persons in this world who are heterosexual, married or not, so is the case in the homosexual world as well. Not much difference there. However, there are many of us that are monogamous, in committed, long term relationships, who are not unfaithful and want to spend the rest of our lives together, God willing. Would there really need to be a focus on what it is that we do intimately if we were allowed to be married? If that were to sanction our committed relationship, then really, who would care how we conduct ourselves? And, for those that think that the institution of marriage will be ultimately destroyed, and the foundation of our society shattered if homosexual persons are allowed to marry one another, wouldn’t you agree that marriage could use some help these days? I mean, the most recent statistic is that almost half, if not half, of marriages end in divorce? How can we worsen those types of numbers? Isn’t it remotely possible that we might boost the chances of happy marriage?

I know some people, many people actually, some of whom are gay, some not, who were raised in households and communities and churches, that told them that being a homosexual was against God, unnatural, and an abomination, and who believed it for much of their lives. Some of those same people have had changes of hearts and minds over their lifetime, by realizing that being gay and being in God’s image could co-exist. I am so grateful for those persons in my life. I am so glad to know that instead of bringing out fear and loathing in other human beings, that I can illicit appreciation, compassion and joy at who I genuinely am.

I am gay, I am worthy, I am loved, and I am a child of God. Amen.

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The power of Soulforce

About four years ago, I was conducting an online search for resources, mainly, spiritual or religious resources, for LGBT youths/students that offer authentic support to them. There were some organizations and places that I found that seemed genuine. However, there was one particular organization that caught my attention, and kept my attention, the most.

Soulforce.

Soulforce is an organization that believes in nonviolent, passive resistance as a way to get things done on behalf of LGBT persons. Through activism, writings, and their forums, they help others to understand, and also offer active support for those who identify as LGBT, and assist those persons in their coming out. It may sound oversimplified, but it really is difficult for me to put into words how grateful I am for this organization, and the people that I met through it. Soulforce is a life preserver for many who have been damaged by others in the name of religion.

Soulforce, I believe, helped me to find my voice within the LGBT community. I always had a pretty clear idea since I came out who I was as a gay person. Even when I struggled with the coming out process, I kind of knew how I would turn out. However, Soulforce helped me to understand who I was within the LGBT community. It helped me to find out how to speak out, on behalf of my truth and the truth of us all. The need to find equality, the need to be treated fairly. The need to be viewed as beloved.

The need for justice.

But, Soulforce became more than an organization of support for me, more than an education in how to advocate, how to inform, how to protest injustice. Soulforce, by its meaning to me, means to fight injustice not with physical force, but with soul force. To combat inequality with love, compassion, understanding and awareness rather than fists, clubs and weapons. It means, meet those that oppose us with love, self knowing and peace, and seek to inform others rather than fight against them.

So, going to Washington two weeks ago, marching on behalf of myself, and millions of others, I carried the message and lessons and love of Soulforce with me.

Yet, there is more.

I made friends, many good friends, at Soulforce. Sharing stories, support and love. Meeting when we can. Sharing our joys, our sorrows, our peaks and valleys of life. So, a few of us were able to meet up in Washington, D.C. on October 11.

Here we are, after numerous texts to track each other down amidst 200,000 of our closest friends:

soulforce friends

Soulforce, as a belief and an organization, has helped me to grow as a person. Has helped me to pursue justice in a more formalized way. I have known since I was very young that I would fight on behalf of those that are oppressed, I just needed to get organized about it. Better informed. Better able to focus my efforts.

Soulforce has helped me to do that. And, in the process, helped me to meet some lifelong friends.

I am eternally grateful for that.

Soulforce.

Marching onward!

I was filled with anticipation, and I have to admit, a bit of anxiety. We were not even at the train station yet in Wheaton, and it was after 12 noon.

Noon was when the march on Sunday, October 11 was about to start.

I didn’t want to miss it. I was trying to let go; trying to realize how difficult it was when were trying to keep a group of 18 persons together for one six hour trip. Delays were bound to happen. There would be plenty of other moments that would occur that day that I could take in and carry with me.

I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that we might miss the march. That was a big part of what I was looking forward to. Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, with what I expected to be thousands of others who believe in full, equal rights. I wanted to carry my neon sign. I wanted to be one of the many that were present and visible, walking past the White House, voices raised in unison.

So, to Wheaton we went. We finally found the train station, so that we could ride the Metro into the city to avoid driving into traffic. We got our passes. We made our pit stops.

Then, we were on the train. We were on our way.

When we got off the train, about one block from where the march was beginning, we weren’t sure if it was still going on. It was close to 1:00; surely, it was close to being over, and preparing for the rally.

But, we heard them. The crowd.

At first, I couldn’t tell if it was the crowd that was marching, the crowd that was lining the streets in support, or some of both. All I knew was, I saw it right ahead of me. A torrent of humans, carrying signs, chanting, and walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.

marching to the capitol!

The march was still going on…….

And, the thing is, there were SO MANY people marching, we couldn’t possibly have missed it. There were still marchers for several blocks by the time we entered the line. We just walked up to the march, and jumped in. Carrying our signs. Mine was neon pink, and on one side said: “Love is Love”. The other side, the one that I showed most often, was “Accept No Substitutes: Full Equal Marriage NOW”. I had my newly created tee shirt on as well; one bride plus one bride equals love. That simple.

bride plus bride equals love

me and marching

That is it, in a phrase, that is what we want. That is what I want, for myself, my family, and anyone else who feels so inclined to marry. We deserve that right.

On that bright, sunny day in October, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, it didn’t matter what we were wearing, what color or gender we were, even whether or not we carried a sign or a flag.

We were united, fully together, connected, by the desire for change, the hunger for justice, the demand for equality and full rights.

We had a purpose, and we were so rocking that purpose in that moment of time. And, it worked. And, it will continue to work, I so know that.

the crowd

The rings

So, the van that we rode in to Washington, DC for the National Equality March was seating for fifteen or so. Some people rode in cars so that we might have a bit more room. Since I was travelling alone, I went to the back of the van, to get situated and organized. I was soon joined by Dar and Kat, who were soon to be a couple of my new found friends.

back o' the van

At 6:00 AM, we began getting acquainted by the need I had to point out that, as opposed to Dar’s Jeter jersey, I am, in fact, a Boston Red Sox fan.

We sat next to each other anyway, amicably.

Over the next few hours, the three of us talked about our families, our struggles, we shared food (Kat makes a mean egg salad), and connected. We discovered some people, and ideas, that we had in common. It was really cool.

dar and kat

One thing that I noticed about the two of them as a couple, is that they genuinely cared for each other. I don’t mean, love each other; that was apparent also. But, the gently reached for each other’s hands at times, gave a quick kiss to one another. They talked and shared and genuinely cared for one another.

What I found out as we were preparing to leave Washington for the day, is that in the midst of the connection and marching and gathering, they had taken a moment to sit on the lawn of the Capitol, and to exchange rings with one another. There, in our nation’s capitol, they were witness to history being made, and making some special memories of their own as well. Until they could have it be legal, either in New Jersey, or in the country, or both, this would have to do.

the rings

What a beautiful testament to love. Even in the face of our unions not being legally recognized in most places, love reigns. Commitment rings true. We make what we can from what we are given.

And, true love wins out, every time.

Me and 17 strangers

3:30 AM came mighty early on Sunday morning. But, the early awakening and driving in darkness was so worth it.

You see, I was preparing to walk toward my dream, to begin another phase of transformation.

So, at 5:30 AM, we began our journey from Newton, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. To march, and to rally, for full and equal rights. Eighteen of us all together. Most of us had never met other people on the van, or in the two cars that were in the caravan. The ages ranged from eighteen up to women in their fifties and sixties. Some of us were there with friends, some with partners, some on their own. Some of us were allies, some were gay. Before that day, I had never met any of those on the van before.

What an adventure.

The main thing that we had in common at 5:30 AM, anticipating a ride of several hours to DC, was a desire to see justice come to be. To see full and equal rights. We may have each had a motivation that made it unique to ourselves, but the common cause was justice, equality, fairness, and civil rights.

Less than an hour into the trip, we began to share food that we all had collaborated in bringing along. One person brought brie cheese and lime flavored tortilla chips. Another couple brought homemade egg salad, bagels and bread. Yet another person brought candy corn and gumdrops. We had protein, carbs, fruit, drinks, and companionship.

By the time we were halfway to Washington, we knew additional aspects of life that we had in common. Pets. Children. Foods we enjoyed. Surviving cancer. Vacations. Causes. Friends.

What connects us as people is always so much more powerful than what divides us. It allows us to see the true spirit that shines from one another.

One of the most impacting stories of that day, among those that joined us, was in relation to the three teenage women that drove behind the van in their car. Samantha had left a note for her mother at 4:30 that morning, simply stating “I am going to change the world.” Those young women ended up coming with us after hearing about the march from a patron at K Mart the night before, one of our other fellow marchers.

All of them allies. All of them heterosexual, yet knowing that equality is equality, plain and simple.

By the time we pulled back into Newton, New Jersey at 2:00 AM Monday morning, I no longer thought of those other seventeen people as strangers. Rather, I had made seventeen new friends, comrades in arms, who will go forward with me on this journey toward full equality, in this battle for justice.

Our journey together has just begun.