Okay, Gawker is a gross site, and I do not approve of people being outed in this “gotcha” manner, but it came across my Twitter feed and I clicked.
Yes, another self-righteous “ex-gay” blogger is “caught” cruising for dudes on a gay social networking site. Not exactly earth-shattering news, but what did strike me was how most of the comments showed so much sympathy and compassion for this young man’s situation.
I guess I should not be surprised, really. Everyone knows a LGBT person who is living, or has lived, a false life. So it is not surprising that many of the commenters wanted to say to this guy, “Stop hating yourself. Stop trying to please a church that will never love you and will never accept you as God made you.”
I understand completely the desire to be accepted, particularly by one’s church, which is often connected to acceptance by one’s family. There is so much affirmation, so much delight, when a “sinner” comes back to the fold and “sins no more.” It is hard for any person not to just go with it, please everyone, play the part, be the good girl or boy and be one of the accepted group that God loves best.
But how heartbreaking. He blogged about feeling “overwhelming loneliness.” Imagine feeling that, as well as feeling like a fraud and a failure every day as you are praised and rewarded for your supposed strength and godliness in turning away from homosexuality. I can’t believe in a God who wants that kind of pain. I don’t want to attend a church that praises and condones living a lie.
The older I get, the more adamant I am about being who I genuinely am, and the more important I think it is for young people to be allowed to be who they are.
In tenth grade, while studying “The Scarlet Letter” my son had a project in which he had to choose a word he felt described him, create a decorated version of the first letter of that word, and wear it around his neck all day. He had to explain to anyone who asked what his word was, and how it described him
His word was GENUINE.
And I loved that, because he is. Kind of brutally honest, he has the freedom to be who he is: quirky, funny, over-sensitive, good, but not perfect. Not gay, but if he was, he’d be just as free to be himself, and just as loved.
How much would I like to say to Matt Moore to just let go of the false glory of being an important person in a church that will never, ever allow you to be genuine. Find a church that accepts LGBT people and affirms your faith and accepts that God made millions of different kinds of people, and some of them are gay. Make friends who like you for everything you are, who will forgive you for trying to live a false life because they’ve probably done it, too. Maybe you’ll find someone to love who shares your faith, but even if you don’t, you won’t spend every day lonely and hating yourself.
I know, easy for me to pontificate from my suburban marriage with the 2.0 kids. But one of the biggest regrets of my life is an event that happened when I was attending a small, Southern Baptist college and I was accused by some of my sorority sisters of being a lesbian. They required me to sign a statement affirming that I was not homosexual in order to remain a member, and they threatened to notify the University and my parents if I did not sign. I was 19 years old. I am not a lesbian. But I was terrorized into signing the thing.
It will shame me until the day I die that I didn’t remove my pin and walk out. When it came to being a genuine person, and standing up against something I knew was wrong, I failed miserably.
But one failure, or many, does not define us. Matt Moore – Move on, you’re already out. Embrace who you are, while holding tight to the faith that is obviously important to you. Stop visiting creepy dating sites and find genuine love. And most of all, love yourself.