She would wash my favorite outfit. It was a sweat-pant assemble from the mid 80’s. Folding my blue sweat bottoms and gray top with a panda bear, my Aunt Pearl sang a song with joy. I was full of laughter.
She would play hide and seek with me, hiding me in her pantry. And when her son, my older cousin would open the door I would explode with laughter and surprise. We were all filled with happiness. It was in her company, as a boy that I felt incredibly special. She wanted me near. She enjoyed my smile. And she loved my company. I felt like a precious gem.
Sometimes, however, coming out of the closet isn’t full of such intimate sincerity.
rom the political Huckabee-Types to the the anti-gay preachers, sexual orientation has become something divisive. The conversation around: 1) those of us who have come out, 2) the LGBTQ persons who wish to marry, and 3) our religious and political equality are spoken of as though our liberty deconstructs the foundation of societal safety.
In this realm the angry rhetoric of the fearful majority will reinforce, for many, feeling safe in the hidden shadows of secrecy. The worst part of homophobia, I’m afraid, is when the fear of the heterosexists voice turns into anger and the result is an internalized fear within the closeted soul. Homophobia is truly affective when it has taught someone to hate him or herself, to hate their very innocent desire to belong.
Some will tell the out and closeted that our desire for love is damaged. Many churches will tell us that our love is disordered. And others will say that our gender identity is misaligned or altogether disgusting.
The politicians who are enraged by marriage equality cannot understand that their voice works against the message of a better America for which they campaign. The religious leaders, who preach for unity and love, cannot understand that their fight against the LGBTQ person is the very fight against the love for which they toil to inspire.
And in the realm, many of us out LGBTQ have experienced the most horrific and petrifying conversations with our parents. Many of our parents chose to respond with anger, cutting words, and religious passages. We leave the room seriously questioning if they still love us. We’re petrified in these moments.
Mom and Dad, when we invite you into our lives, where we expereiencs love, joy, romance, and a place that feels like an emotional home, we’re not asking for you to sign our permission slip. We’re not bulling you into compromising your morals. All we’re asking is that you love us and show a willing desire to be in our lives, no matter if that life looks differently than yours. We aren’t demanding you to celebrate, we aren’t bulling you into seeing things our way. Most deeply, all we want is to feel like your cherished child.
Many forget that their distain for or fight against the LGBTQ community is the direct shaming of the people who comprise that community. They many fail to acknowledge, that regardless of their fight we are all made for loving connectedness.
From the first moments of life, we are primed for bonding- a connection to our parent that will endure through time and space. And as we grow and sprout into reality we are forever preparing for and creating a script that will direct our relationships. At the very bottom of our core is a beckoning- we desire to abide with another. This desire sings its tune all the way through our core and flows out into our interactions.
When a straight person says that they, “…just don’t get it” I wish they would make acquaintance with their own sexuality. The straight, bi, queer, gay, and lesbian sexualities all look different in our physical context, but operate the same on the spiritual plane. When the religious leader calls the trans woman a monster, I wish he would become familiar with his own gender identity. Her femininity is, in part, the essence of his core, as well.
On the surface we might all look differently, we might behave uniquely, and we surely act within a variety. But at the core of our spectacular existence is the same fundamental beauty to belong, secure love, and offer love to another.
So for those who live in secrecy; for those who are dying to come out may I inspire you to be free.
Your gender identity is not a threat. Your sexual orientation is primarily a relational orientation to belong and create an emotional home. The attractions within your body, the energy of your gender, and the call to create relational security is divine, and I use that word purposefully.
Do not deny yourself love any longer. Do not let the voice of the angry right scare you into being small. But most importantly don’t use their voice on yourself. Refrain from the tendency to hate yourself with the condemning voice they’ve used to shame you.
Your love is beautiful. Your desire to belong is pure. Your ability to love another is a gift to those around you. You deserve not to live in the shadows of malice, fear, and persecution. But to be liberated by the messages of love, those that teach you, “I am enough. I am worth it. I have something to offer.”
On National coming out day, may you stand confident in your ability to love and compassionate as you let the love of others saturate the fabric of your soul.