Growing Up Queer & Coming Out

I wasn’t someone who has known they were gay since they were five. I started questioning my sexuality when I was in middle school, but even then I pushed the thoughts out of my mind, and just “knew I was straight.” Looking back on younger me, I’m giving her the biggest eye roll ever.

I remember the first time I ever heard about gay people. I was watching the TLC show Bringing Home Baby, and I was around 4 or 5 years old. There was a lesbian couple on this episode and one of them was pregnant through IVF. I can vividly remember one woman saying, ” I am so happy I married my best friend.” Immediately a light bulb went off in my head, I can marry a girl? Technically you couldn’t “legally” get married then, but that’s beside the point.  I made a life plan (at five years old) to marry a girl (since all my best friends were girls) if I “couldn’t find” a boy to marry.

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Now this should have been a huge alarm going off that I was gay. But even when I thought about it at twelve or thirteen, I made excuses about how “it was normal for little kids to want to marry their best friends.” Fast forward my spring semester of freshman year, and my fall semester of sophomore year, all I could think about was the possibility of being a lesbian. I accepted that I was in fact gay in late summer/early fall of 2015, and then came out to my parents and sister on October 25, 2015.

I knew my parents weren’t going to care, and would love me anyway, but I was terrified. Both my parents are pretty liberal, so I knew I shouldn’t be worried, but we are a very religious family. My dad went to seminary and was a preacher for most of my childhood, and my mom’s father was also a preacher. I had heard so may horror stories of kids getting kicked out because they came out to their religious parents I began to wonder, what if that happens to me?

I felt sick to my stomach every time I would see my parents when I hadn’t come out yet. I wanted to do it really casually, because I don’t think me being gay should be a big deal, but that’s not what happened. I ended up saying to my mom, “I need to tell you something,”  and then sitting there shaking and crying in utter fear for ten minutes before I spoke again. This was exactly how I did not want to do it, but in the long run it doesn’t really matter.

Coming out has made me feel so much more free. It’s only been a little over a year since I told my parents, and i already feel so much more comfortable with myself. The best decision I made when pertaining to telling my parents – or anyone for that matter, was waiting until I had fully executed myself. I think that if I had come out when I was still questioning my sexuality, and didn’t know if I was bisexual or gay or something else, it would have been a lot harder. If I could give someone one piece of advice when coming out as anything, it would be to accept yourself first, and to be open with your feelings. The second part isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I’m someone who keeps most things to myself, but I think when coming out it’s important to be open and honest.

This is my coming out story, in all it’s glory. It may not be that exciting ,or dramatic, or interesting, but it’s a major event in my life. If you’re in the LGBTQIAP+ community let me know what one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to come out. If you need anything, or just someone to talk to, you can contact me through my contact page, or at the email queerly.texan@gmail.com.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

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Reconciling Queerness and Religion

It’s no secret that many major religions have strong negative feelings toward the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve been going to Christian churches my whole life and have witnessed the homophobia and transphobia first hand. I’ve heard the term “abomination” thrown around more times than I can remember, but yet I still believe in a loving God who accepts all people.

When I first began to question my sexuality I pushed the idea of being something other than straight as far back in my mind as I could. Now I wasn’t homophobic, I’ve always accepted LGBT people and thought they deserved equality just like everyone else, but the idea of me being gay made me incredibly uncomfortable. Being in the south I know more people against “gay marriage” than for it, I know more republicans than democrats, more misogynists than feminists. All these hateful things were alive in well in the church I had spent five years at. I would sit in my Sunday school class angry at everyone around me. They were 99% white , all super conservative, and nasty towards anyone who wasn’t a white, middle class, cisgender, straight person. Still with all of this in front of me, my relationship with God wasn’t vanishing. I have felt the Holy Spirit around me on multiple occasions, and have seen miracles take place. If I felt tremendous love for my Savior and everyone around me, why didn’t everyone else feel that way?

It took me a while to come to the conclusion that people are always going to use religion as an excuse for their bigotry. I haven’t studied any other religion in great depth besides Christianity, so I’m not going to pretend to be an experts on them, but lots of hateful people will use their holy book to be a bigot. They will take verses and paragraphs out of context to make it seem like the Bible, or any other holy book, is saying it’s okay to hate someone else based off things they cannot change.

I think one of the most important bible verses is Matthew 22:37-39, ” love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second thing is this, love your neighbor as yourself. There are no greater commandments than these.”  If there are no greater commands than to love your neighbors then why as Christians are we being hateful and discriminatory towards other people?

I understand why people don’t like religion or specifically Christians, but we don’t all believe in bigoted values. I have left that horrible church, and now go somewhere that is much more accepting of all people. Where they don’t discriminate against you for sexuality, race, or gender. While I have met a few people here that seem like they would fit in better back at my old church, the majority of people have been loving and kind.

Being a “Gay Christian” doesn’t need to be ironic, or an oxymoron. There are queer people of every religion, and in every church, whether others realize it or not. Be kind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t use religion as an excuse to persecute others. Being LGBT and a religious is perfectly valid, and we need more queer people in the church. I believe the Bible is about justice, and love, so that’s how I try to live my life. Loving others and pursuing justice for all people.

– Alyssa

 

 

 

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