A hot topic of debate lately is homosexuals and whether or not they should receive the same rights as heterosexuals. One of the biggest concerns that most religious figures and politicians have is that they believe it is considered morally wrong to be gay according to the Bible.
Because I was raised in the Baptist faith in central Appalachia, I was taught that God had not intended for there to be same-sex couples. It was not until high school that some of my long-time friends came out that they were gay. I was faced with a decision of whether or not I would still be friends with them.
My church was not so accepting of gays, and neither was most of my family. Torn, I went to my mother for advice. Although my mother was strong in her Christian faith, she encouraged me to treat those friends no differently and still be their friend.
Though, other people didn’t think like my mother. I was being told completely different things by opposing power structures. I didn’t know what to believe. I tried to find answers in my Bible, but I came up short.
It did not take me long to decide that I still wanted to be friends with that person. After all, he had been there for me at times when all I needed was for someone to listen. I would not leave him just because his sexuality differed from mine.
Even though I remained friends with him, I decided it was best to not state my opinion regarding his sexuality because I wasn’t sure what was right or wrong.
Most people thought I was against gays. When they would ask me why I was friends with him because I was religious, I decided to simply remain silent. I still didn’t know how I felt, and I didn’t want to answer them unless I knew for sure that I was confident in my answer. However, I would always feel bad because I would often leave him defenseless when he was trying to voice to others that he was the same as everyone else.
Once I got to college, those words still echoed in my mind that it was not God’s intentions to be gay. I didn’t want to believe it, but I also didn’t want to argue against it. I wanted to be friends with everyone; I didn’t care what their sexual preferences were. At the same time, I also was not to the point that I would defend the gay community.
During the middle of my freshman year of college, I was urged to re-think my beliefs again. I joined a sorority, and one of my sorority sisters announced she was dating a female. It was then that I began rethinking my values. After a while, several more homosexual women were welcomed into the sisterhood.
Two of them are very active members in the campus’ Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Alliance, and I was encouraged to support. In the back of my mind, I could still hear the words that I had been taught. It was okay if I continued to be friends with them, but I could not show my support. At first, I would just say that I didn’t have time to support and walk past their tables in the student center.
Then, I began to think about gay rights more deeply. Those were my sisters; those were the ones that I could go to no matter what the reason was and no matter what time of day it was. They would be there for me. It was time that I was there for them.
I still remember the first time that I decided to stop at the LGBTA table in the student center. I signed a card in order to help promote awareness against marginalization. Knowing that I supported my sisters and those I loved was one of the best feelings.
Two years later, I have come a long way. Although some of my views are still deeply instilled in me, I now not only support my fellow sisters but others in the gay community as well.
It took me a long time, but I decided that legitimation for gay oppression should not be related to the Bible. As Christians, we are supposed to love everyone and be there for everyone. It really is no wonder that people are turned away from church because of all the hate and marginalization.
It only took that one act of signing a banner against gay oppression for me to realize just how much gays are marginalized. I find it astonishing that people are going as far as to ban people from entering into a business just because of their sexual orientation, and I find it unnerving that lawmakers are trying to pass legislation in order for gays to be refused from hospitals.
Although I still consider myself to be a strong Christian, I do not condone the hegemonic practices of marginalizing gays. I will now continue to stand for my sisters, and I will stand for other gays as well.