Do You Regret Coming Out?

From the archives, originally posted in 2016.

In light of the recent headlines with Colton Haynes officially coming out, I’ve had many people ask me if I regret it at all in my own journey.

What I can say is that I entirely echo Colton’s words that “acting 24 hours a day is exhausting”. What I regret is the time I spent living in fear of being discovered, disowned and discarded. What I’ve found is that most people in my life are embracing me and even celebrating my courage.

I’ve yet to meet a member of the LGBTQ community that regrets coming out. Regret is far often more attached to HOW it happened than being out in the open. Not everyone is as lucky as me. They don’t get to choose when and how they come out. Countless youth are outed by peers or parents far before they’re ready for different reasons. Many are outed within the faith community when coming out to someone in trust and “did you hear about?” becomes a “prayer request.”

Being out to friends and family and being out to the public are also different things–which Colton touches on in his article linked above.

For me, it’s deep and personal. I needed to come to terms with myself and grieve the ways I had acted and hurt myself and others while hiding from the truth. I needed to face the friends that I had shoved out of my life and force myself to ask hard questions.

I needed to choose what was more important to me–what I know about myself or what others expected of a Christian. Talking with my mom, we both laughed at the idea that I ever tried to NOT be bisexual. The first person I was ever in love with was my next door neighbour Melissa.

We were about 8-ish and spent every waking moment of the summer together. It was the kind of puppy love that parents encourage between a boy and a girl as “cute” and “normal”–but it wasn’t until I was a grown up looking back that I saw it for what it was.

Praise the Lord my mother never shamed me for that relationship or a few I had in my teens. In our family, who you love had more to do with how they treat you and others than their gender, race or religion.

What did coming out mean for you?

Advertisements

Writer Wednesday: Amy Jones

Five for Our Child

 

i.

 

I will not see your first steps,
or rock you to sleep at night,
or teach you to play hymns

by the time you’re six. But

when we learn your name,

the first time we speak it
aloud, it will be with no

less reverence than when

we speak the name of God.

If you want, I will still sing you
the French lullabies my mother
sang to me.
(God, I hope you like my voice.)

ii

We probably shouldn’t show you my poems.
Maybe no one will publish them,
or my wife and I will have a lot to explain.
Let’s hope you understand
we lived a hundred lives before yours
and are proud of just this one.

iii

I starved every day I did not know
if I was enough for anybody.
The fact is
that I was not enough for my parents.
You are already enough.

iv

If my feminist theologian friends are correct
and God is a woman,
you will have so many mothers.

v

God, I hope I am enough for you.

What I didn’t know was missing

Sitting, rather, laying on top of my patchwork quilt yesterday, I said, “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it.”

I’ve always been an independent person. I was the strong-willed child that knew what she wanted, the edgy teen who didn’t take flack from anyone, and the travelling idealist looking for a place to put roots down—in her own time.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun to do just that. I’ve met more amazing people since moving to Vancouver Island than I was prepared for. I’ve had the privilege of working with non-profits and social justice warriors to invest in the community and better the lives of lose less fortunate. I went back to school to pursue my passion, became established in the local writing community, started working full-time for the first time ever, and have a strong support network.

I was happily single. Free for adventures, late night talks, random road trips, and content with it.

Then, I was happily single and crushing hard on someone.

For all my bravery, moving to other countries with my clothes on my back, coming out as bisexual in a Christian church (subsequently losing what felt like everything), and coming back from nothing countless times—it was the single most terrifying experience to put myself out there.

I’ve had a history of barking up the wrong tree. People are beautiful. In my life, I’ve known some rare gems. They don’t see their potential, their impact on others, or their sheer brilliance. As an observer with my heart on my sleeve, I notice those individuals with the capacity for great love right away. I sat on it for a long while. I thought, this will pass and then I can carry on with my plans of graduating and work towards publishing.

Then, my good frenemy tequila intervened and I sent that notorious drunk text. Now, thank GOD drunk Cheryl isn’t an idiot. I didn’t say anything regrettable. It was literal liquid courage. I told her that I liked her.

What happened between now and then can only be explained as a miracle. Like, finally all the good karma I’ve sown is coming back to me. I didn’t know I needed to feel safe like I am with her. I didn’t know that I needed to feel beautiful even when my hair is standing straight up and I’ve got last night’s glitter and camping dust stuck to my face. I didn’t know that I needed someone to hold my hand while my heart broke for the pain of a loved one.

It’s funny how you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it.

Self-inflicted Battle Scars

Every week I try to write about a different Christian buzzword and today’s buzzword is same sex attracted/love the sinner, hate the sin. I have been struggling to come up with something to write all week as the reasons to ascribing to this philosophy are as varied as the people that Christians are bred to oppress.

People love to hate LGBT people because they assume that we’re all non-monogamous. It is true that a lot of LGBT people will hook up and have more than one partner in their lifetimes. A lot of them will have illegitimate children, as well. A lot of LGBT people, though, know the sting of being rejected by a parent, and because of that they will work to love the children gifted to them, either themselves or by giving them to a set of parents ready for the responsibility of child-rearing and ready to unconditionally love that child.

People love to hate LGBT people because they’ve been told that LGBT people are at war with Christianity. They’re right, there is a war being waged. The Christians attacked first when Homosexual acts were outlawed because of what the bible says. It became, after that, that LGBT people began fighting not to make the bible obsolete, but to understand how it should be applied in a world where people of many faiths and backgrounds coexisted. LGBT people were not trying to remove Christian rights at all, but rather even the playing table. I have heard hateful things spewed by both sides – two wounded animals fighting to protect themselves. I am not saying that one side is right and one side is wrong – both view the same world but only see what they have been conditioned to see.

People love to hate LGBT people because they’re different. People love to hate Christians because they’re peculiar. Both have a very rich history, though, full of events that shaped how we view the world today and full of people who changed the realm of human thought. For a long time I thought that if I were a Queer person I could not be Christian, but they’re fighting for the same thing, though. Both sides are fighting to express the love that they have been taught to show. Both the LGBT person and the Christian belong to these vibrant communities full of God’s creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours. Both will fight for those that they love, but more than that, they will fight for those in their communities.

It’s time to stop trying to find our differences and instead look at where we are the same. Instead of trying to vilify each other, why don’t we try to build each other up? We were all created unique, but we were all also created in the image of God, with an incredible capacity for love. It’s even been scientifically proven that when we try to love each other, even those people that we disagree with, we become happier. We were wired to love. It hurts to see this war that is being waged – because in the end, I know that we’re doing more damage to ourselves rather than each other.

In this war, can I be Queer and Christian? It’s hard to be Switzerland sometimes. It’s the disappointment when my LGBT friends won’t come to church with me even when I’ve shown up at their apartments because they’ve said they’re coming. It’s the awkward silences at church when I mention disasters like Pulse, and things like Trans* day of remembrance. It’s bible studies with the Pastor because apparently I’m deconstructing my faith.

It is so much more than that, though. It’s quiet moments where I pray with my LGBT friends and watch the Holy Spirit touch them. It’s in the questions that come from Christians who genuinely want to understand how they can love me and my communities. It’s in joking with drag queens when they catch on that you’re kinda straight-laced and being the only Uncle in church who hand makes birthday presents.

Navigating the Queer Christian world is less about what you ascribe to, and more about what you stand for. It’s less about what other people think about you, and more about what you think about yourself. Being a Queer Christian is about knowing yourself, and loving yourself, and letting the love of God shine through you on to anyone that wanders across your path, regardless of age, gender, race, beliefs or sexuality. In some ways, I think Queer Christians are the ones that get it right. They are the rebels – but wasn’t Jesus a rebel? They are the outcasts, belonging to two worlds but never resting in either – and wasn’t Jesus both man and God, the bridge between man and God, fully God and fully man?

In the end, Christians and LGBT people are fighting for an ideology that they can hold on to. Jesus said I came not to abolish the law, but fulfil it. Jesus contains everything needed to make us whole again, and I think we forget that in our scramble to be right. Following Jesus is not about being the most literally right – you’re not going to get to heaven based on how many scriptures you know and how many rules you follow. You’re going to be asked, “Did you love the least of these?”

Did you?

Breaking the Silence: The Resistance.

I’ve been trying to think of what to say in the wake of events over the past six weeks. The world is a messy place right now. At times it can feel overwhelming and even pointless to add to the volume of dissenting voices.

It can feel like the sound of my objections, my values and my heartache will be drowned out by the rhetoric of hate. Yet, I speak, I write and I march.

Maybe this is you.

Perhaps you’ve been scrolling through social media and noticed people you’ve loved and respected are telling you to quiet down. Perhaps they’ve posted “let’s make Facebook cuter” posts to draw attention away from the horrors happening around them. Don’t let their denial discourage you.

I hear your voice. The world hears your voice. If you’ve any comfort at all that you make a difference, look to The Women’s March. Worldwide women, men and gender non-binary folks stood side by side in solidarity with those losing their rights and freedoms. They marched for the voiceless. They marched in mourning for democracy. They marched. They weren’t passive.

Again, in light of the terror attack in Quebec City against Muslims peacefully worshipping, we march. This hate, it needs to end. We must not ignore it. I refuse to lose myself in cute cat videos, in personality quizzes, in Netflix binging. I also refuse to lose myself in engaging in comment wars. Protest is not about fighting the opinions of others on social media, it’s about action.

Put your mind and body into action however you can. Don’t feed the trolls but don’t let them silence you. If you have a story to tell, and nowhere to tell it, I am here for you. Visit the contact us page and tell me your story. Your story of hurt or your story of hope. Stories move people. They fuel revolutions. Welcome to the resistance. We’ve got your back.