Who I Am…

I have tried my whole life to remain neutral on almost everything. I, my friends, am a lifelong fence-sitter. I am the equivalence of Switzerland. In my mind, I have always enjoyed to hear all sides of everything, take the parts of all arguments I liked, and join them to come up with my own middle ground. To me, even if I absolutely disagree with the whole sum of an argument, there has to be some smidgeon of a single point that I can, at the very least, use somewhere in life. Compromise should have been my middle name.

Why the fence-sitting? It stems mostly from fear of rocking boats. I am not an arguer. I am passive in nature and completely comfortable with that. I have my own opinions, of course. But to argue my point to someone who obviously does not agree seems like a total waste of my time. You see, I confess a love of Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” I have taken this to heart for a very long time. What makes my way of thinking better than your way of thinking? Is one person ever wrong? Does it really make a difference to you that I think differently? Can’t it be O.K. that my “truths” are different than your “truths”?

The reason I love that quote is because I don’t subscribe to the human use of “us” versus “them” groups. In fact, I abhor the use of “us” versus “them” groups. The easiest reasoning for this is because of the negativity associated with this line of thinking. There is no person on this planet that I can’t find SOMETHING we have in common. But when “us” and “them” groups are involved, only differences are recognized. And let’s face it; it’s easier to find differences. He doesn’t look like me, talk like me, or act like me is easier to see than he likes the same music as me, he puts his right shoe on first too, and his belief isn’t really that different from mine. You know why it’s easier? Because I can visually SEE the differences a lot quicker than taking the time to get to know someone. To find a similarity, I may just have to actually speak to the person. And unfortunately, it seems to be human nature to see the difference and quickly say that different person is a “them” and I don’t want to speak to a “them.” Sounds pretty disgusting when thought like that, huh?

Isn’t that how most people react, though? Is it not common to see a dirty person on the street and think, “Keep driving and look the other way!” Is it not common to see a pregnant young teenager and think, “Where were her parents? She must be a whore! And now I get to pay for that kid because she isn’t going to work!” I try every single day to not be that person, but I will disgustingly admit that there are times I have had that exact thought. It’s much harder to see that dirty person and think, “I wonder what he wanted to be when he was a kid. I wonder if he had aspirations and dreams?” It’s much harder to see that young pregnant girl and think, “I wonder what her dreams are?” To find these things out, we’d have to actually talk with the person. It makes it much harder to think of the negative when you have just one positive to think about.

And this brings me to the bulk of my blog: gay marriage. I have been such a fence-sitter with homosexuality. Yes, I am as out as a person can be. There’s no hiding in the closet for me. But I’ve still spent a full decade sitting on the fence. You may be asking yourself how does a very out lesbian sit on the fence? I’ll tell you: I sit on the fence when I allow all of the comments to fly around my head without reacting. If I react, I let an arm down and start to fall over. Remember: balancing is important to fence-sitting. For all of my 20s, I have been stuck in the middle: too gay to stand on the straight side and too straight to stand on the gay side. I absolutely understand the LGBT group wanting the same rights as everyone else, but I absolutely understand Christians who believe being gay is a sin. I was raised Pentecostal and I love Jesus, so I get the whole “you’re going to Hell” thing. And because I get that, I don’t exactly fit in with the gay crowd. But I AM gay, so I don’t fit in with the religious side either. Again-stuck in the middle.

But last night, after much debate and fear of falling off my fence, I let my arm down. I fell. I fell with my dignity in-tact and with my head held high. I did it my way and on my own terms. So today, I publicly announce where I stand. If you are not ready to read my statement, please hit the X in the top right corner because I am done being the queen of compromising. My 20s may have been full of compromising, but my 30s will break that habit.

I have realized that in compromising, I have also been complaisant. In trying to hear all sides, I have just allowed people to get away with outrageous remarks that have created “us” versus “them.” The ONE thing I really, REALLY dislike is something I have been complaisant in creating. For some people, I am the only gay person they know or talk to on a regular basis. I am also from a very old-school Pentecostal Christian family. I’d like to add that my family is also very loving. They love me. There is absolutely no doubt about that. I do not doubt their love for me at all.

But I am a “them.”

To my family reading this, it may come as a shock that I just said that. I have been accepted into my family. I have never ever, not even ONCE, been told I don’t belong at a family function or permitted to be near children or anything extreme like that (and for that I am eternally thankful). But ask 96% of my family where they stand on gay marriage and the answer is unanimous: the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman.

This will surprise my family mostly because I have done an excellent job of sitting on the fence. Practice makes perfect and I’ve been practicing my balancing act for a lifetime. I have never, not once, asked my family to go against their Christian beliefs. I have never, not once, asked them to pick me over God. I have never, not once, asked them to make an exception for me. And in all those never, not once things, I have never, not once, told them I feel like an outsider looking in. I have never, not once, explained that I have dreams of getting married. My dream may not include a white gown, but I still picture what it would look like. I have never, not once, said I wanted a family just like everyone else gets. And for that, I am sorry to my family. Maybe I should have had more faith in my family to be able to tell them a long time ago, but I never wanted to make them alter their belief of the Bible. Their truths don’t have to be the same as mine, after all. But I know that my truths make me a “them.” I just can’t be complaisant anymore. It’s not fair to my family and it’s not fair to me.

My truths in the gay marriage debate:

1. God loves me and I love God and Jesus.

I have an issue with the “hate the sin, love the sinner” saying. To love someone means you accept them for every kind of person they are, faults and all. You don’t want to change them. You can’t love a person as long as they’re willing to change to your liking. God loves me-sin and all (I will leave the debate of whether being gay is a sin alone because I think that comes down to personal preference). Does He want me to sin? No-but He still loves me. If I get married to a woman, will He love me any less? No. He will love me just the same as He does now. I don’t deserve it, but He does. Jesus knew I was going to be gay when He thought of me from the cross. If He knew every single hair on my head, He knew my sexual preference too. He didn’t say, “I’m dying for your sins…except for being gay…you’re on your own with that one.” God IS love which means that God is the absence of hate. So I can’t will myself to believe that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. He doesn’t want us to sin, but He loves me no matter what.

2. One sin is no worse than any other sin.

This seems easy and everyone agrees on it. But it seems to me that no one is trying to ban divorce, drunkenness, adultery, premarital sex, cohabitation, etc. The only sin being banned is gay marriage. All the rest of the sins fall under the well-times-have-changed status. Gay marriage, though, falls under the abomination status. It seems to me that being gay is, therefore, considered a worse sin by the way it’s treated. I’m not at all saying Christians have to accept any of these sins, including homosexuality. I am, however, saying that if all sins are equal, shouldn’t as much work go in to ridding the world of the rest of the sins?
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3. There is a difference between the United States Constitution and the Bible.

This may offend most of the people who are reading this. I am not saying that one is better than the other. Thankfully in this country, Christians can openly practice their religion as much and as often as they want. But there has to be an understanding that not everyone is a Christian. Our founding fathers absolutely understood that. By creating the 1st Amendment, they created a nation that would afford all Americans freedom of religion. This means that everyone has the right to worship however they deem fit. That also means they don’t have to worship at all. This is where the separation of church and state came into place: after all, if one religious sect had power to create laws, wouldn’t that infringe upon a different sect’s Constitutional freedom to practice however they deem fit? So our laws and the U.S. Constitution are not made depending on the preference of one religious sect’s teachings.

So when it comes to gay marriage, it does not, at all, matter what the Bible says is right and wrong when it comes to Constitutional rights. Morally you can make up your own mind about if it’s right or wrong. But constitutionality does not depend upon a religious sect’s teachings. Therefore, in my opinion, the LGBT group has been discriminated against. There are 1,138 federal rights and provisions denied to same-sex couples and their families because of DOMA. How is that not called discrimination? Whether you are morally opposed or not has nothing to do with the constitutionality of DOMA.

4. Respect on all sides of the debate is needed.

That’s right….I said ALL sides. I respect the Christian belief. Obviously my truths are different, but why does that have to divide us? Why does that have to mean I belong in one group and they belong in another? Similarly, Christians need to respect that others do not believe the same way as them. Christians should not be forced to change their belief. An atheist, therefore, can simultaneously respect a Christian’s belief while the Christian respects an Atheist’s belief. The two don’t have to agree on anything, but they should respect each other for no other reason than we are all humans. We all hurt, love, feel joy, feel sadness, cry, lose loved ones, and celebrate life. Can we not respect those similarities without using negativity to separate us? Can we not all agree that we are all part of the “us” group of life?

And finally, after all of this, I still don’t ask my family or complete strangers to accept me for me. I respect them enough to allow them the freedom to run their lives however they deem fit. I just wish I was afforded the same respect. I’m not asking for acceptance-I’m asking for equality afforded to me under the U.S. Constitution.

WHO I AM:

I am first a human. I happen to be a woman, who happens to love Jesus, who happens to be a lesbian, who happens to laugh at all of life’s circumstances, who happens to love Jackie Wilson, who happens to love the color brown, who happens to love space education, who happens to wear glasses, who happens to be a total geek. Do you see how the second sentence is made up of all the little things about me? Those are attributes; they don’t define me. They describe me. I am human: that defines me. That defines us all. We are all the sum of “us.” There is, therefore, no such thing as a “them” group. The “them” group only exists out of fear of descriptions. If you’re going to hate anything, hate the fear. Don’t hate the differences.

Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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