Friday, May 11, 2012

Name me one LGBTQA person you know

Normally, when people become friends with someone they disagree with, their views toward that person's beliefs or values soften.  I am convinced this is one of the reasons why people in the United States are becoming more accepting of LGBTQA individuals as time marches onward.

In the comments below, name one person you know who is part of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Questioning-Allies community.  Also, if you care to share, tell us how they have shaped your views on the matter.

Love,

I. C.

40 comments:

  1. My first LGBT friend was a bi dude that I met studying abroad. I was fresh from conservative Christian America and was shocked, shocked that he was bi AND minoring in religion. You can be bisexual...and interested in God...?!?! I was seriously confounded. He later went on to study at Harvard divinity. He basically made me realize that LGBT people are NORMAL PEOPLE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's true! I am Bi and my best guy friend is gay, and we both go to a welcoming and affirming church which teaches from the Bible why God is not against the LGBTQA community. But there are people in the community from all walks of life, and all religions.

      Delete
  2. Two cousins and my sister nannies for a lesbian couple (and, interestingly, says they're two of the nicest women she's ever met :). I grew up thinking my cousins were horrible people but it's only been in the past couple years I've actually gotten to know them and I LOVE them. Also, another friend...and I feel like there are a couple more but I'm blanking right now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't decide if I'm bi or queer. For years I've categorized myself as "10% bi" (and I have been my entire life) ... but it might be more accurate to say that I'm a lesbian who's occasionally attracted to men and trapped in a man's body.

    It's easy for me to play straight, and most people I debate homosexuality with assume that I am. But it's also easy for me to reach out to, understand, and connect with all my GLBTQA friends.

    I remember a long time ago thinking homosexuality was bad because the Bible said so. I believed for a while that all gay people were going to hell. Then in my mid-late teen years I moved to the "homosexual attraction is not bad, but gay sex is" perspective (around the same time as I discovered I was bi, though there was no causal relationship), and before long figured the Bible was just wrong, or it was a cultural thing. Lately I've been very happy to discover that the Bible really doesn't condemn homosexual activity at all, which is wonderful news to share with my Christian friends, even though I am no longer a believer (again, for completely different reasons).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most people are Bi to some extent, so don't feel like you have to decide one way or the other. Whatever allows you to be truly you :)

      Delete
  4. Just one? Or can I put more than one? And do I have to give names? Because none of my friends would appreciate being used as my "token gay person," any more than I would like being their token WASP or single mom, or whatever.

    I am long-time friends with a couple of guys who are in a long-term, committed gay relationship. As in, they live together openly and their FB page says that they are in a relationship with each other.

    I have several other friends of varying degrees of closeness who are homosexuals, some in long-term relationships, some not. Some celibate, some not. My hairdresser, whom I love dearly, is gay.

    For the most part, I still believe as I always have: that the behaviour is a sin, but that the person is a valuable person who deserves love, respect, compassion, and consideration. I do not go around bashing my LGBTQ friends for their sexual behaviour any more than I do the adulterous or promiscuous ones. If they ask my opinion, we'll talk. If they don't ask for my opinion, I'm not offering it because what they do in their spare time is their business, not mine. (Most of them know it, anyway. My conservatism is no secret.)

    And they all know that I love them dearly and would do almost anything for them. I take over soup and casseroles when folks are sick, house-sit for funerals, all the stuff I do for any other friend. They're people. I may disagree with some of the things they do, but that doesn't make them any less valuable or important to me. Or to God.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just met my first "lesbian" friend recently who has introduced me to a few of her friends... Not saying I agree with being gay, but not all gays/lesbians/ are stereotypical... my friend is really cool! So yeah... don't stereotype people, get to know them & will like them because they are unique too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was in church one night when a crying woman with a baby came and sat in front of me. She was so distraught. My heart went out to her, and I offered to hold her child so she could go cry at the altar during the altar call. I prayed for her and her family off and on for a few months before she came back. She was going through a nasty divorce. Her husband was cheating on her, but also trying to prove she was crazy so he could get custody of the kids. And to make it worse, her husband's lover was a MAN.

    I remained her friend through these trying days, and she did act a little off, but then she was going through an ugly divorce. Lies and deception, accusations and counter-accusations galore kept the drama in high gear. Mostly I had her kids over to play, hoping they could find some sense of normalcy just playing super-pirates with my son or beanie babies with my daughter.

    The divorce was final and she moved away. She had always seemed kind of strict, but I thought it was the stress of the divorce. I moved too, but we remained friends by telephone. She would call me when she was stressed out, but only then. She was often angry with one of her children in particular, and when she would describe the crime, it was often merely childish behavior/curiosity, but she called it "rebellion". I stayed on the phone trying to calm her down, praying for her daughter the whole time.

    One time I prayed, please God, if you could just send this precious teen to live with me for a few months, so I could love on her, it would mean so much to her! But you will have to work out that miracle; if I even suggest it that would mean mom would never agree...

    ReplyDelete
  7. so far as I am aware, I don't know any non-straight up vanilla heteros. I live in a community where being anything else would be a big Business Don't, at least being too obvious about it. I don't even see same sex hand-holding at Starbucks. And sexual gender preference isn't something that comes up that often in my conversations around town. There are a few people I suspect have some non-vanilla something in their closet but we have never had reason to talk about it. I kinda wish I did know some not-like-me's in person because it would make my standing up for them online feel a lot less theoretical!

    ReplyDelete
  8. PS. we are such a closeted community, my hubby and I both suspect our next door neighbors and across the street neighbors of being partners rather than the sibling pairs they introduce themselves as but I'm not gonna ask.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Imagine my delight when the mom suggested that the teen come live with me for a few months, to straighten her out! I thought quick, and capitalizing on her hatred and fear of her gay ex-husband, I said I would only agree if BOTH parents gave me a signed statement to the effect that they gave me the right to make all parenting decisions for the girl while she was at my house. She signed, as did gay dad.

    The girl moved in, a beautiful sweetheart. I like to think the love we showed her made a huge difference in her life. She visited this past Christmas, so I would say she agrees. I found out evangelical mom was far more abusive than I ever guessed, and that sucked to know. When I sent the girl home after a few months, mom started in on her (with the perjorative "rebellious") right away. We prayed fervently for her, that God would get that girl out of there.

    So when mom suggested sending the teen to gay dad's as the ultimate punishment, we agreed! "Do it! She deserves it! She doesn't deserve to live under your roof!" We kept praying until we got the news that the teen had been put on the train to Dad's house.

    She grew and blossomed into a lovely young lady under dad and spouse's care (they married in Hawaii). I am so proud of her. And that was the beginning of my change of heart. Even as I prayed for her to go to her Dad's, I still thought being gay was a "sin". But it was so plain that his was the far more loving, healthy home than the fundamentalist one...

    My son, like Obama's daughters, have been instrumental in changing my opinions. The DVD "Through My Eyes" from gaychristian.net tipped the scales. Gay people aren't the "other". They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am commanded to love them as Jesus loves me, without condition.

    Now that I put pro-gay rights stuff on my facebook wall, I have found several former classmates who are gay. I so regret my former stance. I just swallowed what I was being told, and with gays such a small minority, it is easy to demonize them for the majority. I hope the discrimination ends soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. awesome story! Love Wins, again.

      Delete
    2. Liberated LiberalMay 13, 2012 at 3:15 AM

      How beautiful of you to work so hard to take care of that sweet girl! If only every child in abusive circumstances had the chance you gave her.

      Delete
  10. My journey from "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" to where I am now (it's about love, wherever you find it) actually had quite a few LGTB people in it. One that I met early on, Paula, I dismissed out of hand, because she claimed to be a christian, and I knew that just couldn't be. Then as I began pulling away, and meeting other LGTBs, I accepted them a bit more.

    The thing that had the deepest impact on me was the movie "Philadelphia". That's where I can see definitively my views changing. Since then, I've met some gay men, and one transgender guy Bob to Rochelle, and I'm firmly behind them.

    I used to think god made people perfectly, and how dare they question their gender? till I started thinking aboout people born with disabilities. Was that perfect? And would I begrudge them surgeries that would correct their disabilities?

    Livivng in love and acceptance is so much better than living in hatred and judgement!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Surprisingly, another thing that changed my views was the preachers that are very vocal about their hatred of gays. Even when I was still in the place where I agreed with most of what they were saying, their hatred and condemnation made me so uncomfortable.

    I lived for a time in a house split into 3 apartments, and my 2 neighbors were gay men. I just couldn't see throwing them under the bus, and blaming them for America's problems they way televangelists did so enthusiastically.

    The televangelists caricaturized (sp?) the feelings I had, and helped me see myself and my attitudes in a new light. I'd be willing to bet that's NOT what they were trying to do!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have so many amazing LGBTQA people that I am blessed to call my friends. My sister Kerri (Bi), Matt, Sarah, Karen, Susan, Dave, Ian, Dawn, Fabrizio, Jessica, Jenn, Jordan.....

    ReplyDelete
  13. My cousin Brad, a friend from the mom's group named Christian (no lie), two former co-workers named Vicky and Brandon who ironically were almost the only ones I could get along with...

    ReplyDelete
  14. A dear friend and former colleague named Mike, a not-so dear colleague who shall remain nameless, and other assorted L or G aquaintances who happened to be teachers. Proved the point that gay and peadophile are not the same thing, btw. Plus my not-so-dear colleague proved gay men are not necessarily effeminate- broke a lot of female hearts when they found out he wasn't interested lol. An interesting bit of pop culture on the issue of stereotypes that I found fascinating (and fun) was "Gay, Straight, or Single"...and to conclude, everyone, feel free to bombard Westboro Baptist Church's email or postal addresses with chapter 2 of Romans.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was a church musician and in big cities you find that many of the male organists are gay. Does it affect their playing, no. Does it affect their relationship with their choirs? No. Does it change my perception of them? No.

    My daughters best friend is gay. She's been like a second daughter to us since high school.

    The gay people I know make me glad to know that I am their friend.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The first LBGT friend I made was a transgendered Native American shaman. We met online and he had a bigger impact on my life than I can even begin to describe. He was a HUGE part of the transformation of my faith, though it took a long time to happen. Which reminds me, I haven't updated him on that story in ages. Time to take up contact again I guess :-).

    ReplyDelete
  17. just one? one of my dear friends who i did bible quizzing with, jared... one of my ex-ati friends, matthew... my co-worker layal. matthew has been the main one who shaped my views because he was my first "gay friend", and because we came from such similar backgrounds... it was a big deal too, that we were in ATI together and taught/met at a CI. i went from asking him if he really felt he was a christian even though he was gay, to telling him i don't think i'm a christian anymore...

    ReplyDelete
  18. One dear friend from high school was questioning, several friends from college are gay or bi, and my cousin is also gay.

    I admit with a couple of them I was surprised, but that was because I thought of them as asexual, not having an orientation. In terms of acceptance, I believe it came from some of the fan communities I belonged to which had a penchant for pairing up characters of the same sex.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Liberated LiberalMay 13, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    The big ones, but by no means all-inclusive:

    First: My cousin. He committed suicide because he developed severe emotional/mental problems trying to hide and change his sexuality within our Catholic family and his Italian culture. His death devastated the family and forever changed the family's views on homosexuality.

    Second: A good friend who converted to Catholicism as a teenager and tried to be the best person he could be while trying desperately to ignore his homosexuality. He hated himself. When he finally let go and came out, his family decided to hate him instead.

    Third: My aunt. Divorced her husband after 20 years and has been in a relationship for nearly 15 with a woman. We all unanimously realized that it now all made perfect sense :). She tried to hide it for so long, but we all knew anyway, and, NOBODY CARED. Except her partner's bigoted, religious children who claim that Seattle was pummeled by a devastating ice storm because Washington legalized gay marriage AND that the only reason bad things happen to people is because of homosexuality. They spend their time equally insulting my dear aunt and milking their mother for money.

    These encounters shaped my view of the church and homosexuality at a young age. I realized quickly that these people I knew as gay were GOOD people, dear friends and desperately loved family members. It was also OBVIOUS that none of these individuals WANTED to be gay. Since I witnessed horrific struggles with their identities as well as traumatic abuse they endured from family and friends, I could never believe homosexuality was a choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your cousin. I myself have cried thinking of all the suicides my religion has influenced. I am truly, truly sorry.

      Delete
    2. Liberated LiberalMay 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      shadowspring,

      Thank you so much. I myself was so young when it happened that it wasn't as traumatic to me personally as it was to the rest of the family. But they, unfortunately, had to deal with this horrific loss at the same time they had to deal with their own role in its causes. I think my family went through the same transition you did - realizing that their beliefs must have a major flaw to cause this kind of suffering.

      Your compassion is so needed in this world!!

      Delete
  20. I can't name her, she's family, and the rest of the family doesn't know because they are not accepting. My husband and I are all she has family wise. While our views may have softened some, we never were unaccepting of her, which is why she came to us in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Paula G V aka YukimiMay 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    One of the first LGBTQIA people I met was lesbian girl I met on the first day on high school. I was already accepting of gay people but she was so brass telling me, a girl who she had just met, that she thought the woman doing the orientation was super cute without any thought about backslash or people's opinions when at that time I'd been badly bullied for just being slightly different (glasses, ...). It was a very good positive impression.

    Some time after that I realised a bout myself that I was attracted to girls too but by then I was already on a committed monogamous relationship with my first boyfriend with whom I'm still going out almost 10 years later. So I guess the first non-heteronormative person I met was me but I didn't discover it 'till quite late... I'm also not the most gender-conformant gal out there but I'm confortable simply on the tomboy area (when I was a lid 'though I used to say I wanted to be a boy).

    ReplyDelete
  22. Willow Rosenberg.

    And yes, I know she's fictional. But she still counts.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My brother.
    Did I mention we're best friends?
    He has chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle and have relationships with other men. It's evil, and God hates it. Jesus Christ died to save him from this lust. He wasn't 'born this way', he can 'not help it' and there IS 'hope for the future'.
    This may seem radical, but that's what Christianity is. If it makes you feel any better I also believe the following things are evil and God hates them; gluttony, gossip, bitterness, lying, stealing, heterosexual relations outside of marriage and basically --- all sin.
    Sin creates a barrier between us and God and breaks our fellowship with him.
    Now-- as must as God hates the sin, He could not love the sinner more. His desire is to have fellowship and a personal relationship with each soul that He created. His love does not end for any of His children based upon anything that they could do or say.
    I love my brother just as much as before he 'came out', and still have the ame level of contact and interaction with him as when he lived in a heterosexual lifestyle. I do not shun or detest anyone in the LGBTQA lifestyle, they are each precious souls. I have multiple friends and members of my family who live homosexual or transgender lifestyles. This has never hindered our relationships/friendships.
    I love them, and it is because of this love that I look forward to the day when they are healed and delivered from the sin they currently believe has such life-altering control over them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Now-- as must as God hates the sin, He could not love the sinner more."

    That is a lie. For two reasons.

    1. The god of the Bible requires death for sin. With homosexuality, he even explicitly requires it. He created hell for sinners according to your holy book. He does not love the sinner. He hates the sinner. He has no room for anything evil. God wants a homosexual dead before he/she is reconciled to him. Worse yet, he also wants kids that give parents the evil eye dead as well. Stoned. Skulls crushed until they suffocate. He desires pregnant women to have their bellies ripped open because he promised their rightfully owned land to others. He even hates those that don't give a crap about him enough to completely obliterate them from the earth. That is the god you worship.

    2. That statement is simply a way for you to keep believing what you believe so you don't have to think about changing your ways. It's a cop-out.

    Your brother can see the difference. He may not admit it, but it hurts him. Stop lying to yourself and accept him for who he is. And stop with the pretzelified theology to "pretend" that you love people.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 1. The God of the Bible does require death for sin. This is why His son died. Because it was the will of God that none should perish because of their sin- so His son paid the ultimate sacrifice to bridge the gap between God and man.
    2. This is what I believe. God loves you. He hates your sin. He is a just and loving God who cannot overlook this sin, so His son died to fulfill the requirement of death for sin. A cop-out??
    I do genuinely love people. Part of this love is a desire for them to experience what I have experienced- the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in my life. I'm far from perfect and each day I strive to be the love that He is, to all those around me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is that your god created this video game. He created man, knew they would sin, so created hell and the part where his son had to die. Your religion is based completely on bloodshed. Think about it hard for a few minutes and you'll realize the sickness of it all. I want no part of a supreme being who gets his jollies off killing people for not following the rules.

      Delete
    2. And, by the way, I know as much about god as you do. We get it from the same place. Thus, you can't tell me my direct interpretations of the bible are incorrect. You, on the other hand, HAVE to jump through pretzels to get to the conclusion that god's sick love is real.

      Delete
  26. I won't name my friend here because I don't know if his family ever knew, but a close college friend of mine committed suicide most likely because of the differences between his Catholic faith and his sexuality.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My cousin "T". And though I still do not agree with him on the issue, his sweetness and kindness in every situation have influenced my thoughts. I must admit that I'm searching right now for what exactly I do believe, having been raised in a fundamentalist environment. But knowing someone, especially one like him, is definitely a factor in my search.

    ReplyDelete
  28. My very first boyfriend, my first love, my first EVERYTHING, came out of the closet a couple years after we broke up. He went on to become a transexual and moved to the west coast. She came back home a few years later and was killed in a car accident in Feb 2007. Every time I stand up for the rights of gays I do it for her. RIP Anna...

    ReplyDelete
  29. The youngest brother of one of my friends in high school. The daughter of My best friend (and a close friend herself) . A friend in a Star Trek club who once helped me fix my VCR and wouldn't accept so much as a beer for his trouble. A fellow SCAdian who has always shown chivalry to everyone. I could keep on listing but these are the most important and closest to me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have a sib who is gay, another bi. One of dad's best friends, a lesbian so attractive that men & women would turn to look at her in the street. My DH's best friend in high school (and beyond) was an MtF trans. I am quite close to a fellow mom in my subdivision who is an MtF. There is also an FtM in our subdivision, whom I cannot stand (almost no one can), but it has nothing to do w. his gender identity; it has to do with the fact that he is a nasty, rude, hot mess of a person. (I'm not saying those issues may not have developed out of his gender dysphoria, but you can only take so much abuse before the "understanding" tap quits flowing & the "avoidance" one turns on) And I helped a gay couple I was close to have three biological daughters who carry my dna :) No, my husband did not mind; indeed he was happy to help.

    I wish I could say these folks "opened my eyes" to issues or something. A bit of that, yes, but mostly...they're just people I know. When I first met my DH's MtF friend, I did wonder why *anyone* would willingly give up the *privilege* of being male (I was a little angry in those days) but he just laughed, saying that if what he'd had was privilege he didn't miss it. I guess what I'm saying is, we're just human, full stop, and we all need the same rights, wherever we are on the journey. Maybe that's stupid, or blind, I don't know; but to me, what makes a friend, or even a good neighbour...I don't care about your plumbing, or who you plumb. I only care that you're cool. I think I learned all this watching films starring Keanu Reeves. Whoa....

    ReplyDelete