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Monthly Archives: February 2013

My First “Gay” Event

This past week was my very first all-out “gay” event.  Together with my boyfriend, I attended the One N 10 Fresh Brunch at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.  This was a huge step for me as I have only been living authentic for less than a year in public.

Just a short intro to what One N Ten is.  My favorite part is that they have a suicide prevention program.

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One n ten is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. We provide youth with tools to improve self esteem and acceptance of who they are.

The youth we work with range in age from 14 to 24. We create a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Our weekly discussion groups cover a wide range of social, educational, health, and community issues. Youth with particular needs have the option to speak with peers or volunteers one-on-one, in a supervised setting. We offer resources for healthy living and making healthy choices, as well as social networking opportunities appropriate for developing leadership skills and having fun.

We are committed to working in collaboration with other valley and national organizations that help teens including, homeless shelters, suicide prevention crisis lines (some by teens for teens), Youth at Risk, Concilio Latino de Salud, Teen Lifeline, Peer Solutions, Gay/Straight Alliances, GLSEN, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and the Native American Community Health Center.

I was very scared to attend this event for multiple reasons.  1. I was a bit afraid to meet for the first time a friend of mine who is transgender.  2. I would be surrounded by people who, in my past, I had cast judgment and disgust upon.  3.  I would be now included and numbered with “those people.”

1.  I met my friend within minutes of arriving.  Truth be told, I was more comfortable with them now than I was before the transition.  It was beautiful and rewarding.

2.  It helped me to heal from my guilt and shame to be there to financially and symbolically support my new chosen family.  Mothers were there with daughters, fathers were there with sons, boyfriends were there with boyfriends, girlfriends were there with girlfriends, husbands with wives, boyfriends with girlfriends… on and on.   I was a bit nervous but never felt any sort of rejection.  Straight and Gay alike, We were all there to support the LGBTQ youth of our beloved City of Phoenix.

3. I was honored to be numbered and included.  Something I never achieved in my “straight” life.

Knowing that there is an organization that has created a safe place for teens to be themselves is comforting.  Something that I now wish that I had when I was a teen.  There is so much that I would and can say.  I will however allow this post to be simply about the organization.  I look forward to serving with the leadership of this organization in the near future.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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Why did you “Un-Friend” Me?

Friends madSomeone sent me an e-mail through Facebook this week with that question.  At cursory thought, I wanted to get on my high horse and tell them exactly why I “un-friended” them.  To be honest, I was offended and I wanted to tell them so.  Just as I was about to legitimately justify myself, my phone alerted me that Iyanla VanZant had just updated her post on Facebook.  I read the post and here is what I read, “We all have the right to make mistakes. Our fault is being righteous about it. When we fail to admit our faults, the faults become what everyone can see.”  Hmmmmm… God, for real.  You’re gonna speak this to me right now?  Honest?   c’mon.  Cut me some slack.  Nope.  Not a chance.  This was for me.

So to answer the question of why I “un-friended” you.  I’m not fully sure, but I made a mistake.  I posted a blog just before this one where I stated that I was not going to “tolerate” those who did not support me in being an authentic gay Christian man.  I further stated that If I felt like you were not supporting me that I would remove you from my friends list on Facebook.  Well… I went through my friends list and did just that.  I removed several people who either never communicate with me through this venue or that I felt was a “threat” to my authentic self.  I felt that this person fell into that category.  I believed that they stood in judgment of me, and maybe I was correct in that thought.  

I had recently posted a picture of myself with my boyfriend on Facebook (and yes… It is as awkward for me to type or say the word boyfriend as it is for you to read or hear it.) and this person made what I considered a derogatory comment about the photo.  It took me off guard that one would have the nerve to post that onto my wall.  So I “un-friended” you.

You see… I reacted exactly how I felt that they reacted.  I WAS WRONG.  …there, I said it.  Here it is a second time, W – R – O – N – G!  Do not get used to hearing that from me.  It doesn’t happen that often…  🙂

Here is my dilemma.  Most people who respond negatively to me (about being a gay Christian) in some form or fashion are the Christian, Mormon, “Non-Denominational”, Catholic, Republican and/or Conservative groups.  To date, I still identify with that group and culture to some extent.  I worship God, I am born-again, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and all those things that we connect with “religion.”  However, I am gay.  I have no romantic attraction to the female sex.  It’s not a choice like the above group believes.  If you believe that this is a choice, then you “choose” to become attracted to your same-sex.  Go ahead try it…  You can’t do it.  If I can “choose” to be gay, then surely you can “choose” to as well.  I would much rather be heterosexual and be deemed “normal.”  This is not the best spot to be in when you identify as a Christ follower.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked.

Wrong and rightMost Christ followers believe that there is ONE way to worship God.  ONE interpretation of the scripture and ONE way to be deemed “normal” or “christian.”  When you fall short of that ONE way, you are looked upon as “Jack”, “Back-slidden” and all the other names that I once subscribed to if a follower did not measure up to me and my belief system.  Most Christ followers can tell you “what the Bible says” on almost any subject except for what they themselves struggle with.  Then they can quote scripture after scripture of how “they” are either forgiven or exempt.  I know… I did the same exact thing for most of my life.

I know that I have multitudes of prayers from the Christ followers who want God to “show me the way” and to “clear my mind from the confusion” that Satan himself has forced upon me.  In their eyes and ONE belief system I am “jack” or “back-slidden.”  While I appreciate the prayers, I would rather they direct them to the thousands of Christians who live in shame, sadness, depression and guilt because God created them “differently” than the ONE true way.  I was at an extremely large gathering of Pentecostal ministers a couple of years ago (before I began to live authentic) and I was winked at, approached, touched (not sexually) and followed (with their eyes) by several MEN that I know love God and practice Christianity.  These men were gay, and it made me sad that they are likely in a relationship and profession in which they are truly miserable and defeated.  I know I was one of them.  We can see it in each others eyes.  We have a common bond.  Pray for these men.  Pray that they do not harm themselves.  They are in a very tough spot.

What about those scriptures of living happy, healthy, victorious and fruitful.  What about giving and receiving love.  Does your ONE interpretation of the scriptures only allow those scriptures to apply to heterosexuals or were those scriptures written for EVERYONE? Seems like a simple question, but obviously we struggle with the proper answer which is, YES!  All scripture was written for ALL people.  That means me.  I’m not exempt because I’m gay,  you are not exempt because you are straight, black, Asian,  Mexican  married, single, divorced, widowed, disabled or any of the such singularly or combined.

Wow…  how did I get off on that tangent?  Actually it’s not a tangent at all.  I was using that as a path to arrive at the crux of this blog posting.  Being happy.  As a closeted gay christian man, I was defeated, sad, depressed, suicidal and all the other horrible emotions that come with hiding and keeping secrets.  I wanted to be happy, joyful and all those things that the scriptures claim that I can be when I love and follow Christ.  I did not find any of that until I accepted that God had allowed me to be gay.

So why was I so upset about the comment on Facebook regarding the photo of me and my boyfriend?  Because it took so much courage for me to post that photo and I was so happy with him.  I didn’t feel awkward or weird with him.  I  had experienced the joy that the scriptures had promised me.  When the comment, “this makes me so sad” was posted on my wall about a photo that made me so happy, I reacted.  If you can’t see things my way, then I don’t need you.  Again, I did exactly what I accused the other person of doing. I reacted negatively to their belief system however flawed I believe that it is.

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Let’s start talking our talk and walking our walk.  If we believe that GOD IS LOVE, and that “we should love our neighbor as ourself,” then let’s behave like it.  We will never agree fully.  So there is your answer, I “un-friended” you because you didn’t believe the ONE way that I believed.  I made a mistake,  I own that mistake and I commit to dialogue with you as often as you like.  I will not attempt to change your belief system and I assure you that you will not change mine.  We will both evolve in our faith at a pace that is right for each of us respectively.  I commit to love and respect you for who you are as a Christ follower even if at times you do not believe that I share your same faith.  Lets agree that we both have faith.  How we work out our faith will be an individual journey.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Journey to Authenticity, Uncategorized

 

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