I don’t ever recall becoming aware of what being gay or lesbian meant. I was a child in the 90’s, I don’t think it was something people exactly talked about, especially with the AIDS epidemic getting a stronghold back then. I’m not gay, so being aware of it all or even knowing what it meant wasn’t something that was even on my radar. I don’t even remember being told what being gay meant; did the person who told me sit down and say, “There are some men who want to be with men like men want to be with women?” It’s a strange thing to think about because it’s only recently that people are starting to talk about being gay/lesbian more freely and openly. It seems like I grew up and just knew, because how else did I learn about it?
The first time I knew about someone being in the gay community was when I was in my 9th grade year. A friend of mine at the time turned to me one day at the beginning of the year and told me that she met a girl in one of her classes, that they realized they were in love with each and she was in fact, bi-sexual. I can’t remember my reaction, but I remember shrugging and sort of smiling and saying “Really? Okay.”
I wish I had a bigger reaction to it one way or another, but I didn’t. It was just something I didn’t know how to react to, because how do you react to something that nobody mentions let alone talk to you about? I didn’t have enough experience with the whole LGTB community in my small Midwest hometown.
Throughout high school, there was one or two people that I suspected were gay, mostly in the theatre group, but again, it was something nobody mentioned, because why would you? Knowing the big picture now, it seemed like the right thing that people did. People knew, but they pretended they didn’t because if you made a point of mentioning it, then people were obligated to take sides and who wanted to do that sort of thing?
In college, I met a few people who were gay and lesbian. I even met an openly transgender person in the throws of transitioning. Her idea was to allow more people to see who the transgender people were and to be more accepting of their journey. They all seemed to be genuinely nice people and I have a hard time seeing them at the butt of so much hate and cruelty.
It’s a wonder that I don’t give much thought to where I stand in regards to this issue. I care enough to want people to be able to feel safe in who they are. In America, we hold ideals about allowing diversity within our borders and being accepting to everybody who lives and believes differently to us. We don’t always act like that, though, and some would say we’re deteriorating faster than usual.
I cannot account for anyone but myself. I consider myself to be a person of faith. I don’t know what it says about being gay, because I didn’t read that part in the Bible that so many people have quoted when asked why they’re against gay marriage. I do know, though, that the Bible tells me to love my neighbor as myself. It also tells me that a man stands or falls before his God, not before other people. This is enough to tell me that God wants me to love and accept everybody even if they live and believe differently than I do. It’s God’s job to judge people, it’s between each individual and God on what they need to answer to when they die. I’m not allowed to have that power.
So, in the end, I can only give you this as my answer. People need to be people and I need to love them in all their perfections and imperfections. That’s all that is required of me. That’s all the God of my understanding has asked of me and He will do the rest, whatever that might be.