You sit straight up in your pew, white shirt pressed artificially hiding all of your stains amen'ing to each time the pastor publicly condemns me.
Homosexuals, unnatural, abomination.
You nod your head after each sentence, blindly stamping me a first class ticket into exile. "It's a choice, you have to be celibate, I don't agree with your lifestyle."
Your judgments are made long before the words "I'm queer" roll off my tongue. And why wouldn't they be? After all, with this topic you've placed yourself on God's throne, making decisions on the holy spirit's behalf, deeming me unclean.
"You haven't prayed hard enough, you are not a Christian, you aren't close enough with God."
And just like that my relationship with Christ becomes an unwanted threesome. It's me, Christ, and any hetero Christian with bible in their hands ready to be the first to cast the stone.
This "controversial" topic is a new frontier for you and you're refusing to charter new territories.
You believe that your foundation is solid, you speak at me instead of with me, you refuse to listen.
Just listen to my story.
You spew out hate-coated words with a silver-quick tongue.
With your hands covering your eyes, you blame me for tragedies and why not? I am the easy target.
With your feet on my back, you trample me to the ground in your battle march against my innate sexuality.
"It's just a phase. You're a sinner. God hates fags. "
So quick to judge, unwilling to listen.
But, where were you?
Where were you when I was 6 years old during my first crush of a boy? The very first time I knew something was different with me?
Where were you when the hands of your children left marks on my body as their developing silver-quick tongues spewed out bigotry? With words stinging like hornets they called me the very words you heard on your pulpit: "homosexual, gay, faggot."
Where were you in my early teen years as I contemplated suicide for the very first time? After years of taunts and bullying in the name of the Lord, my psyche broke and I was left alone to the darkness of insanity.
Where were you as I cried out, counting every heart beat, waiting for God to strike me dead for my sexuality?
Where were you when my parents held my hand at night, as I lay, tears running down my face, reading bible verses to console me?
Where were you when pastors disowned me, church members whispered behind my back in contempt, my family was outcast, and I -- deemed no longer fit to live in my Christian community?
Where were you the countless nights I pleaded with God to bargain with me, to take away this burden from me so I could be whole again and accepted by my Christian family?
Where were you in all of the countless LGBT Christians' lives as we've had this conversation with our Lord and Savior spanning lifetimes, fervently scouring bible passages, intimately praying with our Father?
Where were you?
You simply weren't there. In fact, you've never been there.
You've read six Bible verses, listened to a 45-minute sermon and have deemed yourself well-versed on the multifaceted subject of homosexuality. How quickly you have become an expert on the lives of thousands. An expert on my life.
You've stamped and signed your own Ph.D. in Ignorance as you speak on every social media post, in every conversation, on every news article as if you've walked in my shoes.
Not wanting to converse, just wanting your voice to be heard.
But you see, this isn't a theoretical subject. I'm not a test subject. My life is not subject to your condemnations.
You may turn your head and pretend this doesn't exist, but this is my reality.
All those real fists and bruises that you didn't see, God was watching and consoling me.
He was there next to me as I lay crying at night, brushing away my tears as if parting my own red sea.
He was there through the darkness, guiding me with His ever-steady hand.
For every pastor, church member, friend, or family member to ever disown me: God was there to take their place.
Listening, He looked me in the face as I cried to him for a chance at heterosexuality only to respond, "My son, Nothing is wrong with you."
And it is through this persecution from my Christian family that I have found Christ. Found all of his merciful love in my sexuality.
My bisexuality has brought me closer to God than anything else and it is through your absence that I have relied solely on Him.
So, the next time you attempt to speak on His behalf, know that I'm talking to him daily... and ask yourself -- where were you?
Follow Eliel Cruz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/elielcruz