No one would ever choose to be hated, teased, abandoned, or treated differently; and no one would choose to be gay, to have cancer, or inherit a parent's negative reputation. One question that has me perplexed is that when the same individual seeks acceptance and wants what everyone else already has -- to be considered "normal," why would it be assumed that he/she "chooses" the notion of being trapped in a world of have to's and supposed to's?
Imagine trying to find homeostasis when receiving criticism from the Christian community, from your very own conscience, and, yes, even the LGBT community while embracing conservative values, Christian faith and being an openly identified LGBT individual. Yes, coming out was difficult. Yes, trying to "change" for my faith was hard. Although, I now embrace both, yet, the toughest part of my life now, (and, I'm sure others) is criticism from every angle.
Persons from every corner are astonished when I explain my conservative Christian opinions and my viewpoints as an individual of the LGBT community -- after all, aren't they all mutually exclusive?
It seems that even though others, like myself, who've finally been able to be open, wanting to enjoy acceptance from their peers and society, are often fed criticism when their opinions and feelings aren't a perfect reflection of the majority. Isn't the general accord that we are to be ourselves, create ourselves, and look past what or who we "should" or "shouldn't" be?
Many of my LGBT friends become angry when I say it doesn't bother me when someone takes me at face value but disagrees with some aspects of my life, and I don't consider it to be hateful. I mean, I can't control how they feel and their views are their responsibility; I can only react. I've been told I'm somehow working against myself, the LGBT cause or that I'm merely a "curtain for hate and oppression." Listen; there is tremendous irony in the notion that individualism and personal freedom are what the left stands for, yet, on the topic of valuing both sides of the isle or embracing something different, the hammer definitely comes down.
So, how can one be Christian, conservative and gay? Although many see conservatives as one-dimensional, narrow-minded individuals, and LGBT are somehow responsible for the overall moral decline of society, I know there's room for diversity of opinion on the middle, center, and right. Recent debates infuriated me to the point of writing this article. No, I am not trying to get attention by saying I possess conservative views or that I fully embrace my Christian faith as a gay man. I wasn't raised with any doctrine crammed down my throat, but I find my values and faith are inherently something I will never let go of. I'm merely trying to strive for equality for both the Christian and LGBT communities in a different manner than the status quo.
"Gay" isn't what defines me, it never has. But I, and others, are made of our qualities and characteristics, and one quality is being gay -- I embrace each one of them, and enjoy what they have brought to my life. By no means do I consider myself liberal, but this almost seems like common sense given the label. Look, to deny fair treatment to members of the LGBT community (in North Dakota, housing, work, etc.) is like punishing someone for having brown eyes, which is beyond anyone's control.
I do, however, strongly believe the federal government should have as little an influence in my life as possible. Sure, there are specific cases and times where intervention is necessary, but the men and women of this country are more than capable of running their lives effectively on their own. Gay marriage, in my opinion, should be legal -- in time. I can honestly say that for a long period in my life I didn't endorse it period. But having seen the successful relationships of my friends and my own, I now believe otherwise.
The movement itself is growing, and state-by-state, breakthroughs are happening and will ultimately morph into a domino effect. States and those who inhabit them must decide on the issues and not by federal intervention. Sure, people will say that it isn't happening fast enough; but, after all, President Eisenhower was a prime example in that he was not successful in getting sweeping reforms. Rather, he built a sturdy foundation upon which more comprehensive changes could occur. Education, and slow, positive progress concludes much more positively than that of an overwhelming, large and hasty free-for-all.
We must stop being so divisive on the issues. Serious ideological differences do exist, but in situations like equality, espousing hate because of differing roads to progress is senseless. Whenever you can, stand for common ground, not constant discord. In the end it comes down to a simple fact. If we cannot compromise and protect those most vulnerable, no matter where they stand, we have zero chance of making any progress towards our goal. How can we ask those we've passed in our lives to continue the fight when we won't attempt to look back to make sure they are okay? You see, we can't educate and win a battle if there aren't any survivors.