I have always had a difficult time finding out where I stand concerning the various spectrums of today's society. Growing up gay; being "born again" in my teens and a strong Christian; having a mixed family; being faced with the potential struggles and choices associated with family; alcoholism and much, much more; I have reinvented my cognitive processes in which "side" I desire to fall. After all, I've always wanted to be absolutely, 100 percent spot-on. Will this be the right choice for me, the family, friends, society, God? The truth is, maturity, hardships, self-reflection and continued efforts to grow have made me realize that "black and white thinking" isn't where the "right" verdict lies; the resolution for each of us if often discovered somewhere in-between.
This entry will probably elicit anger from all around, but I am not going to let that hold my writing and expression of opinion back.
In recent conversations with friends -- some gay and straight, some liberal and some conservative, and some who are halfway -- about what we are "supposed" to believe and what we are "not" depending on the marker you're given or the heading you have come to accept. No matter what I or anyone else say or don't say, believe or don't believe, support or don't support -- even if no decree is reached instantly, someone will question or be unhappy.
Of late, I broke down while praying to God about how difficult it is to find yourself at such odds with those closest to you. The current political conversations surrounding gay marriage, bullying, and the very essence of our nation beg a perplexing question: "Where do we go from here?"
As a conservative Christian, "straight-acting" (again, I hate labels) gay man, it's often hard for friends to wrap their minds around how I can hold, embrace or understand certain assessments and still be supportive of so many portions of society. To my Christian friends, I am, for the most part, still welcomed and loved for the person that I am; although, my "actions," to them, are not what are in God's best interest. To other friends who identify as LGBT or otherwise, some cannot fathom embracing something (my faith) as strongly as I do when we've seen instances of how harmful misinterpretation of scripture can be.
After being honest about my sexuality, I thought I had broken a few of the chains holding me back from really connecting with the world; and for the most part, it has been a great experience. Although, I've found I started to try to "fit" a mold, theory or caricature I immediately was assumed to be.
In not being able to fully embrace Democrat or Moderate views, or hold the interpretations of nearly 100 percent of my gay friends and cohorts, it tends to make them question whether or not I am "playing both sides" or if I'm a hypocrite, or that I haven't fully come to terms with my authentic self. This is my authentic self; those who are close to you and don't agree can help mold and foster the understanding of your world better than you could on your own. I am no hypocrite; I'm simply going with what our "community" has wanted all along, "Living as you wish and believing what you believe."
My sister spoke with me a while back regarding an anonymous attack on one of my publications. I had to laugh when my new title was a "militant gay activist." She explained to me, "To do something worthwhile, you're going to make people uncomfortable." I guess I never realized that by sharing my story I was militant in any way, but I digress. I took her words to heart and have realized that I, nor anyone else, owe anyone, anything, for voicing their opinions or telling their story as they see it.
A short (very short) synopsis of my personal opinions. Here's the gist: I believe that various faiths shouldn't have to change the views they've held for thousands of years; leave the decision to change to individual churches and/or organizations. I believe that gay marriage should be kept to the states and the federal government should not interfere because change is coming faster than we think. I believe that LGBT youth must be taken care of in every environment they enter, and I will firmly stand and say that whether a religion, faith, community or otherwise disagrees with someone's personal life, you still have an obligation to respect that person as a human being.
To the LGBT community, to the Christian community and to everyone else out there, how far you go in life depends on your caring attitude; being empathetic with those you do not know, understanding with an opponent and open-minded when those closest to you don't agree. When we try and process each of these for a second, we all have actually been or will be in each of these in our lives.
As readers, where do you stand? Where does this conversation need to go next? What voice do you have?