These past few months have easily been one of the most challenging times in my life. Which feels weird to say, but it’s true. The short of it is that I was asked to step down from a position due to the suspicion that I am a raging lesbian (I guess the bow ties finally gave it away). It was a hurtful process involving those I thought that I could trust. But sometimes politics win and on a conservative Christian campus, my gayness will always lose. I’ve tried to act with as much love and grace as I can muster, but when the “struggle” word gets tossed my direction I want to throw the following words back.
I am in my late twenties and for a very large portion of my existence on this earth I was taught, and believed, that there was something fundamentally wrong with me. A misfiring, a disconnection, a depravity. I lived in the deepest recesses of shame; made my home in the most suffocating folds of guilt. Every day I convinced myself that they were right. That this was just a phase that I would pass through once I encountered some perfect fit in the opposite gender. But weeks became months became years and the switch wasn’t being flipped no matter how rug burned my knees were or how many bruises I beat into my chest crying out for a reprieve. They turned my God into a petty tyrant doling out punishment for this “struggle” that I clearly couldn’t trust her/him to take from me. I know all of the scriptures and ten steps and three keys to overcoming and just pray and believe and if you had more faith and I know this person who was delivered from their homosexuality and don’t you know that you can’t be a Christian and live in blatant sin- that’s blasphemy and… there was the mantle I bore dutifully until I had a literal mental break that put me smack dab in the middle of a psych ward where God felt more absent than ever before. And then I found an authentic faith and worked my ass off to become whole and healthy.
So when you use the word “struggle” to communicate that I am lacking in faith and choose to embrace my sexuality because I’ve been brainwashed by the culture at large- I will tell you that my brainwashing was at the hands of a church that profoundly misrepresents the love of God and ignores the reality of the Gospel. My struggle wasn’t with who God made me to be, but with who the church tried to change me into.