And Now For Something Deeply Personal (A Companion Piece)

This will be disjointed.

So yesterday my brother posted a blog post about his thoughts on the bible and homosexuality.  It’s a good post (although I admit I skipped over some of the actual bible verses!).  In it he talks about being 28 and having someone very close to him come out to him.

That would be me. I was 19. I had just come out to *myself* a few months before.

He’s not wrong, he was the first person I told (besides my soon to be girlfriend) and I was terrified. But see, telling him first was strategic on multiple levels.  1) I knew I could trust him. 2) I knew he had multiple gay friends, therefore he was a safe bet.  He would not have a problem with it, and would have my back when/if my mother ever found out.  Not that I ever planned to tell her.  At the time I was convinced she would die never knowing (ask me how long that lasted).

You see, my mother had made it clear to me on multiple occasions that being gay was not ok. I didn’t get why, but I certainly got the message.  It was the only thing I could think of when I discovered I was gay.I didn’t know what to do, once I figured it out.  I was in love and there was literally no one I could talk to about it. It ate at me for months.

I am not by any means a religious person.  I’d consider myself agnostic at best, vaguely spiritual.  I believe in something greater than humanity, something better to strive for, but I wouldn’t say I worshipped it.

Despite this, I would bargain with god at night as I lay in my residence room, crying myself to sleep.  “If my being gay is ok with you, let her [the girl I had a thing for] love me back.  Then I’ll know.” Weeks of this happened. I know that’s not how prayer or god works, but I didn’t care at the time.  I needed something, someone to talk to, so I talked to god.

And it turns out she did love me back. I had never felt so blessed in my life.

It wasn’t easy.  I came out to my mom and sisters a few months later at Christmas (that was fun) and I was right, my brother totally had my back.

But then things changed.  My brother turned to the religious life.  It was seemingly overnight for me, though I’m sure it wasn’t for him.  But suddenly he didn’t have my back anymore.  Suddenly being gay was a sin. I did not like that particular opinion, not from him.  Anyone else, ok, but not from my brother. It hurt more than I can describe, but it also angered me with a righteous anger I think only a 20-something can truly feel.

How could loving someone be a sin? How was that even *possible*. Of course then there was the whole “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin” crap.  It wasn’t me that was wrong, it was the act of gay sex or something. That did not make me feel any better.  I honestly felt betrayed by my brother and we soon settled into a comfortable Let’s Not Talk About This With Each Other.  Life went on.

He never judged me or treated me any differently.  Well, not for the most part. At one point I asked him if I ever got married would he come to the ceremony?  He said he would, but, he was a minister at this point, he could not officiate. I was actually pleasantly surprised that he even said he would attend, at that point.  His officiating had never occurred to me.

It’s been almost 20 years since I came out and certainly many years since that conversation.  As I said, we didn’t talk about it much, except on the rare occasion (Me: “Have you watched Brokeback Mountain yet?”  Him: “Have you watched The Passion of the Christ yet?”  Touché. ).  So I was surprised when I got a facebook message from him a few months ago apologizing for any time his faith may have hurt me, and saying he would gladly officiate my wedding if I ever got married.

I don’t know what his journey to this point has been like.  I can imagine it’s been an intensely personal, ever-shifting, often confusing one like my own was. But I’m glad we are where we are, even if we took the scenic route to get here.