(I know this is long, and I’m sorry, but hopefully it’s worth reading. 🙂 )
Okay, everyone, so I got a good chunk of free time tonight, so I’ll be giving you all an update. As I’ve said before, I’m currently in a private Christian university. It’s a university I felt called to attend, even though I knew financially it would be a struggle for my family. Instead of letting that stop me, I took as a sign that this was going to be a journey of faith and I am currently so happy that I never gave up on my dream to attend here. After about three weeks of being here, I am getting along very, very well with the other students, and I would say that I truly feel like an accepted member of this special community. This is very much in contrast with my high school, for which (in spite of my love and affection for that place) I could never shake the feeling that I was an outsider. Here I have made some amazing friendships and I look forward to seeing them grow. I am so happy because I finally – FINALLY – have many friends who are guys. The guys at my high school frustrated me because they always struck me as being very immature and I felt they had very little in common with me. I didn’t mesh with them very well. The guys (and girls) I am friends with here are serious about both academics and God while still being fun to be around. I would guess that, for the first time in my life, my friends are roughly 50% male, 50% female. This is in sharp contrast with high school where I often felt like I had one male friend, and even then I wasn’t always interested in hanging out with him. For me, this has been one of the most significant changes to my life since coming here.
As for being gay, thus far, it’s relatively a non-issue. For the most part, I have come to peace with not being widely out of the closet – yet. I figure that everything must be done in it’s proper time. If there is a time for coming out widely, then I will see about doing it then – but at the moment, I feel that would be an unwise thing to do. There are however a small number of people on campus who know I’m gay, although, thus far this doesn’t seem to have a large effect on my life one way or another interestingly enough. I intend to come out to some of my closer friends at some point in the future – possibly my whole dorm if the circumstances for that seem right – but I want them to get to know me first and I want to bond with them more before I come out. In the past, I would’ve thought that was stupid, because why get close to someone when you know they could reject you as soon as you come out. (That attitude is partly what made high school so miserable for me.) But I’m now seeing things from a new perspective – and my model for this is once again Andrew Marin, homophobe turned advocate. Let me give you an example of how I actually saw this worked out for real.
I basically believe that most people at this school don’t set out to be hurtful. As AVB says often, the enemy is ignorance. The more I’m in this environment, the more I think that’s true. I don’t believe my friends are people who deliberately want to exclude or hurt or judge others. I don’t believe they set out to hurt me when they make homophobic comments. It’s just something that’s done because they aren’t thinking about it and they are unaware of the consequences of their actions. This is so important to remember, because if I had forgotten that, if I had said “people who make homophobic comments are hopeless cases, just give up on them as friends forever”, I never would’ve come out to my RA (the leader of our whole dorm, in case you don’t know what that is).
Since arriving at school, I had heard many people make homophobic comments – my RA was among the worst offenders. This disappointed me. I even told a friend I was out to that I didn’t like my RA anymore because of it. However, the more I spent time with him, the more I noticed something. He had the most loving eyes. I can’t explain it, but every time he looked at me, he did it with such love. As I continued to spend time with him, I realized that I had taken his comments and gotten offended over them. I had taken it as though he had personally hurt me. However, that was in direct contradiction to the love that I saw flowing from him in other ways. And then it clicked – there is no way my RA is doing this on purpose. There is no way my RA would ever set out to intentionally harm me. Initially, I had felt I would only come out to my RA at the end of the semester, but after my revelation, I knew that I had to come out to him sooner. It was only a couple of days before I would do just that.
And so there I was, sitting in his room, him waiting for me to say what it was that I wanted to say to him. I thought it would be easy – I was dead wrong. I couldn’t make the words leave my mouth, I trembled, I cried, I froze. Suddenly, this didn’t seem like a good idea anymore. I wanted to leave. My RA never forced me to stay. All he did was encourage me, pray for me, sit there while I trembled like a fool, said there was nothing more important to him than waiting for me to finally say what I had to say. How could I leave? How could I, somebody who’s been wanting to be out his whole life, turn down the opportunity to do so with a guy as ideal as this?
So I did it. I finally told him my whole life story, everything I could remember. As the words poured out, it became easier and easier to speak, and soon I felt like I could reveal anything I wanted to him. I waited apprehensively for his response. I didn’t know how he’d feel – one of the reasons why I was so nervous at first. But I need not have worried about him. He was fantastic. In my mind, what he said to me, was actually the IDEAL response a conservative Christian could give to somebody who comes out them – and the amazing thing is this guy isn’t versed in the literature surrounding homosexuality and Christianity. Apparently, he’s just a really solid guy. In a small way, I am still in awe of his response because it was just so insanely perfect and I’m still trying to comprehend how this guy handled it so well. Let me put some of the basic points down and then I’ll finish up my update.
-stated his belief that homosexual behavior is sinful, but made sure to point out that he didn’t believe homosexual orientation was a sin.
-made it clear that he cared about me and did not think of me as less of a person in anyway because I told him I was gay
-assured me that this would totally be between me and him and nobody else would be told about it
-stated that he wanted to learn more from me and that he didn’t want to argue about it, acknowledged our disagreement, but said that he would always approach our conversations with an attitude of love and peace
-validated and sympathized with my pain, acknowledged that I had been seriously hurt by people in the past
-apologized for the past homophobic comments he made, calling them ‘insensitive’ (I think this is probably the only time I can remember someone apologizing to me for making homophobic comments)
After I explained more about homosexuality and church, he said that he would probably classify himself as a Side B, which is totally cool with me. But at any rate, that’s probably all I should write for now. I can write more, but that would be overkill, wouldn’t it? 🙂 You’ve read enough of me for now. But yes, I hope this update is encouraging for someone out there. Will write more someday soon! Love you all!