I have told my story with words so many times, but never written down like this. I write it like a reporter telling someone else’s story, not mine. So will have stab at it now, as like anyone’s story, sharing it may help, even just one person.
Grew up in a conservative Christian home, Church twice on a Sunday and then a Christian School during the week. From an early age, I simply loved God and wanted to serve him. It was that simple. I had a perfect family with two older brothers and a younger sister and a loving Mum and Dad. Sure my brothers picked on me and I teased my little sister and thought we would always hate each other cause how could you forgive your brother for drawing a moustache on your favourite childhood teddy?
Growing up… life sorta sucked in teenage years like most people, I was the nerd and a little chubby at school and so I wasn’t the most popular and most of all, I had a nagging feeling inside that the interest I had in guys walking down the street wasnt a feeling every fella had. A Current Affair (news program) informed me I was gay, when I was eating peas at the dinner table around 11 years old and everyone else had left the table. They talked about a chemical imbalance. That moment somehow clicked that, I was… that. But God said that was plain wrong and sinful so… how WAS I that?
Many times during the week my day would end with me lying in bed as a teenager, asking God to make me a Christian again as I felt I was never good enough because I had sinful thoughts about a guy that day. Clenching my eyes shut, felt like the desire to change stronger yet I woke up and still liked guys. Damn. Damn may have been a bit of an understatement but hey, I was gonna be damned to hell for this.
I finished High School and my best friend Heather and I hung out a lot. By the time I was 19, we decided we liked each other more than friends and started to date. I cared for her and loved her as a person and I felt this was God’s answer to prayer, he had found a way out for me. Though it didn’t stop the fact if I saw an attractive fella, I couldn’t help but notice. That got me down and I began asking for help from God. I even made a pact with him that if I went and served as a missionary for a while, that he could make me straight. So went to Chile and built a church with a team, I learnt many lessons and amazing ones, but not the ones I hoped for.
On Jan 1st 2005 when I was 20, My mother and I were sitting out on the Veranda at the house I had lived in my whole life. She pulled out a cigarette and started smoking. My Mum doesn’t smoke. She looks over at me and says the most life changing statement and question of my life. “Lloyd, are you Gay, because I am a Lesbian.”. I was in shock and didn’t say anything nor did I admit I was … well.. Gay.
That started about a 6 month period where in that time I went to counseling to get fixed, trying to pray and find the deep issues of why I was this sinful way, Heather came along too, after I told her too and she was supportive, naturally if I was to change as well.
On the 13th of May 2005, a few days after my 21st birthday, Mum walked out on our family, to be with a woman. That naturally shattered me and my family. Betrayed, confused, mad, upset… the list goes on. People have said, wow how cool, your mum is a lesbian. She is still my Mum and she broke our hearts, is the answer I can only give. I also felt betrayed by God. I had been working so hard and all that happened was an example before me (mum had also gone to counseling for change) She chose to accept her feelings and even give up 30 years of a family together to be herself.
So I decided Heather and I had to end even though we had planned to marry, as I couldn’t do that to another person, another future family. I ran away to London and stopped talking to God and other Christians. This was also because most Christian friends told me I was a sinner and going to hell… I felt no love. During the time in London, I was given Anthony Venn Brown’s book, which I read subtly on the tube to work everyday, and day by day I felt understanding, a journey that I could relate to. By the end, I had a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders and I smiled a real smile for the first time in ages. It was OK. I was OK. It was one small step in a better direction. Though connotations of the God of the Bible were drowned in the rejection I had felt from those Christians and Church that simply ruled me out. Unless I denounced these CHOSEN feelings.
I came back home a year later, and also in that time I had emailed Anthony thanking him for writing the book. Never thought I would get a response but I did, and finally met him at his second round of his book launch. I was then introduced to Freedom2be and saw a whole group of people with different but the same stories. It wasn’t a cringe factor bible study, but just a place to be… you. No agenda or pressure, you could just sit there and feel like you were in a place where there was light. Not darkness. Heather was still my best friend and even though I had hurt her by breaking her heart, she supported me in my journey, and even marched with me in the Sydney Mardi Gras with the first Freedom2be float ever. Was a special day. I even had my Dad call me to say he didn’t agree with where I stood but that he was proud of me for standing up for what I believe in.
Fast forward to today, as naturally I am not writing an autobiography! I will be honest and say that, the pain/distaste of the church and Christians is still there, as it was my whole life and betrayal can be hard to move on from, but its 5 years on and there has been some healing. In regards to God, I am slowly speaking again to him, trying to separate the “religion” side and my “faith” side and I do believe I can go on a journey with God and God has his arms wide open, welcoming that. Its now up to me to keep embracing that and not get distracted in this world where you can so easily get sucked in and constantly be busy and sidetracked. But overall I live a happy and full life, full of loving and supportive friends and an amazing job. So I am blessed and want to really encourage and show that my dark times were worth it. I would go through them all again to be where I am today. And every step from here is a gift that I want to treasure and explore.