As a gay woman, I have always had a close relationship with God. I talk to Him every day. When I was younger, I was mainly praying; no, pleading with Him to understand how the feelings I have for women could not be a sin. It petrified me knowing that there was a possibility I was on my way to hell for loving women. At the time, I had never acted on those feelings.
At first, I was naïve. I was naïve to think that my church would truly accept me as a devoted Christian who loves God, and not concern themselves with my sexuality.
When I gave my heart to Christ it was when I met my best friend who would eventually become my ex-husband. I introduced myself to him and we became fast friends. We started to spend a lot of time with each other and eventually began to date.
I chose to date a man because after attending services every week, going to Bible study, and hearing the preacher’s sermons about the sin of homosexuality, I began to wonder if my soul was truly in jeopardy.Soon after, I opened up to him about how I had been fighting my feelings for women. He truly believed his love would “change” me and within no time, he proposed to me at my Aunt’s house. I said yes to him because it was better for everyone involved. I was brainwashed into believing that being lesbian or gay was a sin.
The next day, He and I shared the news with our church. But some congregation members knew I had struggled with feelings for women. When they learned the wedding date, they immediately confronted me. The pastor told me that in order for us to marry at our church, I had to be exorcised of my lesbianism. I couldn’t carry my “sin” into my marriage with my husband, he said. Church staff members began to shout tongues at me, and laid their hands on my forehead in order to cast demons from me. I didn’t know whether to cry, laugh, or scream, so I stayed emotionless, quiet, and scared.
A few weeks later, the church claimed that I didn’t “receive the Spirit,” and therefore we could not marry in our church. He and I married out of state. We began to attend a new church. The new church was worse than the last.
I continued to fight my feelings for women and for the next couple years. The staff at the new church tried to cast demons from me, in front of the entire congregation, several times a month. Even my own husband helped to hold me down while the pastor screamed at me in tongues.
I felt violated by the pastor and the men of the congregation, and I had marks on my arms to prove how violent the “exorcisms” had become. In fact, one night, noticing the bruises and marks left on my arms, I knew I had to leave. The next day I left the church, and my husband.
As much as I loved God, the humiliation I encountered at church was too much to bear. I couldn’t believe that my own husband was putting the church before me and my safety and well-being.
When I think about what happened to me, I am astounded by the fact that we are still giving certain religious leaders the authority to advocate to us such a blatant degree of hatred and discrimination.
My hope is that in sharing this story, there can finally be an honest discussion about what gay and lesbian rights are, and expose those who use the Bible to hide behind their hatred. I am wondering when “Christian” people are going to put a stop to the hatred of gay men and lesbians. This is not a religious issue. It is a human dignity issue.