Bible Belt- Let’s Be Friends

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It is coming, the war is almost over, but the battle has just begun. The right for same-sex couples to have the right to marry is finally here. I am gay, and I live in the South at the very center of the Bible belt. Just over three years ago, or even two years ago, I would have never thought two, same-sex people who were genuinely in love would be able to get married, especially in a church. Too my glorious surprise, they are getting married, and yes, inside churches in the South. I am thrilled to know that one day I could walk down the aisle and recite my vows to the man that I choose to marry. Although many people across the nation are turning cart-wheels over this major breakthrough, I know and understand that there are a group of people who feel threatened by this. Having lived in the Bible belt for as long as I have, I know that the idea of same-sex couples getting married scares allot of Christians. In some ways I can understand. I was once in the same boat. I was scared of the LGBT’s just as much, in fact, realizing the gripping truth that I was gay use to literally be my worst nightmare come true, but that only lasted for a season. Now I couldn’t be happier, and I am truly happy for both gays and straights who have been able to find peace and true happiness in their lives.

Still I know that this is a very confusing time for all religious people who still hold on to their ancestor’s traditions, expectations, and standards of how they want the world to be. It is very hard to embrace something that is very foreign too you, and it is even harder to let go and let love in. I know there are a good number of you that may even have gay children. For you that could mean your worst nightmare has come true. You wake up one day to find out that even your own child is one of them. You are obviously very scared, hurt, and confused at this point. I want you to know that your child telling you that he or she is gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or maybe they might not feel like a boy or a girl on the inside, and they have chosen to tell you, that this is a very big step in their life. They have chosen to give you their complete trust. They love you enough to be truly honest with you. I know it’s not what you expected. From the very moment of birth too he or she, you had the perfect vision of what they would be like and become. Many nights while you were rocking your child to sleep you probably envisioned what he or she would look like as an adult, and often wondered what type of husband or wife they would end up with. “Mom, I’m gay… Dad, I’m a lesbian,” is definitely not what you were anticipating hearing come from your own child’s mouth.

I’m not here to judge, and I’m not here to gloat. I just want a small portion of your time to share with you that just because your child is gay or lesbian, or bisexual or transgender, or marriage doesn’t seem fair to you anymore because it’s taking a strange turn, doesn’t mean your life ends there. You are entering a journey that if approached with open arms, could be an amazing adventure. My hope is by sharing with you our side of the scale, that you can be able to find a common ground. All I ask is that you read with an open heart. In the end your decision to embrace what you’ve read in this blog will be of your own choosing.

You’ve heard about us, you’ve read about us in the newspaper, watched us on the television, but I’m sure very few of you have ventured out away from your homeland and into our turf. I want you to know you are more than welcome. In fact I cordially invite you into our humble abode. I have no doubt that you are scared. We must seem very strange to you. A man and a man that are in love? A woman and a woman with a baby How is that even possible? Well, Bible belt, fasten your seat belts, and I will answer all of your questions, and if you will allow me, put your fears to rest.

We all have something that we are afraid of. I know that the LGBT’s right to be married is a major fear for you. You’ve heard so many horror stories, and you feel as though somehow we are trying to take your rights away and convert you all into homosexuality. Right now you are probably very tense and on the verge of getting angry, so, I want you to close your eyes for a moment and re-open them. Now, take a deep breath, as much as your gut can handle, and slowly let it out. Relax all those tight muscles and calm your thoughts, and if you are still reading this, good for you. I want to start by telling a simple childhood story of mine.

When I was a boy, I use to be extremely afraid of escalators. I would only take elevators wherever I went. Escalators were not an option. I saw other people riding them, but they were very strange to me. I thought those people were crazy. Stairs that can move? What if I trip and fall? What if something bad happens when I get to the top? Every time I entered any place that had moving stairs the excuses to condone my fear would begin. One day my grandpa (who has been dead now for 8 years) came for a visit. He wanted to take me to see my first movie (Stewart little). My grandpa didn’t know his way around the city, and the mall was the only place I knew how to direct him that had a theater. We saw the movie and after that I wanted to go to the toy store. The toy store was on the second floor. Normally, I took the elevator, but that day it was out of order. My legs began to tremble when I heard my grandpa’s chilling words. “Well Alan, looks like it’s the escalator for us.” Immediately I started crying. My grandpa was very tender and he quietly and gently took me over to a bench close to my greatest fear. At the angle we were sitting I could see both the escalator and the elevator. I felt his gentle hand on my shoulder and he began to calmly speak to me. “Alan, do you see that elevator?” I looked at my grandpa very strangely. Respectfully I said yes. He smiled at me with his tender blue eyes. “Alan, that elevator you walk into every time has only a single cord holding it. If that cord were to break the elevator would fall, yet you trust in it every time you enter and every time that faithful cord holds you and pulls you to safety. If that elevator can do that don’t you think the escalator will do just the same?” I shrugged my shoulders not really knowing what to say. After that my grandpa took me to the foot of the escalator. I took a deep breath, all the while my grandpa was whispering “you can do it.” I lifted my foot, and one after the other I was on the moving steps. Instantly my fear was squelched. It left me like a swift traveling vapor. I didn’t trip, I didn’t fall, and nothing bad happened when I got to the top. We had a great time at the toy store, and I got the pink power ranger I wanted so badly with my allowance.

For those of you who know nothing of what we are like, or how we live, I imagine we are quite similar to the escalators. You are traveling into a world of the unknown. Although it may seem like storm clouds raging, the sun can shine again if you would allow it. The big secret about the LGBT society (bomb shell) there is no secret. We are really not that much different then you, only we are attracted to the same-sex, or for some, both sexes. I work in the animal field, and I have come across clients who are gay. They are actually quite normal. They get up and go to work just like you do. Their dogs love them, and the people around them who are straight care and trust them entirely. I have a close gay friend right here in Houston, Texas who has just become an Uncle a couple of weeks ago to a beautiful baby boy. His sister and husband trust him completely, and he is a great uncle, and makes his little nephew giggle so much. We all laugh and love, striving so much for the good times. We don’t want to be coddled or be the center of everyone’s conversation, or roll out the red carpet every time we come around. We just want what you all have. Bible belt, I think it is wonderful you all can get married to the person you love. I wish you all the joy in the world, but we would like to share in the joy that you can experience. We simply aren’t wired your way. We didn’t have the same marriage visions you had growing up. We were born into this world just like you were. We didn’t wake up one day and decide to make our life difficult and almost unbearable. We are simply like the escalators. We aren’t elevators; we are a different walk of life. We don’t want you to be gay, we are not pounding on your door with old Cher tapes and Elton John albums saying “here listen to this.” I want you, just like all the wonderful LGBT people I have come to know, too be happy. All we want is to share in your happiness.

So with that being said, on behalf of all of us here at the LGBT club, you are happily invited to pay us a visit. For once put down the Bibles, put down the picket signs (not saying you all do that) and just have an engaging conversation with us, laugh with us, play dress up with us (laughs) you don’t have to do that. Just be yourself when you’re around us. Take a deep breath and just say hi, shake our hand. We want to be your friends if you will allow us.

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