I’m bisexual. I don’t make a big deal out of my sexuality, because it’s part of me – and no bigger deal to me than the fact that I have curly hair. It’s natural. And most of the time, I would even say that I don’t do much in the way of queer politics, but today I am blowing my top – a childhood friend’s daughter just came out, and was instantly punished for it. She was yanked out of the school where she met her girlfriend, banned from social media, and they took away her phone. I AM SO ANGRY.
Guys, I’ve had to spend a lot of not-so-quality time in the closet. I was out in college, right back in after graduation, because I had my child during college and the area where I live does not allow openly queer teachers. Nor can you be openly pagan, for that matter. So I remember well the time when I had to be closeted. I was a new teacher. I was dating a woman, we’ll call her J. J was Christian, and I was newly converted to Paganism. At the time, she was having a crisis of faith, but she couldn’t let go of Christianity, and was having trouble reconciling how her faith despised GLBTQ people. And we had the additional strain of my job, which required me to be waaaay back in the closet – we had to sneak away to either Tampa or Orlando (instead of the suburb where we lived) so that no one would recognize either one of us just so we could hold hands in public. And it wasn’t like I could just switch jobs – at that time, my child was small, very ill, and required a lot of therapy, which required me taking time off of work. I had a high-demand degree and certification in education – I’d just have been a pain in the ass to accommodate in any other field.
I really loved J, guys. She was a fine southern gentleman butch, an amazing kisser, and she deserved better than a girlfriend who had to hide loving her from damn near everyone. She deserved better than a faith that shamed her so deeply that she worried over going to hell. And so does B, my friend’s daughter. I am enraged that 15 years later, monotheistic fundamentalists can still tear a young person’s life apart in the name of “saving” them. I’m pissed that no matter how much or how little you pass, you can still get f*cked over.
And I’m writing this for one other reason – B, no matter what happens, you’ll be okay in the long run. It’s not fair and it’s not right that you have this happening to you and your girl. Some of your family will get over it in time – all of them might, eventually. But I have learned that those that didn’t, they didn’t deserve to be in my life, and those that did, I cherished even more. Maybe you’ll stay in your birth faith, like J did, and you’ll find a variant of it that doesn’t warp its tenants – the Unitarian Universalists Christians that I work with understand are welcoming, and most UU congregations are explicitly welcoming ones. Or you may be like me, and leave the faith of your birth for the faith of your ancestors. Either way, you won’t be alone.