Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Acceptance

I’ve spent the last several years trying to figure myself out. What job I want, where I want to live, whether I want kids or not, what sort of writer I want to be, whether I’m gay or not, whether or not I want to be openly gay, whether or not I want to try to become straight, what my religious beliefs are, what sort of friends I want and how to get them, etc.

I feel like I’ve figured out a lot of these issues. And it’s been hard dealing with each of them. None of the right answers have just fallen on my lap, or been given to me. I’ve fought and struggled, went to pieces and picked myself back up again (and on many occasions was actually picked up by others). But none of the decisions I’ve had to make were easy. None of the things I’ve gone through concerning these things was easy.

Today I went for a long overdue haircut appointment. I walked in, got a seat to wait my turn, and was polite and courteous to everyone else there. I was glad to see the lady who cuts my hair. She’s only cut it three or four times now, but she’s always worked in the established I’ve gone to for the last eight years or so. So, I knew her well enough, and was glad to see her.

After a few minutes, my hair stylist struck up a conversation with one of the other two people in the room being waited on. I sat back and listened as the two of them talked about a recent high school graduate who was no longer welcome at the establishment. This got my attention because I’d never known anyone who was not welcome to get their haircut there. As the conversation continued, I found out why. The person they were talking about was an openly gay teen who had been getting his haircut there for years. The reason he was no longer welcome was because he had brought his boyfriend into the store to get his haircut with him, and because my hair stylist and former one (who owns the store) did not approve of their relationship.

I listened to this conversation with such a huge gut wrenching feeling. Neither of these two people who I have known for years now knows that I am gay. They don’t know all the pain and struggle I’ve gone through in trying to come to terms with the fact that I am sexually attracted to other men. And they probably have no idea how much that young teen boy has gone through either.

The conversation continued. I listened as they talked about how far our society has gone to accept homosexuality and make it okay or cool to be gay, and how our schools are teaching kids it’s okay to be gay, and how immoral all of it is.

I felt crushed. I felt like what had started off as a good day had all of a sudden been totally trashed. And, still, I could not find the courage to out myself in front of them and tell them what I really thought of the whole thing.

No one has to like what decisions I make in life. No one has to like anyone else’s decisions in life. But when someone makes a decision about the way they want to live their life, in ways that do not affect the way other people live theirs, I find it immoral of anyone to judge them for that.

I don’t care if it is a sin to be in a homosexual relationship or not. If someone chooses that for himself or herself, what does that matter to anyone else? Feel sorry, sad, talk to with care, or pray for the person, but do not act as though they’re the scum of the earth just because you disapprove. What gets me is that both hair stylists wouldn’t bat an eye if an unmarried, sexually active, straight couple came into their store, or if a straight couple shows public displays of affection, but somehow they do have a problem with gay couples. There is hypocrisy there.

People don’t have to like the decisions I make in life. But then again, these are my decision, not theirs. These are decisions that I have had to wrestle with to come to some conclusion. So, until they’ve walked in my shoes, I find it incredibly rude and uncaring for them to make a big deal about what I’ve decided for myself. It is my life, and certain decisions, like whether or not to be gay, are personal decisions that do not affect the way other people live their lives anyway. Sometimes I just want to tell other people to go to hell. Because that’s how they make me feel: like hell. And I’d say that’s exactly how they made that young gay couple feel. They rejected them outright.

Today, I wished Jesus was who I went to to cut my hair. If he was, I know I’d have not heard the conversation I heard today. And I may have even seen that gay couple sitting there beside me, waiting for their turn. Jesus never turned people away from him. So why do so many Christians today feel that they need to do that to others? It’s because they dislike, are scared, and are angered by those who are different from them, and because being around people who are different makes them question their worldview. Well, if you ask me, that’s not living very Christ-like.

My name is Brandon. I want to become a great teacher. I want to live near where I grew up. At this time, I’m not so sure that I want kids of my own (I have my nephews). I want to write children’s books, spy thrillers, suspense mysteries, and some historical nonfiction books. I am gay, but celibate. I do not want to be openly gay to everybody. I don’t care if I ever become straight or not—it really doesn’t matter. I am a Christian. And I want friends who will treat others the way they’d like to be treated, as I treat others the way I’d like to be treated. These are my decisions, and I accept them in full. If you don’t accept them, keep it to yourself, because at the end of the day, it’s my life and I have to live it the way I see is best for me, not as you see is best for you.

10 comments:

Daemon Ἴκαρος~ Δαμων said...

Brandon,

This eloquent and sincere post struck a chord with me and helped me start my new day with a smile on my face.

The way that you shared about Jesus and his love for others is what I needed to hear. You will be a great teacher some day, as you seem to find a way directly to the heart of the matter.

I am sorry for the words and attitudes that you have to endure at times from others who are insensitive to the struggles of those around them and the assumptions they make based on their world view. I am also thankful for the grace you have found to deal with them and yourself.

Peace on you,

daemon

Caleb M said...

So sorry for this difficult experience, but your reflection on it is very wise and encouraging. Stay strong!

washed and waiting,
Caleb

Brandon said...

Daemon, I'm glad to have put a smile on your face. Thanks for the words of encouragement, and for thinking I'll be a great teacher.

Caleb, thank you, too. Likewise, stay strong. :)

amothersbrokenheart said...

Oh Brandon, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I get so mad when I hear of such things. People have no idea how wicked their tongue can be. and in all actuality it's whats in their heart.
Where they christians, do you know?
As a mom with a gay son, every time he tells me of a slur or hateful words used towards him, I want to cry.

Brandon said...

AMBH, thank you for your concern. It does really bother me to hear people say certain things at times, but at this point, I try not to let it bother me so much. The other day was an exception.

They were all Christians. And I get that they don't approve of homosexuality. I understand their thoughts about it. But for that to allow them to push away somebody gay and to talk badly about homosexuals, it's just not right at all. They really should guard their words a bit more, and need to reevaluate how they choose to treat people.

Again, thank your for your support. I'm sure your son is very lucky to have you for a mom.

AJ said...

Wow thanks for sharing this. I too would have been gutted inside hearing this. I dont understand how this is the one thing that bothers Christians and why they treat it like super evil above all else. If only they could understand the pain and confusion those of us with SSA go through all the time then maybe they would show some compassion. Like you said if a sexual active unmarried couple would have come in to the store they would have been welcome with open arms and have been treated friendly. I dont know its all very frustrating at times.

naturgesetz said...

I think AJ draws out the meaning of what you said when you pointed out that they would not reject heterosexuals who are sexually active outside of marriage. Somehow homosexual activity has become the "super sin" in many people's minds.

While it might have been good if you could have rebuked them right there and then, most people can't do that. All we can do is try to take advantage of whatever chances we have where we are really in a position to speak up for respect and tolerance. Your chances will come. So don't feel bad for not speaking up while your hair was being cut. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. This was probably a time to remain silent, but it can strengthen your resolve to speak when it is a time to speak.

Brandon said...

Naturgesetz,

It did bother me that I didn't, and felt like I couldn't really, speak up. I wanted to, but I just couldn't figure out a good way to do it without either coming across offensive to them, or without outing myself. So, I just stayed silent. That did bother me some though in itself because I feel like I didn't do the good I could have done.

As you said though, it's moments like this that strengthen resolve at other times. Maybe next time something like that happens I won't have such a spirit of timidity in that moment.

Anonymous said...

As a Christian, I believe we may never know why some of us have same sex attraction. I have it but I have only several times acted out on those attractions. I found out I don't like sex with men. I am married and like sex with my wife. Yet, I am attracted to guys and love hanging around with male friends. There is more to my person than sex and I don't have to know why I have these attractions. It wasn't my fault, my parents' fault or anyone else's I know of. So, I urge you to accept your feelings and ask God to give you clarity on the matter of "coming out". I never did and I don't regret it. I know someone who did and it makes his life miserable. God has assured me He will never allow me to feel all alone and I count it a privilege to be used by Him, in spite of having same sex attractions. I am who I am, made by the Creator and I rejoice in that. Bless you, young man, with His presence.

Brandon said...

Anonymous,

I like your approach. Thanks for commenting.