I grew up Baptist. Fundamentalist Baptist. Consider of all the things you think that might mean.
One of them is it took a long, long, LONG time until I could accept homosexuality. I believed what my church and my parents told me: that homosexuals are sinners, they’re going to hell, they’re evil, sick, damned for all eternity—all those kind, loving Christian thoughts that make people wonder whatever happened to “love thy neighbor.”
But as with so many prejudices, the thing that finally cured me was finding out that someone I love is gay. Suddenly I had to let go of all my condemnation and preconceptions. Because you can’t hate someone you loved two seconds ago, before you found out who they are.
So I’ve had to start unraveling that part of my DNA–the little Baptist girl part of me that still seems to affect so much of my thinking, no matter how much I try to pretend it doesn’t. It’s why I won’t go to a yoga class where people chant or bow to Buddha or doing anything else that smacks of idol worship. It’s why I don’t say “God damn it” or otherwise take the Lord’s name in vain. It’s why I feel weird about even glancing at a horoscope, because that’s clearly divination. I don’t know if these things seem ridiculous to other people, but they are firmly entrenched in my brain.
So here I am, whistling along, thinking I’ve gotten over whatever issues I used to have with gayness, and then I read a friend’s profile on MySpace, and I see that she’s identified her sexual orientation as “Bi.” And I’m right back to it. I can feel myself recoil. Why? Is it because I don’t believe her? I think she’s just saying it or doing it to be trendy, as opposed to some other person who I know was born that way? Or is it because I do believe her, and I don’t want to accept it?
Which makes me think I haven’t come so far after all. Maybe the only thing I’ve accepted is the concept of gayness–the fact that some people are, and that’s their right, and it’s not my business to judge them any more than it’s their business to judge me. Maybe that’s just step one, and I’m still stuck there.
To be fair, it’s not like I want to know too much about anyone’s sex life. And finding out someone is gay or bi automatically makes me think about sex. Maybe it’s back to the little Baptist girl in me, so shocked by all things carnal.
So what do I believe? I believe as far as I’ve come, I’m not there yet. There are still dark, judgmental parts in my heart that need a good dose of sunlight. All I can say is I’m working on it.
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