I really didn’t know what to expect of life as a gay man. For so long I had been scared to live my life freely, without thinking about what others would say that I was terrified to do anything that could make others think negatively of me.
Being so involved in religion since I was a teenager put me inside a glass box where I could see everything around me but only through condemnation and sadly it made me look at myself through that same glass. So everything I did, thought or said was instantly measured and judged by that standard set in my head. This was especially harsh when it came to homosexuality. Back in the Christian circles from where I come from there were always rumors swirling about the sins of several people. None of those rumors were louder than the ones accusing certain leaders of being gay. I never saw any of these people doing anything necessarily gay, and that’s where I tried stay in my position. I always kept a “who knows” attitude because all I really knew was that I was struggling in that same area and that gave me no place to judge.
Most of the feelings towards these leaders came in two main flavors. First, ridicule. Look at him preaching about God’s love and judgement when he’s a “pato,” a common word that is a loose translation of faggot. These comments were thrown around humorously behind closed doors by many followers of Jesus. The second group of people had a more “righteous indignation.” How dare he? What gives him the right lo stand up there and tell us about getting close to God, when he’s living a life of sin? God is not with him. How could God be with that man? He’s a sinner and an abomination for daring to speak in God’s name when his life is not in order. I should be the one up there preaching.
Ridicule and condemnation. Being openly gay would mean that for the rest of my days I would have to live fighting these two monsters. Monsters that I could stay away from by being a good Christian boy in the eyes of others. Being openly gay would mean that I was throwing in the trash everything I believed, everything I loved, everything I lived for so far. It will also mean that I had given myself into depravity, that I would not know real love and that surely hell would be my resting place when my time to die came. I would never be able to live a good, normal life as a gay man, because “choosing” to be gay would mean the opposite of that. By living as a gay man I would be choosing to willingly hate God and his ways and to, from that point on, live a life filled with sin. Everything I had lived for so far would mean nothing because I had given it up for being gay and I would magically turn into this unrecognizable monster that was against God, his ways and his people.
All that is what I’ve had to fight through. That was what I had been told my life would be if I ever dare to walk outside of “God’s will” for me. Because it’s usually easier to tell others how to live in God’s will than to work on your own walk. Because what exhilarates many in Christianity is that they get to tell others how they should live. Of course this is not something most would admit, because they are doing God’s work. If you work hard enough on your walk you get to become a leader who gets to tell others what to do. Isn’t that fun?
About four years ago I started giving that up. I didn’t give Jesus or Christianity up. I wanted to give up constantly thinking about what others might say about my life. No, it hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But the funny thing is that coming into accepting that I am a gay man, and have been since I can remember, really has not been that big of a change.
Coming into accepting that I am attracted to men hasn’t changed me into someone who wants to get drunk and do drugs and who wants to have sex with every man I see. It hasn’t turned me into someone who hates God and the Bible. It hasn’t turned me into an activist who loves waving a rainbow flag and telling others at every turn how gay I am. It hasn’t turned me into a woman or wanting to be one, even if I love drag queens. Being gay did not turn me into a gay history student who wants to debate Christians on how “Being gay is A-Okay” and how gay kids these days don’t know how easy they have it. Others can be all those things and that’s fine. It’s their life, but that’s not me.
I’m just Rand. And that’s somehow the hardest part of my journey, that after all of what I’ve been through, deep in my heart I just wanted a chance to freely be myself. I didn’t want to be pressured to fit in a certain group. I didn’t want to be a certain type of gay. I just wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say, yeah that’s cool, I like what I see. I wanted to be able to unapologetically tell someone “I love you” without the fear of having the earth open beneath my feet and swallow me whole. I wanted a chance of living life to the fullest and for love and peace to be part of my every day life. That’s all I wanted and I am thankful that today I can be who I really am and that I get to share that with someone I love with all my heart.