Saturday, September 12, 2009

Celebrating me

“I wouldn’t be LGBT, if I had a choice, is internalized self-hate. It’s like saying I wouldn’t be a woman, or a man, or “white,” or a person of color, if I had a choice. It’s the desire to flee something we are.” Robert Minor, Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society
This quote hit me right between the eyes. I used to say "If I had a choice, I wouldn't be gay." I used to say, "If I have kids, I hope they aren't gay", or "Why would anyone choose this life?"

Of course, I was referring to all that we have to deal with in society...but that wasn't all. Deep down, I think I still didn't really want to be who I was. I think I had the thought that I was trying to make the best of it since I couldn't change it. And above all else, I wanted others to love me and I wasn't sure that could happen if they thought this was a choice or, heaven forbid, something I was happy about.

Times have changed for me. I don't wish a straight life on all children. I want there to always be different types of people in our society. What I wish for instead is for our society to finally come to terms with differences and to embrace those who stand outside the norm.

I also am finding out more and more that I really love who I am. All of it. The gay parts of me, too. However, the gay parts are not separate parts that can be lopped off like limbs. The gay parts are more like...(if I'm going to continue the "parts of the body" analogy)...the nervous system. I can't survive without a nervous system. I also can't survive without this part of me that informs everything I do. I'm not saying it is all of who I am, because that is certainly not true. I'm more than "the gay", but I can't take the gay out of me without slowly killing myself.

I know this for a fact because I tried. I tried for many years to sublimate all my differences. To stamp out anything that read "gay" and to become a different person. I walled off my sexuality and in doing so, lost my creativity as well. I stuffed down everything that was outside of gender norms, but I didn't realize that I lost many fine things about myself. Things I used to value and cherish now became hated and worthless. As Peterson says, "I went to war against my body and my sexuality." That's certainly how it looked for me as well.

One of the first blog posts I ever wrote after coming out of some of my ex-gay fog and life was about how, as a gay person, I was absolutely no different than anyone else. And it's true - in many of the big "life" things I am no different than anyone else. I want my family to love me for me, not for who they expect or desire me to be. Most people want that. I want to be treated well. I want to be loved and accepted. I want others to feel that way, too. But part of what I was really saying was that I also didn't want to be different. I didn't want to be perceived as different. I used to get nervous when I'd see an ultra-butch lesbian, or a very femmy gay guy. "What will others think of me if I hang around someone like that? They'll think we're too different and they won't accept us."

For some people that may be true. For others, thankfully, it is not. However, somehow over time, and I think in working through a lot of my ex-gay past, I've come to realize that I'm OK being different, that the world will not end if I'm not accepted by all who pass my way.

I am different. I am not just living your average, everyday life. I've had to confront many beliefs I've cherished and ideas that I'd grown up with to see how they fit into my life now. I've had to grieve many things that no one should have to grieve, including the loss of family and friends. I've had to dig deep and see where my strengths are and learn how to develop them. I've had to face a lot of fear and challenge myself to go beyond what I think I can do. I've learned how to speak out when I'd really rather just be at home reading a book.

So yeah, I'm different. Because I'm gay and because I'm also just me. I'm a lesbian. I have weird toes and short arms (although probably those things have nothing to do with being a lesbian). I'm proud of who I am. I think, while I have some regrets about my life, I don't regret this larger journey I've been on and I no longer mourn the fact that I'm different. Instead, I celebrate it.

Edit: I was suddenly reminded of a line from a song by one of my favorite groups: "I don't know who else to be / more and more I'm secretly just me" from the song "Goodbye (this is not goodbye)" by Over The Rhine. It seems to fit.


  1. This is really beautiful, and I'm so glad you feel that way now.

    Glad you're posting again, too!

  2. You express what we go through so very well. Thank you again, Christine. I am so proud to know you as friend, as well as cousin!

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Christine. Your courage is CONTAGIOUS. By the way, I, too, am an Over the Rhine fan. Do you have a favorite album? My top three favorites are OHIO, Good Dog Bad Dog, and Drunkard's Prayer.

  4. Thanks for the comments, all. It really does feel good to shake off a lot of these old thoughts and ideas and embrace a new life.

    And Amy, yes, I think those might be my favorite albums too, and there are some clear frontrunner songs within those albums. I am thinking specifically about "Born" and the title song from "Drunkard's Prayer." Those two have been favorites to me at different times in my life...

  5. Hey Christine,

    After reading this post again, I was reminded of one of my favorite books as a kid "The Velveteen Rabbit". What an incredible journey you have been on and look at you now!

    "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." ~Margery Williams

    Real you...lucky world!!!!!

  6. My favorite tracks on Drunkard's Prayer are "I Want You to Be My Love," "Born" and "Firefly." (And, of course, Karin lights up the night with the classic "My Funny Valentine.") Were you, by chance, at OtR's 20th Anniversary Celebration in Cincinnati last December?

  7. Not so fast here, lady. Weird toes and short arms could very well mean that you're so totally gay. (By the way, no idea what you're talking about as I didn't notice your arms being short. Can't remember if I've seen your toes.)

    This might fit in with my Chocolate Chip Theory. I'll have to get back to you....

  8. I have noticed that alot of "over weight" women have "come-out Gay" Is it because they can not find guys who will except them "As they are"? That their only choices are other fat chics? I am not trying to be mean, it just seems that way to me.

  9. ALL women come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including lesbians. A woman's sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with her weight, just as the sexuality of a male has nothing to do with his weight. Body types are body types... gay or not. There are overweight, thin, and average sized homosexuals just like there are overweight, thin and average sized heterosexuals.

    To put it as simply as your stated observation, lesbians "come out" because they have come to a place where they can accept their sexuality. Lesbians are NOT sexually attracted/connected to men so they are not looking for guys to accept them in this manner.

    I guess that leads to this question for you to consider...

    If you could not find someone of the opposite sex that was attracted to you, would you then seek out a homosexual relationship?

    Being lesbian or gay is not something that is chosen... not out of rejection, environment or any other reason. It just is...

  10. Its not about you its about Jesus Christ and what he has done.

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  13. Christine,
    I came across this beautiful blog entry just by accident. I'm honored and moved that my words in Gay and Healthy became a part of your story.
    Warm regards,
    Bob Minor
    The Fairness Project

  14. What a wonderful post to find on this, the third day of Bridge of Light, in honor of the principle of Self-Esteem. Love it!

    P.S.: you may remember me as the blogger who used to have the blog Rising Up. My current blog is Integrally Gay.

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  16. Wow! There are some mean folks out there. I am shocked by the overweight lesbian comment. The part that fries me is that mean comments can come from "Christians".
    I am a Christian. I am also ex-gay. That is MY story. You have a different one. I read your question on another entry that asks, how do we build a bridge between us? What would a real bridge look like? Usually 2 seperate landowners are involved. Everybody has wanted the water rights so to speak. What could the common denominator be? Humility?
    I think it is possible, no, not with everybody, but possible for some. Maybe the Christans could give up their holier than thou attitudes, maybe the gay community could give up their angry victim status. (You still there?) Maybe we could live and let live. I would ask all those that have been hurt by Christians to forgive ME, for arrogence, for hatred that MY party has done. How un-Christ like!My choice for MY life, was to pray one verse. "Not my will, but thine be done." Daily. I surrendered every part of my life. Every part. I did not hold back my sexual preferances from that offering. That again, is my journey. All God really wants from us is surrender.
    Surrender everything. Even the mad. Even our own ammo. Surely if we all did that, Jesus would lay His own body down, between the lands, and become that bridge.

    Talk about a bridge over troubled waters.

    Thanks for listening.

  17. I am all about building bridges and Over the Rhine. Saw them at Cornerstone first back in the early 90's.

    God desires truth in our inner most being... whatever that is...