This will be a regular column here at Whosoever. The title of it is “Letters to Home.” I will be writing letters to home that talk about me and what it is about living as an out and proud lesbian.
I want to introduce myself. I am a single lesbian that came out of the closet to myself at the age of 40. I had to stay in the closet at work for fear of losing a job (which I did lose because I needed to be openly gay). I come from a Christian background where being gay is a “sin” and a “choice” one makes incorrectly. I have spent most of my life single because I didn’t learn how to date when I was young and mostly because I didn’t find what I was told about dating working for me.
I also suffer from depression. I know part of my depression has come from hiding who I was from myself. A person should be able to be themselves and not a person that meets other’s expectations.
I went to a counselor to try to figure out why at the age of 39 I was still single. I still remembering her asking me: “Have you ever thought you might be gay?” My response still resonates in my life: “No, it’s not allowed!”
That was over 23 years ago and I am still fighting with the fact that I am a lesbian. (Oh my, I really used the word Lesbian — it’s still a bit scary to use it). Then we researched why it wasn’t allowed. Most of that research said it was allowed! Wow, it took a while but yep, I am gay. I have been all my life. I was born gay.
I know that there are those that condemn me for being gay. I shouldn’t care, but I do.
I am glad that none of my family walked away or disowned me. I do know it’s not a topic most of my family will talk about either. We get together and talk about health, and other things. I share about my church and all my church does. I don’t get asked if I am dating or not. I am not sure why, but it isn’t a topic that usually comes up.
If you are reading this and just coming out to yourself or the world, this is a great time to do it. There are gay examples on TV so that you can see what same-sex marriage is like. There is a ton of stuff on the internet.
I didn’t have any of that. Which is why I had a friend that sent me a book to help me learn about the “Gay World”. I found a church that helped too. This also takes some hunting, but there are churches out there that just take people as they are. I went to Gay Pride Atlanta and found organizations and groups that could help me meet lesbians and other gays.
So, I shall keep trying every day to declare and use the word lesbian to describe myself. It isn’t easy, but I will continue every day to write home and share with you some of the things I have discovered about be me in this world.
The longtime Vicar of Education for Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Alyce Keener (she/her) has felt a twofold calling from an early age toward teaching and toward God. Her religious education started in earnest at her first vacation Bible school, which spurred the realization at a very young age of how important God and Jesus were in her life. She began to pray daily and later began studying the Bible in earnest in college, where she became involved with the Navigators, later taking classes at Moody Bible Institute. Born in Ohio, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Illinois, and was active in local churches, serving on a missions committee, helping develop a church library, leading educational programs and directing a young adults program.