I should write home more often, but can’t seem to do it. Then today, I watched a movie and realized I could relate to it way too much.
You may not have seen “Love, Simon” — but it was on HBO recently, and it’s about a gay kid. I thought, “Why not, let’s see how they do.” The movie brought tears to my eyes because I could relate to it so much. It’s about a gay senior in high school who isn’t ready to tell anyone he is gay but then finds someone on the high school’s blog who also is gay and not out. They fall in love via email. The worst part of the movie? A kid Simon goes to school with finds out and then outs him on that same blog to the whole school.
Simon feels overwhelmed by the fact that everyone now sees him in a different light. He isn’t just Simon any more, but a gay guy. That is the part that got me the most. I want to just be myself too. But somehow when people find out you are gay, things change. “Love, Simon” helped me look at myself and come up with some conclusions:
- I firmly believe that a person is born gay.
- I believe Jesus came to declare that God loves everyone — no exceptions. Jesus never once said homosexuality was a sin. The Old Testament says it, but then then the 10 Commandments got turned into more than 600 “laws” for everyone to keep or else be forbidden from entering God’s temple. Really? We humans sure have a lot of gall to think we can just create rules for God’s house. Jesus gave two commands; read Matthew 22:34-40:
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: ‘Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?’ Jesus said, ‘ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.’
- I love God, I try to love myself, and I try to love others as God would.
- I have to deal with depression every day — but depression can be overcome. It is a hard fight, every day, but I keep trying.
- I have a right to have a special woman in my life. (I actually changed this from “someone special;” I need to declare it.)
These are a few things I try to work on every day. I didn’t come out to myself until I was 40. The world didn’t accept gay people, and I wanted acceptance. Religious groups didn’t accept gay people, and I believed in God — so how could I be gay? I had an uphill fight to declare I am a lesbian. I still fight that battle every day.
So I am going to try to be “more gay.” When I give directions I don’t say “go straight,” I say “go gaily forward.” And the joke I have with you, my brother: We may be opposites in life, but we have one thing in common — we both like women.
My wish is always that you will not pray for me to “go straight,” but pray for me to find someone special to share my life with — or pray for me to just be me, not what you expect or want me to be.
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.