I remember going to church and a distinct conversation a church teacher had with myself and a group of students. It touched me heavily and in a life-changing manner. But not in the glorious and uplifting way you'd expect it to be.
The teacher said, "How I feel is that if you're gay, we as a church have the duty to ask that you leave the church. If you don't change, what you practice is not in line with God's belief and we cannot have it."
It shocked me because before he spoke that aloud, I always knew he was somewhat conservative. But for him to actually get rid of gay believers and ask them to leave a place they've been a part of for so long? That a believer in God cannot exist together with fellow Christians because somehow, that gay believer will soil his or her fellow Christians with "gay vibes" that will utterly disintegrate the pack?
Since then, I have been iffy about going to church. Partly it was due to my awkwardness and not really fitting in with the other members, but if I cannot be myself with brothers and sisters about something that is not harmful to their lives whatsoever, then is church a place I want to be?
Fast forward to high school, I came out to my sister during senior year. Her initial response was very expected considering her personality:
Then, given some time, she asked, "Really? You seem so straight. Are you sure you're not bi?"
And those words have not stopped since. Really. If I could get a dollar for every time someone's said that to me, I would be DROWNING in money.
"What? You're always talking about Kai from EXO. How he's serving godly looks on the daily," my friends remarked.
"Heck yea, guys are darn good looking. But… I just don't feel it. I've always liked guys and girls since I was small, but after dating guys and really spending time with them, I've realized that the spark just isn't there. I've just always had more intense crushes on girls and feel I could actually be in a relationship with a girl, you know?"
Lots of those conversations. How my friends all say I dress straight and act straight. That I haven't posted any gay-esque pictures on social media. But I was still in church and young at that time so I didn't attend Pride parades! And do I have to strictly fit into a typical lesbian stereotype? I mean, hey, there's no wonder why it's so hard to tell whether a girl is gay. There are three options: over the top girly (I mean, strut that walk and those hot pink nails, right?), average girliness (I paint my nails mostly in nudes or pastels, but hot pink is only for fun occasions), or the chill girl (yeah, I never paint my nails). I mean, you could totally tell!
I've only recently joined the LGBTQ weekly club meetings and it's been relaxing. People are so chill there — oh no, did I just confirm anything? — and comfortable with being unapologetically themselves. I've also bought a Pride poster that hangs quite obviously above my bed, as well as a recently self-made rainbow Harry Potter wand.
But, coming out to my parents, particularly my mom, was anything but easy. I told my mom after getting into a big argument with her about other problems and telling her to sit down and talk about our problems rather than constantly arguing about it. After we had our deep talk and things settled down, I felt like it was the appropriate time for me to tell her.
The conversation with my mother went something like this:
"Mom, I don't really like guys."
"Yea, every girl has problems with guys. Everyone has that phase. I don't really like your dad a lot of the times."
"No, I mean like, I don't want to date guys anymore. I like girls."
Silence. With her eyes looking intensely into mine, as to confirm what I said, my mom replied, "For real? You don't like guys like that?"
"Yes. I don't. You even said that with my personality, I would be better off with a girl anyway."
"OK. I mean, I can't change you. Let's go to sleep. It's late."
A week later, my mom asked to talk to me in the bathroom while my dad was asleep:
"Jessie. You know that as a Christian, it wouldn't be right for you to like girls, right? I don't know what will happen to you when you leave this earth. I really don't know if you will go to Heaven if you are gay."
"I don't know either."
"The Bible said that God burned down the city of Sodom of gay men. You know that, right?"
"Yea. I do."
"I don't know. This is not only against the Bible but can you imagine how your dad would react? He never suspected that you were gay, ever. In fact, he thinks that every time you go out, you're with a guy. And you know he's always said he wanted a son, right? You know how badly he wants one, and if you're going to date a girl, he really might kick you out of the household. He is going to cry. Really. He would be so ashamed and angry if he saw you exchanging rings with another girl at your wedding. You're going to hurt this family and hurt yourself when you're not on this Earth any longer. Do you just want to date girls for fun?"
"No, I don't want to date just for fun. How can you say that? I've dated enough guys to know. And you have your other daughter. She can have sons for him."
"OK, I don't know. I think you have to keep it a secret or change your ways. Because you are a Christian, if you are gay, it's better to be single than to marry a girl. You really cannot marry a girl. Do you really want to marry a girl?"
Silence followed. "I mean. I could marry a guy just for the sake of it, but there won't be feelings of love. It'll just be like me living alongside someone and I won't feel happy. At all. If I could, I would marry a girl. It feels weird to me right now, but I feel like I really would be able to later on."
"I don't know. I'm just going to tell you the most that I can, and if you don't change, then I can't do anything about it. But I really think you can't be in a relationship with a girl. It's not going to be easy for you."
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