Growing Up Gay In A Homophobic Church Almost Made Me Destroy The Life God Gave Me

Growing Up Gay In A Homophobic Church Almost Made Me Destroy The Life God Gave Me

My own internalized homophobia

agmyrick
agmyrick
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The world around me conditioned me to hate; that different was sin. It crept up on me like the night creeps up on the day. I knew before I knew. It hit me like a truck, but it had been falling as a light snow my whole life. I internalized homophobia so deep I rejected the truth. I told myself if I was anything but straight, I would kill myself.

My mom would rant about gays being screwed up in the head and if they were allowed to marry, we would be one step closer to bestiality. The thought of them holding hands in public made her sick and her rants made me sick. I kept a quiet hate embedded in myself and as the truth became harder to hide I stifled it with a blade. My depression got worse as I turned to self-harm to punish myself for who I was. I was heading down a path that would either lead to two things: becoming straight, which was impossible or committing suicide.

The delusions that held me started to fade when I became friends with a boy who was out as bisexual. He cracked open the door to the closet and helped me realize I was not alone. I began to research online and read stories and information all about people who were LGBT. I wasn't a sin, my love wasn't a sin. I was not damaged, I was not screwed up in the head. This was not something I chose to be, this was how I was born and that was okay. The path that I was on changed from that moment as I learned to accept who I was.

The door began to open bit by bit over the years until eventually, I was out almost completely; the only people who didn't know was the church and my family. I had to keep on a mask of the straight, Christian daughter and I could feel it chipping away at me. The part I played was shadowed by the dark place I used to reside and every day I pretended I could feel myself inch a little closer to that darkness.

I didn't have the courage to come out; it was a blessing in disguise when someone did it for me. I was angry that day, extremely angry, but if they had not outed me to my mom I don't know how long I would have pretended. Sometimes being gay is still difficult for me and I will find myself retreating back to that place of self-loathing and shame, but the supportive people who surround me are there to help remind me that I didn't choose to be this way.

I am not an abomination and I am not a sinner, for who I am and who I can't help, but love. Being gay is a part of me and it is not going to go away and that is okay.

If anyone reading this struggles with self-harm, addiction, depression, or suicide because they are LGBTQ+, please contact any of these hotlines for help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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Past Legal And Modern Social Apartheid

An opinion piece on past legal Apartheid in South Africa and how it is socially reflected in the United States.

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When stepping inside of a solitary cell at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, I felt a tightness in my chest and wanted to leave that small space immediately; imagining a Black South African who broke the pass laws during Apartheid being in there is beyond disturbing. Due to laws such as the Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923, the Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951, and the Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970, Black South Africans during Apartheid were extremely limited in where they could live, detrimentally affecting their economic and employment opportunities. When touring the former Constitutional Hill prison, the guide told us that, when Black South Africans were caught without passes permitting their stay in Joburg for the day and/or night, they spent 5 days in prison, along with murderers and others who committed serious crimes. If caught multiple times breaking these pass laws, they would spend 5 years in this prison. Most of those who violated these pass laws were unemployed or sought better employment in Joburg; this is understandable, as a person has a better chance of having a job by being there physically. When thinking further about the lack of opportunity they suffered from due to the aforementioned laws creating this effect, this legal repercussion becomes further and further disturbing. Additionally, this also directly led to the creation of "White" and "Black" areas, where Whites lived in areas of better opportunity (ex. cities, suburbia), and Blacks were subjected to living in poverty and townships where there was limited economic and employment opportunities.

This lack of opportunity is echoed in the U.S. when looking at socially designated "White" and "Black" areas. Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman essentially because he thought Martin "was not where he belonged", which was in a nice suburban area. As a person of color myself, I have been stared at in museums, followed in stores, and once at 12 years old kicked out of a shop (I did not do anything wrong), because I "stuck out". In this way, society told me (and violently told Martin) that we don't belong in those areas, that we "belong" in ghettos or prison; the racial demographics of populations in U.S. prisons will support me here. Therefore, by society socially designating where people "belong", not only do they bind themselves in their own ignorance, but also prevent people of color from sharing the same access to plentiful life and economic opportunity.

References

Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923: Prevented Black South Africans from leaving designated area without a pass. The ruling National Party saw this as keeping Whites "safe" while using Blacks for cheap labor.

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951: Allowed Black South Africans to enter the building industry as artisans and laborers. Restricted to "Native" areas. Prevented competition between Whites, Coloureds, and Blacks. Could not work outside a designated area unless given special permission.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970: All Black South Africans would lose their South African citizenship/nationality over time. Would not be able to work in "South Africa" due to being aliens. Black South Africans would have to work inside their own areas and could only work in urban areas if they had special permission from the Minister.


South African History Online. "Apartheid Legislation 1850s-1970s." South African History Online, South African History Online, 11 Apr. 2016, www.sahistory.org.za/article/apartheid-legislation....

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