Peeling Back Layers of Ugly: The Gay Reality

This was it.

The expectant tension was building in our awkward phone conversation to an almost unbearable degree.  I felt myself struggling to regulate my breath and appear nonchalant.  He struggled for words, a way to open the door, for the very first time to anyone.

His fear became so present, it felt like we may shatter when he finally found the words.

My brother is gay.

When he finally told me, a few months from graduating high school in the spring of 2004, every single bad, derogatory, judgemental comment I had ever heard about gay people played out in my memory. We did not grow up in a home where bigotry and hateful speech was ever uttered.  But we grew up mormon.  A place where they talked about the sin of homosexuality.  A place where t.v. shows like Ellen, or Will and Grace were considered immoral and inappropriate.  Where traditional marriage was considered vital in protecting society and moral character.  Where being gay was being a sexual deviant by choice.  Where in 2008, the mormon church would rally tremendous money and forces in  to support Prop 8 in California.

 It was not a safe place for my brother.

 I remembered every single off-hand remark or gesture he must have been exposed to.  The jokes that were just not funny.  The gossip that had been circulating in our ward in Colorado about a girl my age, who had “decided” to be a lesbian, cut her hair, and ran off with another girl after high school.  The head shaking and tsk-tsking and whispers of how painful that must be for the family, how disgraceful.

Shame and horror over those flashes burned in me, a small taste of how it must have burned in him for years.  I wanted to crawl through the phone and wrap my arms around him.  I wanted to look him in the eye and tell him how I loved him.  How it changed absolutely nothing about how I felt about him.  How it was going to be fine.  But I was thousands of miles away, and he was hiding in his basement bedroom in my parents house, filled with fear at being fully seen for the first time.

We went from rarely ever speaking on the phone, to talking for many hours every day for several months. If more than a day would pass, he would call, filled with fear of what I must be thinking of him, the judgement I was making, the disgust that must have been percolating for him. His vulnerability made me throb with empathy.  My mother and father called too… begging for me to tell them what was going on.  What was wrong.  Demanding that I let them in on the reasons for our daily contact.  Their fears were an endless ticker tape of threatening possibilities in their minds.  It was the only time in my life I lied consistently to my parents.

Here is the part where I have to be brutally honest. and own the course I had to take.  It’s not easy to write now, but it is real.

I had no idea what to think.  Like anything else, if it isn’t happening TO you, it is easy to dismiss.

I never considered that my brother had chosen to be gay.  That was ridiculous. I heard the pain in his voice.  I could feel his fear.  I knew that an alarming number of gay kids take their own life.  There was no issue of choice.

But the first thing I wanted to know was… why?

I did research.  I read about sexual abuse.  Or having a broken and damaged relationship with a father.  There wasn’t a lot more to read about the subject, in 2004.

I confronted Gardner, asking questions without malice, but honest innocence and a desire to understand.   He was not abused.   Nor did he blame my father.

Eventually, I realized, it simply doesn’t matter.  If he is not choosing to be gay, it matters not what the origins are.  The result is the same.

Then…  HOW?  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  How could he possibly be attracted to… MEN???    He was so patient, calmly explaining things to me over and over.  He asked me to tell him why I loved Rick.  Why I was attracted to him.  And when I did, he said, “me too.”  And I understood a bit more.  I never made a conscious choice to like men instead of women…  It just IS.  And the things that I loved about my husband and reasons for my attraction were all basically things that my brother was also wanting in a relationship.  I am not interested in having a romantic relationship with a female, and neither was he.

It was the first time I had ever really pondered love, attraction, relationships, sex, so comprehensively, and from such a distance.  I realized that my perception of being gay was just about the sex.  What a ridiculous, simplistic view.  Love is love.  Sexual attraction is important, but certainly not the most important part of a romantic relationship.  DUH.   It seems unnecessary to even write about this, but it was a revelation to me.  An idea that had never presented itself in my community, in my upbringing, in my religion.

Then… what can be done?  I  read and researched ways to “cure” being gay.  He could go to  terrible places that teach inauthenticity, repression, shame, and impossible expectations.  When those don’t work, they hook you up to electrodes and physically “shock” those deviant gay feelings right out of your body.

Erm, NO.

Several months in to these discussions and as my understanding unfolded, I remember telling my brother that after careful consideration, I felt that if it meant fitting into mainstream society, avoiding painful rejection and ridicule, and being able to have a traditional family, I would give it a go… and have a relationship with another woman, despite it not being my preference. So… maybe he should go try to date women first.

In that conversation,  my ability to empathize with desperate gay people who marry, have four kids, and are caught cheating on their wives with other men was born.   These horrifying, naive suggestions… this  ill-formed advice was rampant in mormon culture at the time.  Marry!  Have kids!  Find out that you were wrong about who you are all along, and we were right!  Jesus will change you!

Thank God my brother weathered these inane conversations with me.  He watched my understanding unfurl from a tightly folded, tiny piece of closed-minded ignorance into a greater understanding.  With the understanding came more real support and love.

Eventually, we made plans to tell my parents.  It was truly a scary time for me, knowing it would change my family in drastic ways. I didn’t know if my parents would be able to handle it, to be honest.  I felt fiercely protective of him… the idea of him witnessing their shock, the potential of hurtful words and tears… I could barely stand the idea of it.   If it was scary for me, it must have been a time of blinding, paralyzing terror for my brother.

We knew the long road we would be going to down to redefine expectation and the story of how everything has to be.  What it means to support  and what it means to be honorable and authentic.

What it means to really LOVE someone.

It’s crazy what happens when you are willing to take a step outside of your judgement and examine what you have been standing on.  The foundation of your ideas about something that seems so foreign and threatening…. is really just irrational fear.  It is dishonorable enmity born out of ignorance.

Once armed with my newly developed understanding, and countless hours of conversation, once my brother had moved out of my parents’ home and lived a comfortable distance away, I told my parents for him, as we had planned.  Their initial reactions, their shock, their questions were first absorbed by me.

Even then, I did not support gay marriage….because what about society?  and the children?!!?! what about the children!!!  Every single message I had ever heard in my life surrounding gay marriage was about how it would destroy the very fabric of society, and children would suffer.  It sounds real.  And scary.  Who wants the fabric of society shredded?  And poor little children to suffer?

I remember a specific, terrible night when my brother and mother and I went out to dinner and my brother was left to defend himself on this issue.

I loved him.  I supported him.  I did not think he chose to be gay.  But should he be allowed to destroy traditional marriage?  Bring kids into a home without a mother?

I had two little girls at the time.  How would I explain their uncle to them?  Will I allow him and a boyfriend to come visit?  Display affection?

It all seemed so scary…. so scary because it had been presented that way to me by my culture and my religious leaders, and the politics I subscribed to.  It takes a lot of de-programming to see the underbelly of this particular bigoted beast.

Fear.

Fear unfounded.

Gay Love is simply  LOVE.

Love is love, people.

It turns out, it was really not that hard to explain to my kids.  One day, they asked me if my brother had a girlfriend.  I told them he did not, but he actually wants to date boys, so he would have a boyfriend someday.  They nodded, shrugged, and asked for a snack.

One day, my brother had a boyfriend.  I showed my kids pictures of them together.  They thought he was really cute, and their uncle looked really happy.

One day, they came for Thanksgiving.  And they held hands, and kissed after the Thanksgiving toast.  They played games and made the kids laugh and made memories.

One, big, happy family.   It was normal because it was normal.

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We are complicated beings.  Emotionally.  Sexually.  Intellectually.

Being in love can be complicated, as most of us know.

But supporting love is not complicated.

The other day, my husband and I were visiting my brother in New York.  His roommate asked how it was, when we found out my brother was gay.  And I wanted to say it was great.  I was the loving, supportive sister who made him feel totally safe and secure and loved.   While that was always my intent, that is not what happened.  Most of that journey is a great embarrassment to me now.    Peeling back layers of judgement and fear can expose some pretty ugly pieces.  Under all that, is the glorious recognition that none of the differences that  keep us separate and critical are there.

I felt the need to outline this story because I recognize there is a huge leap in understanding that must happen to help people out of their locked-in beliefs about the LGBT community.  I try to exercise patience with others as my brother did for me, while I found my way out of that trap of intolerance.  In fact, it is not a leap, but a shedding of skin, the callous layers that we keep to protect us from people that are simply wanting all the same things everyone wants.

Love.  Acceptance.  Safety. Affection.  Respect.

Surprise findings:   Giving another human being these things is not going to shred the very fabric of society, or ruin your children.

Your children will benefit from your willingness to get rid of those callouses and be open to more LOVE in the world.  They may be one of those tender souls that the anti-gay movement is so visciously attacking.   It may be your vulnerable child you are burning painful scars into with your bigoted remarks and support of anti-gay rhetoric.  It might be your child that will sit at the lunch counter and be refused service because of who they are.

Enormous, painful, angry, wrenching rejection… that is what has been happening in my family since my brother came out.

But thankfully, my brother was not the target.  My parents refused to be a part of their culture, an organization that they had previously devoted their entire lives to. My other brother and his wife refused as well.  We have all marched out of the mormon church.

We reject the notion that my parents should reject their son. We reject the ridiculous stand that suggests that my brother should live his life void of the most basic human need… the need to love and be loved.   We reject the idea that being gay is like be an alcoholic.  For holding hands with someone, feeling love and affection and connection found in romantic love is not the same as having a beer.  We reject the  preposterous suggestion that only a married mother and father can raise a healthy child.  We reject the idea that being openly bigoted toward the LGBT community is in anyway associated with being Christ-like.  We reject the theory that eliminating more judgement, bigotry and hate in our society by allowing gay people to get married and yes, buy a wedding cake, will threaten others’ ability to carry out their religious freedoms.

It is not “hate the sin, love the sinner.”  That is not love.

The fact that you watch Ellen, are friends with a gay person, tolerate them at your dinner table or let them give you a hair cut does not translate into real love and acceptance.

It is not possible to “love gay people” and stand against their ability to be a normal, everyday, respected members of the community.  That is not love.

Love thy neighbor as thyself.  Do unto others.   Magnify joy.  Celebrate love.  This will not shred us, it will make us whole.

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199 thoughts on “Peeling Back Layers of Ugly: The Gay Reality

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I grew up Seventh-day Adventist, and my journey to come to a similar space started five years ago when I started going to a small, non-traditional church that truly was a safe and welcoming place for all. When I realized the huge challenges and injustices that LGBT Adventists faced, my husband and I decided to make a film–and five years later, we are just finishing. We spent last year on the road at festivals and other screenings, and the transformational space that opens up when people just listen to the stories of those they have long judged and had so many assumptions about is profound. Many mormons have said that even though the film is set in the context of Adventism, it completely resonates with their experiences as well. I’d love to share a copy with you (my email is daneen at daneenakers dot com).

    My own daughter has accepted that love is what makes a family very easily. It makes me realize that it’s intolerance that has to be taught.

    Thanks so much. This is so beautiful.

    • It is hard when your family finds out and they stop loving you, disowns you and someone you love is gone out of your life forever. It literally kills you as the gay person on the inside. People say being gay is a choice. I don’t like rejection, I don’t like it when my parent tell me they hate fags and queers.

      • I am so sorry you have experience this kind of pain and rejection Larry. What a terrible reaction. I hope you have others to give you much love and support. Much love to you.

      • As a parent I can’t imagine disowning a child over this and I am really sorry that it is even an issue. I grew up with a mother that was the type that would definitely have no problem cutting off a gay child (actually any child that did not go along with her hypocrisy) I am straight but my mother managed to stab me in the back while I went through a very nasty divorce and I cut her totally out of my life. Although we have different situations it is hurtful when a parent that is supposed to love and protect you does the complete opposite. As you get older and make a life for yourself it does become easier. If you have children you understand it less but it will hopefully make you a better, more loving parent.

      • I am sorry you had to go through the rejection of a parent. That truly must be some of the worst pain a person can endure. My heart goes out to you.

  2. I truly believe most of the leaders and a lot of people in the Mormon Church have not been dealing with the gay issues very well. however, it is not church doctrine that you should reject your son if he is gay. people are not perfect. I loved reading your journey, and I think it was great that you went through that. I believe that the Mormon Church is true, but I also believe that they have not dealt with the gay thing very well.

    I just wanted to clear up at the church does not teach to reject your child maybe some misguided leaders say that but that is not church doctrine. I support gay marriage, just fyi

    • Katie, thank you for supporting gay marriage! I am so glad to know there are those within the church that are willing to stand up for gay rights, despite the official church stance. To clarify, there are current articles and talks given by church officials that teach parents to hold firm in not allowing their gay children to “act” on their “gay urges” and to not allow them to bring their significant other’s around… the leaders are firm on the belief that gay mormons should live a life completely void of love and affection. This is a form of rejection, in my opinion. I am grateful that there are active members willing to acknowledge this hurtful mistake.

      • The mixed messages drive me almost crazy. What gives me hope is knowing there are LDS members and leaders that are open to loving and accepting LGBT in relationships. One apostle actually has a gay brother who is in a long-term relationship. They are welcomed and loved just as any other part of the family.

        Thank you for your honest, loving words.

  3. I couldn’t disagree more. Since the author comes out as a person reared in Christianity I will feel free to use Biblical ideals. Anything that interferes with the relationship with Christ and is denoted as “sin” in Gods word is just that. Homosexuality is purposefully and openly stated in the Bible as being a sin a punishable with destruction the same as many other sins. When a false narrative of acceptance and re designating homosexuality as good and wonderful is made then the danger is that others will accept that narrative and experiment with homosexuality and it will also embolden the person practicing it to make no effort to extricate themselves from this sin and therefore they will be “lost”.
    Don’t try to tell me that all or even most homosexuals are “born that way”. I deal with lesbianism especially, almost on a daily basis and based on multiple conversations and on many observations I know that many, possibly even most, lesbians CHOOSE the life based on past abuses by men and by another lesbian who has befriended them and shown them “love”.
    The Bible, in the New Testament, actually lists homosexuality in with common sins of new gentile believers and notes that God gives the victory over those sins, including homosexuality.
    To deny homosexuality as a sin and to deny the power of God to bring victory over that sin is to deny Christ as the Son of God and the answer to ALL sin.

    • Jeff,

      Let me make something clear to your legalistic, Pharisaic, and performance-driven version of Christianity.

      1) The Bible accuses self-righteousness and unrighteousness EQUALLY. So before you tell someone to stop acting in a way you accuse as ‘unrighteous’, you should stop judging someone for their ‘unrighteousness’. Any form of accusation against unrighteousness reveals self-righteousness from the accuser because within that accusation is a hidden sense of judgement; this is due to our desire to compare one another in a desperate attempt to find ways that we are ‘better’ than ‘that person.

      Also, while you are at it, you should stop feeling proud, lusting at any given moment, getting angry about anything even if it is justified, taking any oaths, having any immoral thoughts at any time even against your enemies… are you getting my point yet?

      2) Your notion of Christianity turns the Gospel into a divine blueprint for better living, turning salvation into nothing more than a re-arrangement of priorities and lifestyle adjustments. Surely, if this is how you interpret Scriptures, then you are completely missing Jesus altogether. Jesus loved criminals like Barabbas and whores and lepers; not only did he love them but he took their sin on His shoulders for absolutely nothing in return. Do you dare categorize homosexuals as worse than these??? Or are you so blind from your own log???

    • “the dangers of experiment homosexuality..” And what are the dangers of girls kissing girls? Did you not read, their whole family walked out of the Mormon church, so that means there’s no point in spouting your Bible anymore to them. God will not change people from being homosexual. The lesbians you have dealt with are confuse because of people like you who steer them away from being true to themselves. They were not strong enough to know who they were because society keeps on condemning homosexuals.

    • Jeff, I have two problems when what you’ve said in your comment. First, you are working under a misconception. The original Bible did not speak to homosexuality at all. The Bible has been translated numerous times throughout its history, and only through those translations were references to homosexuality added. You see, translations are made based on the morals and ethics of the translator at the time of translation. When a word in the original Bible had no parallel meaning in the language into which it was being translated, the translator chose a word he considered “close enough.” Homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised standard Version, so it’s easy to see where the idea that homosexuality is a sin came from when you consider the time in which it was translated. Secondly, the Bible does not differentiate sin based on value. A sin is a sin is a sin. According to the Bible, one is not worse than the other; therefore, you are as guilty of sin as a gay person is (if being gay were a sin, and I don’t think it is). Your judgement of others could be considered a sin, since the Bible instructs us to “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” If that is the case, you are interfering with your relationship with Christ by being judgmental of others.

    • You would really get along with my mother. I’m pretty sure I have emails and multi-page handwritten letters with these exact words. I read these heart warming stories (including the one here, that brought me to tears) of parents who fully accept and appreciate their children for who they are. And then I scroll down and see that my parents are not alone in their judgment and fear. It doesn’t feel great to be a child of parents who adopt this version of “Christianity”. But I am grateful that parents– and siblings– do exist in the world who are willing to peel back the layers of skin to reveal love.

    • Not to be antagonistic, but this is your belief, your faith, in your heart you know that you are right.

      In my heart I know that I am right, I Love ALL people, without exception or prejudice or conditions. Because of who they are.

    • I completely agree with Jeff. Everyone seems to be jumping at the chance to dismiss him as legalistic, but are ignoring the other side of the coin. License. God warns about both in the bible. Legalism is thinking that works gain you salvation, license means you use that salvation to sin and dismiss the damage done because “hey I believe in Jesus, I’m already going to heaven anyways”. God loves everybody, even those who reject Him. But God detests sin, and the unrepentant sinner is in just as much spiritual danger as a non-believer. I do not think it it is morally acceptable for a Christian to demonize and hate homosexuals, but I think it is our responsibility to steer people in the right direction showing love and compassion at the same time like Jesus did. He never once denounced anybody and brought many people to faith. I don’t hate homsexuals, I’m just realistic about their lifestyle and the spiritual damage it causes.

      • If that is your feelings about homosexuals, and your interpretation of Jesus’s message, then this is something you can practice within your home and in your conversations and in front of your church. You can practice your belief. But it is not a christian’s job to “steer people” toward your personal beliefs by making their relationships less valid legally. We don’t want to live in a country where one’s beliefs about what is and what is not spiritually damaging dictates law. There are religions in the world that believe women should keep their faces covered in public. Or that eating pork is wrong. But we don’t want to make their religious practice law, any more than we should make your biblical interpretation law. The truth is, there are many loving christian people that believe that they would not “demonize or hate” gays, but do not support gay marriage. Making it illegal to marry IS demonizing and hurtful. The act of judging and taking away something you belief is honorable and important IS unkind and promotes cruelty. This action needs to be seen as such. You can not claim to be loving toward LGBT people and deny them their rights. I did not understand that either; thankfully I have a very, very patient brother. He waited for me to understand.

  4. I was loving your article and loving that Gardner had such a great resource & friend in you. So many have no support. And you have been one heck of a remarkable sister. So anyway, what I meant about “loving” it, was that I was loving it until all of a sudden you changed the story. From this sweet heartfelt journey about loving and supporting Gardner to one about bashing the Mormon Church and abandoning your faith. I think you said your family “marched” right out of their Church. That doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything to support your brother. It kind of feels like the weak thing to do. Instead of staying and trying to teach the other members about how to love gay members, you walk away, and leave them floundering in their own narrow-mindedness. It’s interesting you point out in some of your comments that the Church is fighting against gay rights. In reality that is just not the case. They are fighting against gay marriage. They are actually pretty supportive of gay rights, other than marriage, from what I’ve seen.
    So anyway, I love that Gardner has a loving and accepting family. I REALLY LOVE IT!!! I just feel really bad that you gave up your faith to do so. Or I think that’s what you’ve done. Walking away from your convictions to show him you love him doesn’t really seem like you really do. And that makes me kind of sad. My best to your sweet brother…..

      • They would NOT be kicked out for loving and supporting their son/brother. They would have to make the choice to leave…one way or another. But the choice would be theirs. Not sure why you would say what isn’t true.

    • megpoulinindeed, really lovely evolution, thank you for sharing your story. The more people who are directly affected like you, your brother and family, and recognize that love trumps dogma and ideology, the better off we’re all going to be.

      LarryJ, “It’s interesting you point out in some of your comments that the Church is fighting against gay rights. In reality that is just not the case. They are fighting against gay marriage. They are actually pretty supportive of gay rights, other than marriage, from what I’ve seen.”

      –Other than the $40M+ in Mormon money donated to the Prop 8 passage alone, and the thousands of believers bused in from Utah to walk precincts in California, and the other countless dollars and man-hours spent to block civil liberties for your fellow tax paying Americans all over the country, and the various comments here about fellow church goers sewing fear and derision, you are SPOT ON!

      Thanks for standing up for your gay brothers and sisters, right up to the point where it actually matters.

      If you have specific examples of which gay rights (besides marriage) are supported with money and manpower by the Mormon Church, would love to read about them. So far, all I’ve heard is that the Church demands civility for “both sides” of the argument. Which I guess is better than Westboro Baptists’ stance, but not really marching arm in arm with gays in the church or outside of it, for employment equality, marriage equality or other civil rights afforded your fellow citizens. The fact that Meg’s family felt like they had to march on out of the Church to support their son/brother is pretty damning.

      • Thank you for making this incredibly important point. The right to marry is a fundamental right that needs to be the first step in equality. And, the LDS church has done more than any other organization to rally against gay marriage. Beautifully stated.

  5. This is a fantastic article. Thank you so much for writing this! Like you, I had all of these notions drilled into me through Primary and Young Men’s. I fortunately wasn’t in California during the Prop 8 days, but see what was going on really shook me. The animosity on both sides was shameful. Surely we can be better humans than that!

    Since then, I’ve had many gay friends, and you know what? They’re normal people. They love the same way that I love. They care the same way that I care. I really wish the LDS Church could just get over this.

  6. I want to thank you for writing this! I’m a gay guy in Kentucky. I didn’t grow up in a religious family, but I definitely overhear the discussions other people have about it very often. I’m glad your brother has you …to be honest a sibling that I could talk to about it growing up would have probably helped a whole lot early on. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I read your blog post and somthing has been gnawing in my mind ever since so I will try to share those thoughts. Full disclosure I am a member of the LDS faith and I agree that there are individuals who do treat others in a non-Christ like way and that makes me sad. I do wish that we could all love unconditionally. I know in my life and on my journey I have mistreated several and not lived the principles I committed to follow in the waters of baptism at all times. I understand why you and your family left the faith and I respect your decision but I don’t agree with it which by your definition is not true tolerance. The problem is that your definition is too narrow. And you will find that even in your own life you can live up to a definition that says tolerance has to be agreeing. Acceptance of a person is not agreeing. That has never been the definition of the word until this generation. I love that your family rallied around your brother and supported him and I am sad that it caused you to leave the church. I know the church is true and that there are people who I disagree with and I still love them. Heck, even in my family there are people that do lots of things I disagree with but I do love them whole hardly. I guess that is where we disagree because you told me what was in my hart because I do think that any sex outside of a married couple, man and women, is a sin but I know that I am a sinner and don’t need to wait time on judging others, but you have declared what is in my hart because I believe in sin. When you say I have to agree with you wholly or I can not truly accept you then there is no room for discussion or discovery. I understand you spoke your truths that you have discovered but please do tell other people what are in their harts because you then commit the same sin you wanted to protect you brother from. Sorry I rambled on and I am not very eloquent but they are my thought and thank you for sharing your story. It has challenged me to look further into my life and be a more loving individual like you family did for your brother.

    • Milton, I appreciate your open communication. For clarification, I left the mormon church for a long, complex list of reasons. Those reasons did not need to be mentioned in my post about my brother. You can read other posts on my blog if you want those reasons explained. Defending someone who is being discriminated against, protecting the downtrodden, should not be considered an equal act of discrimination. Religious organizations such as the LDS church, who seek to withhold the right to marry from others, is not on equal playing field with my gay brother. His rights and standing in our community are being held hostage by religious people that wish to make law based on their religious point of view. Your ability to marry, or maintain your right to exclude my brother from participating in a mormon temple ceremony is not being prohibited. Your right to view him as a sinner is not being outlawed. You are standing from a point of privilege, and withholding that privilege from others. Me pointing this out does not put me in the same discriminating position. I am calling out an injustice. Were people who fought for legal interracial marriage discriminating against white people? Or simply fighting for equality? This is not a simple matter of differing opinions, Milton. You are taking something from my brother. He is taking nothing from you. He should not have to follow mormon rules or christian rules or any other religious rules in order to get a civil marriage. I am so happy that you read my post and are willing to engage in these tough discussions. It is uncomfortable to delve into these ideas. I acknowledge that you are trying to open a friendly dialogue.

      • Very, very well said Megan. Thank you for using your voice to challenge ignorance.

      • Megan, I fully understand the civil rights side of the debate, and thank you for your respectful reply. My contention was more about the statement was more directed about the nerrow definition of love. I understand that this topic is very sensitive but I get to decide if I am loving in the way that my values teach. I fully respect and I love those in my life who live diffrent values then myself and I think it’s counter productive to tell other people how their harts are behaving. I think we have more that we agree on in life then we disagree on and this issue could have been solved better if both sides stopped telling the other sides intention. I don’t hate gays, nor am I homophobic. I fully support anyone living with whom they choose and any religion that want to marry whom ever they choose. But let’s stop interpreting others hart. Let’s look at the others action and if I act in a loving then chances are I am a loving person as this blog so eloquently described.

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  9. So many of my life experiences are different than yours, but the journey from accepting someone you love is gay to *really* understanding that even the people you don’t know deserve total equality was very similar. I never had the courage to ask the questions you asked of your brother, so it took me a lot longer to find my way. But here we both are. I wish I’d gotten here sooner, but I can see what held me back. I feel no shame for my journey… there was a lot to overcome!… and I hope you will let yours go, too.

    • Thank you! It is a journey, and I am so glad you have been there. Let’s hope that others will decided to follow suit, and examine their own misguided judgements. There is no reason to judge love as “good” or “bad.” All we need is more.

  10. This is beautiful, it made me cry because I too have many wonderful amazing gay and lesbian people in my lives. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is lust, gossip, lying, divorce and so many other things embraced and practiced by our society and done by even the most devout Christians. I struggle with pain and fear for all of my loved ones, including my darling husband, who is an atheist. God knows our hearts and he knows our struggles, He knows our sins and our weaknesses. We cannot as believers choose to rally against a certain sin because it is an easy target. I do know of people who have decided to live celibate lives in order to please God in a way they chose, and those who were “cured” by their faith. Do I believe some people choose to be gay? Of course, they are usually bisexual who happen to fall in love with someone who is the same sex. I for one choose to love everyone above all else. If they ask me about what the Bible says I am honest, but if not I love them where they are and save my rebuking for those who openly embrace God and have a loving sister-like relationship with me through Christ (we are called to help one another on our journey in our faith, even if that means pointing out willful sinning). Jesus di not come to save the world with hate speech and disgust. He came in a sacrificial manner, and that is how I choose to treat all of those who cross my path.

  11. Beautiful. You’re lucky to have a brother who is patient, kind, and willing to expand your knowledge on a journey you never thought you’d be on. And your brother is lucky to have a sibling willing to fight the good fight on his behalf. Nobody chooses to be gay. We don’t choose to be hated and discriminated against. We don’t choose to be potentially bashed, or killed in some countries. We don’t choose to be disowned or thrown out on the streets. We choose simply to live our true and authentic selves. The alternative is simply a huge burden on one’s health and emotional well-being…not to mention the hurt it causes to those who are caught up in the art of deception and lying.

  12. Thank you for being a loving sibling. Too many gay teens’ lives, families and relationships have been ruined by religion. Thank God you are more loving than some churches. I wrote a novel about this very subject entitled THE KINGDOM. You may want to check it out on my website http://www.tomhardinbooks.com Peace and love to all.

  13. This is a beautiful piece and you have done an amazing thing for your brother and the rest of us in the LGBT community. You should not be embarrassed by anything you felt along the way–it takes deep courage to confront intolerance within yourself and not check out when what you find makes you feel uncomfortable. You clearly stuck with it because of the love that you have for your brother; that’s remarkable, and you should be proud.

    It also takes courage to write a piece like this. This courage keeps LGBT kids and adults alive every day. I know, because I do crisis intervention and suicide prevention work with LGBT youth and I talk to kids every day who are thinking about killing themselves and can’t find an ally anywhere in their lives. Not a single one. But the voices of straight allies like you were critical to my own coming out process, and the more you keep talking, the more your love will help lift people who are feeling that crushing pain of rejection that you mention up, buoying them while they uncover love within themselves. Much as you did.

    • I am overwhelmed by this kind note, Stephen. Thank you so, so much. I feel so much for those lonely, suffering people. I will continue to speak out, because it is SO important, as you stated, to have straight people willing to fight for these rights too. To show others that it is possible to change your mind, your heart. I really needed to read this message this morning so thank you.

      • You are welcome! It’s quite clear to me that you have always had a beautiful mind and heart. What you found in yourself was the open space to connect with your brother, a space that was already there, one with which you were already familiar, one that was just hanging out, awaiting your return.

        I am reminded of Pema Chodron, who writes the following: “Our capacity to love is an unstoppable essence that when nurtured can expand without limit…When we tune into any of our feelings, become aware any of our feelings, they have the capacity to soften us and to dissolve the barriers we put up between ourselves and others.”

        Contrary to what you might think, she’s talking, there, especially, about negative feelings–pain, fear, rage, jealousy, disgust. We are taught from a very young age to use these feelings to solidify ourselves, to use them with a sense of certainty and security in an attempt to find solid ground. We direct our disgust at the LGBT community because the church tells us to; we direct our anger at the church because of the damage it does to the LGBT community. On “both sides,” all sides and angles of the conversation, the behavior is the same: we try to discharge our pain and discomfort by erecting barriers between ourselves and others, by attempting to use our emotions to create distance between us and what makes us uncomfortable.

        Of course, this doesn’t work 🙂 Luckily, there is another path we could try out. In our darkest moments, when we feel the most stuck, we could let those feelings remind us that we are all in the same boat. These feelings are our raw humanity, what it means to be a person in its most basic form, things that we share with people all around the world right now who are hungry, cold, lost, abused, tired, in grave danger or great pain. Or just angry at their lovers. Whatever it is, we could look at it, and let it open us to one another, instead of our usual habit of closing down. She continues:

        “Love and compassion are like the weak spots in the walls of ego. They are like a naturally occurring opening. And they are the opening we take. If we connect with even one moment of good heart or compassion and cherish it, our ability to open will gradually expand. “

    • Stephen, I have felt called to be an ally to kids (or anyone, I guess!) who is going through this situation – LGBT people who can’t find an ally anywhere in their lives. You work with those kids – have you any idea how I could get involved in that? I have a full-time job and am not looking for a career change, just a way to be supportive. Thanks!

      • Hi Carey,

        I work with the Trevor Project–www.trevorproject.org. They are great. Reach out to them and they will get in touch about helping out!

      • Stephen, thank you so much! I appreciate your pointing me in the right direction!

        -Carey

  14. Wow… Your article really spoke to me on so many levels. I was raised in a strict, fundamentalist Christian family, and only slowly began to learn tolerance and true acceptance in high school. I say slowly, because, like you, I had an experience with a gay person coming out to me and me realizing now that I did not handle it as well as I thought at the time. The layers you speak of, the rationalizing through different levels of intolerance, and the final conclusion that love is the only truly important thing. I see myself in each stage of “acceptance” you describe, from wouldn’t it just be easier to pretend to be straight to I love and accept you but it is still wrong to allow you to get married all the long journey to true tolerance. And when I had kids of my own, I made a conscious choice to teach them tolerance from the very beginning, although deep down I wondered if they might be horrified and warped from my lack of “boundaries” for acceptable behavior. This worry was unfounded, as my children have embraced the concept that people can be different and that’s okay, that there are many kinds of normal, that there is really no reason to judge others. My kids push me past the comfort zone of my own tolerance at times, and I have learned from those experiences. My 5 year old son asked for a purse when he saw a cool one on clearance in the mall. The same son asked to have another blue peg in his car when he got married during the game of Life. His cousin and best friend requested a bright pink cast when he broke his arm. These kids are forcing me to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and I am thankful for that! Reading your article makes me feel better for the things I told that long ago high school friend that probably broke his heart at the time, but I know now will at least not be repeated when my own children have someone come out to them!

  15. My family is LDS. The only thing I took when I decided no longer to attend church was that Jesus Christ gave us ONE new commandment, LOVE ONE ANOTHER. This is simple, direct and concise. We as humans are supposed to just love one another. Each and everyone of us are wonderful, unique and good enough just the way we are. So go on and love yourself. And love those that are part of your life and those that are not. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I am love, you are love, we are love.

  16. Stories like this need to be told. The LGBT community needs advocates who will openly share their stories too. When I came out I lost my brothers/sisters/parents as they chose to “love the sinner, but not the sin.” I lost my wonderful and amazing nieces and nephews as a result of “protecting the children.” I know a few of these children are gay, although the parent’s would never admit it, and under the veil of church doctrine I am used as an example of what not to become. With each stab at me, these children feel a dagger of hatred for themselves. My story with my family has no happy ending from that perspective, but even with all of that loss, I wouldn’t change the love and life I have gained from that day forward. Stories like these give hope to these children, the hopeless, that not every closeted, terrified, lonely, mormon boy/girl has to lose everyone they love to finally be honest with themselves. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    • Thank you Jake. What a heartbreaking story. I hurt for you, and the kids that are being shamed every day. It is a dangerous practice, with sometimes devastating consequences. I agree that more straight people like myself need to tell stories of support, to help the LGBT community see that they are not alone and there are people who are capable of change, and passionate about their well-being. Much love to you.

  17. I see that many people have thanked you already but I will do the same. My friend found this article after I told her about the lack of connection with my oldest brother. I do my best to be involved in his life and the lives of my two nephews. Nothing seems to work. Reading this made me so grateful that there are those that recognize what sibling love is. Thank you for your valiant effort to make a change.

    • Thanks Seth. I am sorry you aren’t able to connect in with family more easily. It’s so hard… it is so generous of you to continue trying. I hope they soften soon and realize the gift you are in their lives.

  18. Reblogged this on BarkingShaman.com and commented:
    A heart-wrenching and heartfelt account of a sister’s challenging journey into accepting her gay brother. It’s a good read about how love really can conquer. Most importantly though, stories like this one are useful reminders in a time when the dominant narrative in the LGBT world is that people who aren’t instantly accepting are inherently lost to our lives. As the struggle for equality has progressed, the community narrative has begun loosing sight of the fact that some of our best allies and staunchest supporters had to work to get there.

  19. GOOD for you for loving your brother more than yourself, because that is what this amounts to. And kudos to your family for doing the same. I have a pretty good idea how difficult it must have been.

    I spent my first 36 years in the LDS church, but I never bought into the attitude that homosexuality is a choice. (Of course, the fact that I was born and raised in San Francisco might have had something to do with that.) I left the church for other reasons, but the attitude towards members of the GLBTQ community is one of the reasons I would never go back. It’s not love, it’s judgment.

    My favorite version of the “judge not” verse from the Bible actually comes from the “Good News for Modern Man” version: “Do you, my friend, pass judgment on others? You have no excuse at all, whoever you are.” Amen.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story. It is another light to help others find a way through the darkness and a beacon to those searching for love and inclusion in the family of humanity.

  21. Thanks for this. — Ideas or real things, real people: Put real things, real people first.

    Ox in the ditch on the Sabbath, WORK NOT ALLOWED. That’s the idea. But: There that ox is. It needs hauled out. Put real things first, haul out that ox.

    Boy grows up and falls in love with a man, girl grows up and falls in love with a woman, GAYS AND LESBIANS NOT ALLOWED — yeah. That’s the idea. But there those gays and lesbians are. They’re real. Put them first, love them, let them love.

  22. Meg: Thanks for such a kind and eloquent post. As a gay man who wasn’t able to come out until well into adulthood, I really appreciate the sentiments you present here — Not just for the love and acceptance you advocate, but for your honesty in acknowledging that the journey to such acceptance isn’t an easy one. As you say: watching “Ellen” isn’t the same thing as truly embracing equality.

    It takes time to reach the place where you are now. Thanks for this.

  23. This is an amazing post. I have several friends who have told me they support me but don’t support me being able to marry the person I love. It’s been difficult being friends with them, but I hope at some point they’ll come around and realize their views are flawed and accept me completely and totally. Until then, I forgive them each day for what they don’t understand and love them for who they are.

    That said, you are an amazing person, and your brother is lucky to have you. The fact that you were able to work through those prejudices you didn’t even know were within you is astounding and beautiful. I hope more people follow your example.

    • Thank you. I think it is impressive that you are so forgiving and kind, and consider people your friends despite their ability to truly accept you. This shows such bravery and patience. This kind of patience is necessary, so that straight people can experience the obvious fact that gay people are no different than they are. But I can appreciate how hard it would be to live with the sting that is ever-present in your interactions. I feel that sting for you now, and want to much to help others open their hearts. One person at a time.

  24. Love and intimacy are human needs. Sex is not.

    The present age of debates about homosexuality ideally will help us as humanity to improve in our ability and skills to authentically encounter and support all people. Beautifully, the personal stories of mistreatment of people with homosexual orientations has fostered and served as a catalyst to the conversations and anti-bullying for all people.

    The areas of our human lives are intertwined. It’s impossible to fully talk about one area of life without pulling in others and quickly changing the subject. As we work to help support people with homosexual orientations–that they might encounter and experience authentic love and intimacy in their lives, may we never confuse that with the false idea of a need for sex and a right to live out sexual desires. Once we do, the dignity of the human person–homo or heterosexual–is already undermined.

  25. I usually never comment on random blog posts but I wanted to say how much I appreciate and love what you did and that you made it known to the world. I was mormon, but after being in California during the Prop 8 debacle I decided I couldn’t be a part of an organization that judged others so harshly for love, which is what I think religion and the church should be all about. My mother did not take too kindly to the fact that I chose to leave the church, but I am glad to be on the side of love and acceptance, and I am glad you and your family are too!

    • Thanks for commenting Emmy… And thank you for standing up for people who need our support and love. Prop 8 was a real nightmare, and did irreparable damage to countless people. Lives were lost in that terrible fear-driven campaign. I am so glad you were strong enough to say NO to that kind of hurt. Thank you.

  26. You know all the “It Gets Better” videos going around? Here’s one from LDS at BYU. I find it really powerful. For anyone who’s LDS and gay, anyone who’s LDS and an ally, anyone who’s in _another_ strict fundamentalist religion and gay or an ally, you should take a look. This is one of those Important Things. Your family is everywhere, even where you think you’re alone. http://youtu.be/Ym0jXg-hKCI

    • Thank you… I watched this video when it came out in 2012. I will say, I wept bitterly after watching it. I had such a strong response to it because I was so proud of these incredibly brave people, and their desire to give hope to others. They were bitter tears because the LDS church believes that gay people must live a completely celibate life… and what they mean by celibate, is that they must never, ever “act out” on their “homosexual desires.” This includes holding hands. These gay students at BYU could be kicked out of school and subject to other disciplinary church action by simply walking through campus holding hands. In the same year, the LDS church released an interview with one of their apostles, one of the highest positions of authority in the church, and this was the advice he gave to parents of these gay LDS kids. ” ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your “partnership.” It is so important for other LDS gay people to see this video and not feel so alone… but they are still in an environment that is painful and full of rejection. It makes me hurt for them.

  27. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I was more fortunate. I was almost 40 yrs old when I came out to my mother. She was 88. I told her fully expecting her to tell me how terrible I was and i better change my ways. This was how I grew up. Never doing anything right. So imagine my surprise when I told her and she said “are you happy?” and I said yes happier than I had ever been. Then the biggest surprise of all, she gave me a kiss and a hug and said “that’s all I ever wanted for you.” That was the best moment of my life. We didn’t hug when I was growing up, but from that day on it was a regular occurrence. It breaks my heart to know that there are families who turn their gay/lesbian family member out of their lives. To me they are saying God made a mistake when He made you. Well, I don’t believe God makes mistakes. We are ALL His children, He made each of us. God bless you both.

    • What an incredible story! I found myself nervously holding my breath for you… a forty year old coming out to an 88 year old mom… and what a perfect and beautiful response. How affirming and loving! It is never too late to find healing. Thanks for sharing this story!

  28. Meg, I truly appreciate you sharing this blog. I don’t have a gay brother, but a gay son. When he came out to me after his mission, I was a lot like you, and your experience and evolution parallels mine in many ways. I, too, learned what I didn’t know before, that homosexuality/SGA/gayness is not a choice, just as heterosexuality (or something in between) is not a choice. (Incidentally, someone’s earlier comment, that homosexuality is a sin, reminded me that heterosexuality is also a sin in certain circumstances. It depends on the circumstances in which it is practiced. Conversely, in some cases heterosexuality is not a sin, and it follows that, in some cases homosexuality isn’t either.) I, too, reject the notion that parents should reject their gay children. I reject most of what you reject. But I don’t reject the Church. I cannot reject it because I have been taught by the Holy Spirit that it is the Lord’s, that it is authentically His. I cannot reject it because the Book of Mormon has taught me sublime lessons about Christ, His power and love for all of God’s children. His spirit has taught me of these truths, so I cannot turn from that. But, I have also come to recognize that apostles and prophets are not perfect, not infallible. Many in the church see them this way, but even those leaders do not claim to be infallible. Because of the things I have learned through my experience with my son, my understanding about sustaining apostles and prophets and church leaders has changed. I no longer blindly believe every word they say. I do believe they are duly authorized to administer the covenants we must make with God to access the blessings of eternity. By recognizing and honoring this, I sustain them. But I also understand that I should not accept every word that falls from their lips as solid truth, because they are men, and are imperfect like me. When they speak in General Conference, or print something in the Ensign, they might interject their personal opinion, knowingly or not. Although they have good hearts, and are men of sound mind and understanding, they may err. (Jesus told Joseph Smith of the professors of religion in that day, that “their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, …but they deny the power thereof.” Today, I believe, for the most part, that the hearts of church leaders are near to the Savior, but as they strive to teach the commandments of God, I think they sometimes blend in their own culturally informed opinions.) To truly sustain those church leaders, I believe I must listen and carefully consider what they say, and then ask God if it is true. Only if He confirms to me that something is true am I constrained to accept it. Something Wilford Woodruff is credited to have said leads many LDS to believe that the Lord will not permit any prophet to lead the people astray. If we LDS members will do as I’ve described, and find out from God for ourselves what is and is not true, church leaders cannot lead us astray. Like you, regarding my son’s gayness, I have come to the question “Why?”. Regarding this, some church leaders are frank in stating that they do not know why. Yet, I believe that God will yet reveal many important truths pertaining to his Kingdom (see AofF 9). So, I pray continually for revelation, for me and for church leaders, to help us understand the answer to the question “Why?”. I believe that He will, in His own good time, at the very best moment, reveal important truth about same-gender attraction. Until that time, and forever, I believe that I must (and I want to) treat my son and others with love and respect. I must put myself in their shoes and ask myself how I would want to be treated. It is a terrible shame that so many suffer rejection, injustice, hatred, loneliness and despair. My heart goes out to them all. I have to believe that God will fully correct all injustice, soothe and heal broken hearts, and through His Son and his Church, make all things right. He has power to do this, and I expect Him to. In the meantime, we need to follow His Son’s example to love all. God bless you and your brother, and us all.

    • It sounds like you still have a lovely and strong testimony of your faith. I am genuinely glad for that. I do believe that people can change their perspective about gay rights and still maintain their religious convictions. I am happy to have your lovely comment as an example of that. While I did leave the LDS church, as did my other family members… it was not so simple as it looks in one blog post:) There are many, many issues that I have with the LDS church and many reasons why it was a terrible fit for me spiritually. It was not 100% driven by my brother coming out, though their position about gay rights certainly disappoints me. I also recognize that there are many that find comfort and joy there, and they feel at home in the LDS community. If it is spiritually sustaining and uplifting for you, that is great. I hope that people can see by your example that there is room to allow gay people the right to chose their path, and still maintain their faith. Thank you!

    • In a blog post by an orthodox Rabbi about why he supports gay marriage, someone commented with the response that the Torah is a living tree. Um, lemme see… here. This is what she said, “The Torah is Eitz Hayiim, a tree of life. It is a living, growing compendium whose words have much to teach and inspire us thousands of years later. Times change, people change, and while the words of the Torah itself do not change, our interpretation of them often does – and should. If we cannot admit to the possibility that we didn’t get it right on first reading, then it’s not really helping us to grow at all.”
      This comes back to me, often. The Word is a living word. It grows with us as we grow. And you’re growing too, and you’re seeing your own Word grow. That’s pretty awesome.

  29. Pingback: Peeling Back Layers of Ugly: The Gay Reality | audio pro Dues (Listening for God)

  30. Thank you for sharing this. Regardless of what part of faith any of us practice, we are simply called by God to love others, no matter what. You epitomize that. God’s blessings continue to be with you.

  31. If we could all recognize the simplicity and infinite value of the words “love thy neighbor as thy self” and actually believe that this is the only thing that matters in our relationships with each other, everything becomes clear. The things that divide us are those things that violate this “commandment”. Our desire for others to agree with us because we “know” our view is”right” is not rooted in love, it’s rooted in pride and ego. How or what a person chooses to believe has nothing to do with their love for another. Just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean our love for each other is diminished. If we could all simply love each other unconditionally, the respect inherent in that love would allow us all to grow in understanding of what is actually true and real. We all have a piece of it. The more we can share our own and consider honestly the unique perspective of others, the more we all become what we all want to become, complete, whole, one, happy etc…

  32. I Loved this post BTW….it made this issue much more real to me. I have always supported my admittedly “brainwashed” view that marriage is between a man and a woman, That this is not my definition, it is “God’s”. I have been very uncomfortable with my own stance on this for a long time because I am not a biggot. I don’t have even a trace of judgement or lack of love for anyone based on their beliefs, actions, sexual orientation, color or anything. I can say this without any twinge of concience because I know it to be absolutely true. So how can I say this and still believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, many rightfully ask? For me, it’s because I’ve been taught that this is what marriage actually is. Am I a less loving person, if I hold this belief? I emphatically say no because I know this has nothing to do with how I love. Now I may be wrong in my belief but I am not sure how anyone can “Know” for sure if I am wrong or not. This is a complex issue. I completely understand the emotional response my lack of agreement on this issue evokes from someone who is gay or otherwise feels their support of gay marriage = their support/ love for any gay couple desiring to have their love officially recognized by society as equal to marriage as it’s traditionally defined. I cannot honestly say, however, that my sympathy for these feelings should equte to me believing that I should simply change my belief of what marriage is. At this point, the most honest thing I can say, is I don’t know what the right thing to do on this issue is. I will say that the momentum of my changing belief is swinging in favor of gay marriage. Maybe I’m just witnessing the process that inevitably occurs when a person sincerely tries to find the “right” answer. I would say in parting, please be careful of labeling anyone. The gay and lesbian community know first hand how hurtful it can be. Don’t make the same mistake of labeling people bigotts, or “hate mongers” because they don’t believe in gay marriage. There are many good, sincerely loving people who hold this belief.

    • I loved the above comments. I used to feel this way about gay marriage, for the same reason, because I was taught that belief, and never had a reason to disagree. Then, I had a gay son. Everything changed for me. I realized my son deserved the same benefits, and joys that anyone else had a right to. My son is now married to his partner, and lives in another country, because his partner is from the other country. We are so blessed to have such an amazing and wonderful son in law, so I am definitely a staunch supporter of equal rights for all now that I had the opportunity to access my belief systems, and accept, for me, that they were wrong, and not loving. I recently found out another son is transgender, less then a year ago. I would want for this child I gave birth to, to find joy and happiness in this life as well. For this one, it means eventually having surgery to physically represent what she feels she already is, female. I have 2 other sons, that are heterosexual, and I want the same for them. One is married, and may not stay that way, and the other is single still. Life is too short to live repressing who you are, or live in fear, pain and unhappiness.

  33. OK…So I’m leaving number 3 of 3 comments I have ever made on any blog…Your personal account really got to me. I’ve literally been thinking about it all day. I finally asked myself sincerely what my opinion on gay marriage would be if I had a brother (i only have brothers) or child who was gay and wanted to be married. It’s hard to actually imagine something when it’s not real, but just thinking about it sincerly left me with a very different perspective. Suddenly my focus was less on some abstract concept of “right” and “wrong” and more on how would I tell this person I love so dearly that I understand and support them completely, but I cannot support them being “married”. I have never believed that who you are attracted to is a choice, nor have I believed that a person should be expected to live a celebate life if they are homosexual. I have never judged a person for their sexual orientation and yet I have held on too a belief my entire life up until possibly today (it’s been building for a long time) that marriage is a defenition given by God ( it is a religious institution) and therefore is not mine to redefine. This is all fine and dandy until you’re sitting face to face with someone you dearly love (I imagine) and have to explain to them that you believe God does not santion their full expression of love toward their partner like He/She/ Whoever does mine. In the end, I haven’t the foggiest clue what this being we call God does or does not sanction or why, so I have to be a bit more pragmatic and simply ask, what really is wrong with two people of any sexual persuasion being committed to each other so much that they would like it recognized by society as a marriage. When I look at this way, I can’t come up with any honestly negative outcome. In fact, I think the only outcome would be positive. Wouldn’t I rather have people committed to each other both personally and legally? SInce I believe marriage is good, I have to answer yes! So I guess my stance has changed. I believe we should allow people to marry who they choose to marry. It feels good to not have my head wrestling with my heart anymore! Thanks for the heartfelt, honest post. It certainly had an impact on me!

    • This was the best thing I have read in a long, long time. Thank you for taking the time to come back and tell me. You are the person that I want to believe is reading this post… people who just haven’t taken time to apply the situation to their own experience. I am so thrilled that you have done this, and have come to the conclusion that love between two people is not threatening to anyone, and everyone deserves love. You are an amazing example of how thoughtful empathy can bring us all a long way towards more peace and love in the world. Thanks again… you have had a huge impact on me as well!

      • This is AMAZING. And her reply at 3:30 am no less. Can’t you just feel the internal struggle? Meg what you are writing is important and brave and beautiful… and its changing people. Thank you for sharing your story so honestly, in all your pain and beauty. So much respect and love to you.

  34. This is so beautiful! I think it’s so wonderful that you were willing to share your whole journey. Maybe it’s silly of me to feel this way, but my daughters have been asked to be jr. bridesmaids in the wedding of two of the kindest and most spiritually beautiful women I know. I feel like my daughters are a part of history here, being a part of this wedding. Sadly, here in TX it won’t be a legal marriage (yet!) but I am just so thrilled for them and so honored to be a part of it!

    • That’s an incredible opportunity! Your family will be an important part of history… a piece of history that your posterity can look back on with gratitude. How wonderful to willingly to stand for love and equality at a wedding before all the discrimination melted away. Someday, people will look back on this time and identify the open action of love in the face of judgement… and be proud. Congrats to the lovely couple… I hope their day is filled with magic and beauty.

  35. Thank you for writing this. I grew up Christian in the midst of strong anti-gay programming. Like you, it took a long time- shamefully long- to be able to truly understand and embrace and love. I was never hateful -ever- but always thought that homosexuality is no worse than any other sin and questioned why the church elevate it as the Sin of Sins? Even with that “nonjudgmental” view, I was so pitifully off base. I love your brother for being patient with you and I admire that you continue to be patient with others.
    I try to raise my daughter this way- to love and support as well as to have grace for others who still have false beliefs about right and wrong. I give her the example of my grandfather- the world’s most loving, gentle man- who still carries false beliefs about people of color (nothing hateful, just misconceptions) due to the era and part of the country he grew up in.
    It’s slow but I am seeing a thaw in many religious communities. Everyone in my family (mom, dad, sister, brothers) have come to realize what you and I have realized and in that I see a slow strengthening of society’s fabric.
    Like getting well.

    • Thank you! I agree… the strengthening of society’s fabric is happening… faster and faster now. The prejudice and misconceptions associated with homosexuality are melting away, and we will see a much stronger country and community when we cross over yet another human rights hurdle.

  36. Pingback: The Strange and Terrible Visions of Fred Phelps and Philip K. Dick | A Cry In The Dark

  37. Thank you for this beautifully written post! Your journey of faith, acceptance, and love is an inspiration to many!

  38. Ås a gay man who’s mother has made a similar journey, I loved reading this. As a gay man who’s straight sister was an adversary instead of the champion you turned out to be, I was saddened reading this (because I didn’t have what your brother does).

    Thank you for your honest account.

  39. Bravo for the journey you undertook because you loved your brother so much. Bravo to your brother for being patient with you despite his pain. Bravo to your family for choosing LOVE.

  40. I am so grateful to have found this blog. I am only 16 and last May (2014) my 18 year old brother came home drunk one night and told me he was gay. I had previously suspected it but had never questioned him in case it wasn’t true. In some terrible way it was almost as if I was in denial and that by asking him and it would mean that he would have a different identity to what I had previously thought. Of course, this isn’t true though. My initial reaction was calm; I said I knew and that i was so happy and privileged that he felt he could be seen clearly by me for the first time. it was after this that i suddenly became aware of every off hand derogatory gay remark that must have ever been said to him and it made me feel upset and angry that just because he fancied men he was automatically a victim of prejudice. Why does society do this? Selfishly, I did take a moment to think about how this would affect me and whether it was my own fault. This sounds stupid, but for as long as I can remember my brother has always said he would prefer me to be a little brother instead of the little sister that I am and so it occurred to me; if I had been a boy like he wanted, would he be straight? Did I put him off girls entirely because I was that awful? I dismissed this relatively quickly though, reassuring myself that it’s never anybody’s fault (not that it should ever be) and that he was just born this way. for the past 2 years, my brother and I have grown in closeness and this has been so great. This, however, only adds as to why he didn’t tell me earlier. He has told me since that he first accepted himself as being gay at 15. Sure, I was only 13 then and probably too immature to handle the change, but why didn’t he tell me later? He told some of his friends at 15/16 and didn’t suffer any prejudice and it saddens me to think that he felt he couldn’t reveal it to me or my parents. That being said, my mum has not taken it so well. She still loves my brother dearly, but almost refuses to accept him being gay, opting to picture him with a wife and kids instead. She totally disagrees with gay people having children and if I ever dispute this she dismisses me telling me I am too young to understand it properly. I am 16 for God’s sake!! Surely she can’t be that closed-minded as to not even consider that her way of thinking can be contradicted? If you have any coping techniques that I could pass on to her (and even a few for myself as I feel I’m not 100% there yet) then please leave a reply!

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