Guess that got your attention!
Nope this blog post is not about me coming out of the closet, but about my early experiences learning about being gay and my thoughts on the subject and religion.
Growing up I spent a lot of time with two of my cousins in particular, for the sake of this article let’s call them Dan and Pete. Pete was the oldest by about 18 months and then Dan and I were both the same age with only a few months in between. Growing up I would spend every weekend with them and then during the summer about 5 weeks. They lived about four and half hours away from us but that is where my dad’s side of the family all lived.
My earliest memories at about the age of five, where of Dan and I always playing outside in the dirt, in trees, or building then blowing something up. Pete always was inside and always in the kitchen around my mom and the aunts. As we got older Dan began to share things with me about his brother Pete, things he felt very embarrassed by. Just to set the record straight we are talking about 40 years ago when there was no closet even to speak of, you just didn’t admit you or anyone in your family was gay. Dan was so paranoid about “catching it” that he would keep his own plate, silverware, and cups in his room. He would bring them out to use and then take them to a different sink to wash them and would not even let them be in the same water as his. He kept all his toilet supplies in his bedroom and when he did use the bathroom he would take cleaning supplies (also kept in his room) into the bathroom and clean it before each use. He did this for years and begged the rest of the family to do the same thing. He even legally changed the spelling of his last name by one letter so that people at school would not confuse them as brothers. Of course everyone already knew they were!
I remember on one visit my aunt asking us to come in and sit down and that she needed to tell us something. Pete had contracted aides and was put on medication and yes it was from his sexual experiences with his significant other. Just as the words were finishing my aunt’s lips out runs Dan saying “I told you all, good chance you are going to get it.” Now, let me pause here to say this, Dan was not a bad person, this was just before being gay was even gay. Aides were just coming out to the news media in a strong way and gays were still very much in the closet so to speak. I watched how my cousin Pete struggled with being gay or the fact he was and that it was not accepted. I saw how his brother treated him and how in fact my own family treated him. Everyone was down on him except his mother, my aunt, who never blamed or held it against him. Some in the family would say he was born that way because we remember as such a small child him in the kitchen always around the women and never out with the other cousins playing. Others would say it was his choice and that he wanted to be that way and could change back if he wanted to. Now I am not here to debate born that way versus choice, I’m just sharing my family’s story.
10 years go by of learning, sharing, rejecting, Pete’s lifestyle until…..
This continued to escalate until the big explosion at our grandmother’s funeral. We had agreed that all of the grandson’s, seven total, would each lay a rose on our grandmothers chest and we would do so from oldest to youngest, which was me for 10 years until another cousin was born. As we would go by the casket we would then set in the front two rows with our married spouses. Of course you can see where this is going, all of us where married but Pete, however, he did have a significant other as we called it. Our youngest cousin who I will call Roy was not married and for the record was Pete’s youngest half brother. Well as you can imagine this all broke out into a big argument right before the pastor was to speak about our grandmother. Part of the problem was that there was not enough room on the front row for all of us, so I spoke up and said let the cousins set in the front row and our spouse’s behind us in the second row. Everyone agreed, however it doesn’t end there, there was an extra seat, eight chairs for seven grandsons. Well before you could blink, Pete placed his significant other in the seat next to him right in the middle because Pete was the middle grandson and this placed them both right up front in the center. The pastor did a wonderful service but as you can imagine the arguing didn’t stop after the service.
Now, why do I write all this, well, because I wanted you to know that being around gay is nothing new to me and hasn’t been for over 40 years now. I was around it, submerged in it, and lived (when I visited) with a gay person for many years before it was even popular to talk about it. I seen his struggles and I seen the family struggle with it for many years and this is what I have learned from it. I can’t say how or why one becomes gay, but I can say that God is not surprised by it. I told Pete several years ago that I do not like his lifestyle nor do I agree with it, but I love him as my cousin and always will. He asked me once if God made him gay for a reason and I simply shared, “I don’t know.” However, I did share with him that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. 1 Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful. It is for that reason Pete never got married, his state allows it, but he has chosen to just live with his as he calls it “significant other.” However, I also shared with Pete, Matthew 7:1 “”Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
The point of this blog is to share that I do not agree with the gay lifestyle, however, it is not for me to judge, only God. Having been around this lifestyle through family and yes, even friends, for many years now it has given me the perspective of do not judge, but love. I do not have to love their actions, but I am to love the individual, the Bible is clear on that. So instead of beating a person down like I know my family did for many years to Pete. Why don’t we lift them up to God in prayer and let Him judge them when the time comes. Our job is to love them here on earth and minister to their needs, no matter what they might be. See, gays lose loved ones; they have trials and tribulations and are not unlike us. You can love the person, but not agree with their lifestyle. And just for the record, I support having gays in church, again if they love the Lord and want to worship Him, who am I to say No and judge!
P.S. Pete is still living and kicking and struggles with the effects of aides everyday. Every time I see him I never pass up the chance to give him a hug and tell him I love him!