Some of the best stories are the ones that happen in real life. The ones you couldn’t make up if you tried.
This story began the Friday after the election when I posted something political on Facebook:
“Warning, political post below so read carefully and respect that I have an opinion just as everyone else does and has shared so freely this week:
If you’re upset about people being upset about the election results on Tuesday, I have to wonder if you’ve been paying attention at all this entire election cycle. We have the right as American citizens to choose our leader. We also have the right as American citizens to protest. Both are a part of this great nation but this great nation just chose a president who is normalizing “locker room” talk about sexually assaulting women, he has endorsed hate of racial minority groups, and doesn’t speak up for marginalized and oppressed people.
The hate has spread throughout our country. And I’ve watched many many Christians with hesitation and yet somehow still unashamedly vote for this kind of person. So, yes, some of us are really upset and even mourning that our country has reached a point where we’re ok with this level of hate. If you talk to your friends who are experiencing life differently than you as either a racial minority or part of the lgbt community, you will know they are afraid for their futures and their lives.
I have heard just in this week since the election happened of increased suicides among LGBT youth and of people being assaulted by Donald Trump supporters. I need to know you’re not ok with that and that you will not defend these things that have been happening with more prevalence since this man became a presidential candidate and was elected as the next president on Tuesday.
As a Christian, I am ashamed to hear anyone defend him. I am grieved by this because as a woman I have been sexually assaulted. You’ve basically just told me that you couldn’t stand voting for a Democrat so you voted for one of the most hateful people ever to run for president instead thinking he would give you more what exactly? Political power? A voice in the supreme court, house of representatives, the senate? Blessed are you when you’re persecuted but now you want to persecute those who aren’t like you.
Jesus stood up for the oppressed and marginalized in society. He stood against religious leaders who would rather have power and overthrow an oppressive government than love the people they were supposed to love.
So, I’ve said my piece and I’m done venting, but this hurts. It just hurts and some of us are grieving. Please let us grieve and be angry for a time. We know God is still in control but right now we need to be honest with God and tell him how much this hurts that we would rather endorse hate and divide than love.”
That’s a blog post all on its own, but what happened after that in the comments section is not surprising. Basically, I had a guy mansplain in the comments and be incredibly dismissive of immigrants, people of color, LGBT people, sexual assault survivors, etc. all in the name of the president-elect who he said we should forgive. My attempts at being kind while responding to his comments seemed to make him more agitated but several of us had a back and forth conversation that lasted two days. One of my comments was that I was a member of the LGBT community.
At this point, I was just over the hateful rhetoric of the entire election season and tired of sitting there and not saying anything. But of course, people at my family’s church didn’t see it that way. People at church found out two pieces of information about me: 1. I’ve been sexually assaulted and 2. I’m gay. Guess which one they were more concerned about?
Yeah, so my parents found out in a round about way because my (now former) Sunday school teacher was told, who then told the senior pastor, who then told my uncle who’s the associate pastor, who then told my parents who on Saturday told me. Well, it was more of an ambush because they sent my sister out of the house and told me they wanted to “talk to me.”
Long story short, my parents sat down with me Saturday inquiring about the two pieces of information. But instead of the judgment that I had expected, they just told me they loved me and wanted to help me and be there for me. Granted, my parents are also very conservative Christians who are still very anti-LGBT but they made it clear that they are FOR me. I had to call out some homophobia on my dad’s part but they saw me. Perhaps for the first time, they saw the real me and saw how much I had been hurting. Lots of tears and hugs. I can honestly say this isn’t what I expected my coming out story to be like. We still have a long way to go. The church is still incredibly hostile. But…my family is with me. And if my family can see me and still love me, maybe there’s hope.
So, this holiday season, while I’m combatting racist Trump supporting family members, at least I know, that if my parents can love their gay kid, maybe there’s a God. Maybe there’s a God who is seeking my good. I’ve struggled with that this year so much, but at the end of the day, I believe that somehow we’re going to get through this. Sometimes that means risking a lot to stand up for the oppressed or even for yourself. It’s worth it. Not every coming out story is a positive one. I’ve had several instances where it wasn’t. But I’m thankful for the ones that are.