Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why me?

If you're gay, you must have asked that question a gazillion times. 
It took a long, long time for me to reach a point where I could look in the mirror and say that I'm grateful to be gay. Then, it changed the that simple question completely. It went from being negative to positive. 
There were several things that had to happen before I could honestly say that I'm grateful to be gay.
First, I had to accept that I am gay. That sounds simple. Maybe it is, but it's not easy. Second, I had to allow myself to see some of the gifts, or advantages of being gay. For one thing, I believe that the challenge of being gay forced me to deal with a big issue, and by nature, I don't particularly enjoy taking on the big issues unless I have to. Forcing myself to deal with it made me realize that my fear of dealing with it was far greater than the reality of dealing with it. That was a huge gift. I slowly came out to family and friends and found that the vast majority had no problem with my being me, period. I began to cherish the friendships that I was making with other gay people. I also began to recognize that some of my creativity could be either attributed to being gay or a result of the challenges that society hit me with because I'm gay.
Eventually, I realized that being gay wasn't so bad after all, just a little different. It's become a part of who I am instead of consuming me. Then I was able to see other aspects of who I am. For instance, realizing that I enjoy writing. I'd hated English classes in school. It also empowered me to be comfortable with who I'm not. I'm not well coordinated and have never enjoyed sports. I don't feel guilty anymore when I decline a request to participate in a sports activity. When I was in sixth grade, my girlfriend (yes, I've ha a few) talked me into trying out for the class play. I got the lead role because no one else wanted it. I hadn't really thought about the fact that it was a musical and I refused to sing in front of people. So, they had another boy hide and sing while I lip-synced the words. Now, decades later, I like to make a joyful noise. I'm 5'6" tall with blond hair. What little hair I have left has turned white. So, I'll never be tall, dark and handsome. Being small is nice when I ride on a plane
The point is that I'm comfortable with who I am and who I'm not. I think if you're gay, it may be more difficult to reach that point, until you are able to accept that you are gay. Once you do though, life becomes a pretty cool experience. 
That, in a nutshell, is what led me to begin to record the story of Franklin. There are a lot of gay people who haven't yet discovered that they are beautiful and just the way God intended them to be. When they are told that they are sinners, or in some way deficient because of their orientation, too often they believe what they are told. Minimally, the result is that a scar is formed that is slow to heal. Sadly, when a gay person receives that message too many times from the people they love and/or respect, they choose to take their life. 
I don't know how many people will read Franklin. I've been asked who I wrote the book for and if I had to choose, which I don't like doing, I would say it's for the parent, sibling, teacher, minister, politician or friend who might come away realizing that it's not their job to judge and condemn someone because they can't understand that person.
As I've said before, and I'll say again, I'm not a Biblical scholar. I've read enough and heard enough scholars to come to what I believe is an obvious conclusion. When the bible is directly translated from it's original text and read in the context of the times that it was written, there simply is no argument. The Bible does not condemn the sexual orientation of homosexuality. Period!
Many people have tried to make me believe that I'm less than, because of my orientation. When that happens to me now, I just take another path and discover something beautiful that I wouldn't have if they hadn't put a road block in my path. I win, they lose. 
I can't answer the question of 'Why me?' I can say that like the answer, 'Why not?'

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