If you want to read more from Brittany, visit her blog.
I've grown up in an area with a church on every corner. This is not much of an exaggeration. There are two churches within ten minutes walking distance from where I'm sitting, and four within 20. I live in a place where church/state violations are brushed of as silly and people roll their eyes when asked to include religions other than christianity, and find it unthinkable to not believe in a god. a vast, vast majority of people around here are christian. My high school had between 400 and 500 people in it, and the number of (out) atheists was at 7, at the highest, while I was there. Most people attended a church every week, at least.
Luckily for me, somehow, my parents don't happen to be very religious. My mom is something of an agnostic, but went with the label "christian" for a long time, because she'd gone to church as a kid, and she didn't utilize her own mind very much until a few years ago, preferring to let my dad decide these things. My dad grew up in an abusive home, and tried to get religion to save him from it around age 15, and since, even though he's not gone to church or read the bible, has been a weird sort of religious that seems to mean he thinks that there's a god who wants you to worship him and believes a few randomized passages in the bible. I'm not really sure why someone with such an insanely cherry-picked religion that seems totally unique to him would feel he could criticize others, but he somehow finds a lack of religion laughable.
Enter- My homosexuality, and screw with all of my family relationships. I didn't come out until about a year after my parents decided they found out. It's all a little difficult to explain, but my dad heard rumors that I was gay, and kissed my girlfriend at school, then, I gave xem (My girlfriend is genderqueer and these are the decided pronouns. Check out my blog if you're interested in knowing more about this.) a goodbye kiss on xyr forehead one day, and he decided that he knew enough to guess that, yes, I am a lesbian, and I should never be allowed to talk to my girlfriend.
The only reason I could ever get out of him was that god said homosexuality was bad. This utterly insane man had somehow chosen the verse about stoning homosexuals to believe, out of all of them. He called me disgusting, and told me I was going to hell. He told me I wasn't his daughter anymore. And the only reason I could get out of him was religion. My mom just cried and said she loved me, but she wanted me to change so god would love me. I was so confused at the time. How was this random Leviticus verse the one that would send me to hell when none of us kept the sabbath holy, attended church, prayed before dinner, or even learned about the bible? But, religion around here seems to be all about intolerance.
So, my parents' reaction to my homosexuality was because of religion. My friends? Actually, most of them didn't care. That's why they were my friends. But my pool of potential friends pretty much evaporated at school. I lived a dangerous double life that, in hindsight, seems crazy to have attempted, but, I digress, the point is, at school, I was an out, proud, lesbian, and that people knew this made them look at me with disgust. No one wanted me as their teacher-picked partner for assignments, and it was hilarious to point at me and say "that's the lesbian" When halley (my girlfriend) was holding hands and walking with me, asking explicit questions about out (then nonexistent) sex-life was okay. Teachers looked the other way for the most part, because really, we deserved it for defying god this way. It seemed every way I turned, someone hated me for loving xem because their sky dad said so.
This caused a little shame, but luckily, most of the time, I just felt depressed that everyone seemed to hate me without actually thinking about it. But I did feel a little shame. I tended to laugh it off. And I labeled myself a "bad girl" because I wasn't listening to my parents for the first time in my life, and, even though I didn't believe in god, it was still something I was doing that was yicky, according to most people I knew. I thought maybe something was wrong with me, and I was terrified that there was some premise I was missing that made their logic make sense without god involved, and I lived in fear of debates, because what if they proved that it was bad? would I stop loving xem? could I stop loving xem?
But what ultimately saved me was my halley and my friends. They reminded me that loving hurts no one, even if imaginary sky dad says it does. I have one conversation I'd like to share with everyone reading, paraphrased to the best of my memory between me and a friend on facebook chat. We'll call him Jeremy. He's the kind of guy who is always joking about everything, so one night, as I was telling him I watched the spanish channel on cable at four in the morning and it was utterly bizarre, the conversation went little like this
Jeremy: well, there's basically porn on HBO at four a.m.
Me: lol. okay
Jeremy: yeah, so now you can watch all the naked girlies you want, and no one will know.
Me: haha. I'm too much of a sweet innocent little girl for that.
Jeremy: ... yeah, I'm sure you are. lol.
Me: well, it's not like I haven't thought about it. But sometimes, I forget I'm not a good girl anymore. haha. It's like I was for so long, I don't remember that that changed.
Jeremy: Brittany, you are good. You are sweet and kind and you loving a girl doesn't affect this. Anyone who wants to tell you otherwise is just a narrow-minded fuckhead who is jealous that you have someone who loves you.
Me: I think that's the sweetest think anyone's ever said to me. I didn't know you could get that serious.
And it continued. But that reminded me, without this nonsense god stuff, sexual orientation of any sort is okay, and it doesn't affect how good or kind you can be, so no one experiencing this should be ashamed.
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