It was last Thursday. I had tea with my aunt’s ex-gay friend. Actually I had met her once before, so when we met this time, we just started by chatting about things in general. We talked about bars and clubs, because she is a musician and has been playing in nightspots her whole professional life. (This was some hip 47-year-old, OK!)
The conversation was very informal and friendly all the time. Mostly she was just sharing about her past and telling me about her experiences. She was not offensive or patronising or condescending. She didn’t say “If I can change and be straight, you can and must do it too”. I think I was just (as usual) preparing myself for the worst. Having never met anyone who hails from the ex-gay camp (pun intended), I half expected this lady to be a Bible-thumping, verse-spewing, self-righteous, re-virginised prude who would stare down at me from atop her high horse.
But she actually seemed quite normal. Her stand is that though homosexuality is wrong, maybe it is just part of my journey. Maybe it is just a phase that I have to go through to experience something or other. (I’m fine with that. People are allowed to draw whatever conclusions they wish, as long as they are not offensive, or trying to force me to believe what they believe.)
I’m relieved that she did relate to me with respect and I also appreciate that she did not try to force me to want to change. In a way, I am glad that she did take the time to talk to me. Because she was just talking in a normal, non-threatening manner, it did feel like just a friendly relaxed chat. And I was able to be myself, be authentic in my responses to her, and when sharing about myself too.
And I think that not having my guard up also allowed me to be rational and process the conversation in my mind and to speak honestly and truthfully. Imagine if I was all edgy and defensive and if I had overreacted, or jumped to conclusions, or constantly avoided answering questions, or been sour-faced and refused to engage in conversation. She would have had the negative stereotype reinforced, that gay people are all irrational, dysfunctional and anti-social. But I think I did do a good job of keeping my cool, and portraying that gay people can be calm, sensible, level-headed people. At the very least, being open and not scared or defensive just facilitates honest frank conversation.
I shared with her that I believe that I can learn something from everyone around me, and every experience I’ve been through. People i know, people who have crossed my path, I always try to keep an open mind that there may be something that they can (consciously or unconsciously) teach me. For example even if someone is bad to me, after the initial hurt has subsided, I tell myself “Good, I will now learn to be more discerning of people’s characters / less gullible etc”. So anyway, whatever it is that I can learn from this lady, well I just keep an open mind first.
One of the other things that we talked about is how we have to listen out for God’s plan for each of us. And if we do act according to His will, He blesses us, and the task will be successful. And conversely, if we are trying to do something that is against Him, it will feel like all the obstacles are being placed in our way. The result may still be OK or acceptable, but deep inside we know that there is no comparison to those times when we do act according to His will, and the result is almost effortlessly excellent.
So I apply this to my being gay too. Right now, I believe that He did plan for me to be gay for a reason. And if it is in His plan for me to be gay, trying to turn straight would just be a futile miserable exercise similar to banging my head against the wall or trying to swim against the current. But if it is somewhere in His plan for me to turn straight, I trust that He will “inform” me in His own good time.
But for now, I think one part of my mission here on Earth is to live my life such that people out there will see that gay people aren’t all just living sinful debauched lives revolving around (I wish) sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
I will just be Myself, and hopefully people who know me will realise that Hey, being gay is just something like being blonde or brunette, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything from a morally “good” or “bad” perspective. And sure, people will view me differently based on that external label, but that still doesn’t change who I am on the inside.