The first step...coming out to yourself

If our communities can create spaces where people can love and be loved as God has loved us, all the other stuff gets a little bit easier.

---Shane Claiborne
Founding partner of the Simple Way Community, a ministry to the poor

 

From a young man who was at STA through high school and is now a lawyer

Everyone is different. Everyone has challenges. Everyone is a child of God.

Being gay is just one aspect of your life. At times, though, it can be the part of your life that subsumes all the rest. Try not to let it.

"Coming out" involves many steps. The first is to come out to yourself. Some people take their whole lives and never accomplish that. If you are reading this letter, you likely have already taken this step. If so, congratulations. If not, isn't it time?

The next step is coming out to others. Start with your close friends. Most won't care. Many would tell you, in a moment of candor, they suspected you were gay all along. They didn't say anything sooner because it wasn't a big deal to them or because they knew you would bring up the issue when you were ready.

Family is next. In some ways, this is the hardest. You know that your parents love you, but it is still a frightening prospect to tell them you are gay. Even if they already know-and they may-your confirming it may be hard news for them to hear. Because when you come out, you are in a sense denying the traditional dreams that most parents have for their children. But those dreams aren't gone; they're just different. It may take some time for them (and you) to realize that.

So be patient. Know that you are the same child today that you were yesterday; your coming out didn't change that. Your parents still love you.

Over the years, you will come across people who think that because you are gay, you are less. And they think because you are less, you are entitled to less. Less happiness; fewer rights; less respect.

These people are mistaken, although you will find they have lots of company. These people may be loud, but they are not right.

Try as you might, you can't generalize-based on religion, political affiliation, or other category-about how others will view your being gay. Those who have friends, children, or coworkers who are gay will likely support you and treat you like everyone else. Fortunately, public attitudes about gay people are changing quickly, and for the better.

Gay people may never be universally accepted. But you will find-today and in the years ahead-more than enough acceptance, love, support, and belonging to make your life happy and full.

And don't forget that God made you. And God loves you. God bless you.