The Gifts of Being Gay: Letting Go of Fear
Honorable Mention, 2000 Affirmation Writing Contest
By Cristi Jenkins
I am not gay because I want to shame you. Though it may be so in your eyes, that is not why I call myself your daughter... or your son.
I am not gay because I want to dishonor you, or because I do not want to please you, or fail to give you reason to be proud of me— though you may perceive it as so. I wish that I could live my life to make you happy, but to do so would be at my expense— and that is not healthy for either of us.
I am not gay to prove that you may only see what you want to see, for that is not my choice but yours.
I am not gay to cause you to worry though there may be just cause, for harrassment and homophobia are realities, but I do not call myself I AM to shrivel behind the fear of what might be.
I am not gay for you to trample on my heart and to ignore my attempts to communicate who I am. Although you may perceive it as your parental right, that is not why you may call me your son or daughter.
I am not gay to find pleasure in the fact that you fear me, but would ask that you look beyond my sexuality as being an issue of right or wrong; but rather as what is— the reality of our lives— whether together, or apart.
I am not gay just to claim that you are intolerant, though you may deny it is so. For I believe the creator loves all people equally— not one race above another, not one religion above another, not one person above another.
I am not gay to be in need of being saved or corrected when you think that you are wiser than I and can now somehow speak for and use the self-imposed, priviliged arguement called "GOD". Though you may think that this is your special calling or divine right, and may perceive it as such; your words spoken largely out of fear, are just words, your opinion. For who I truly am is holy and my path sacred— only I can walk therein and divinely know that what I travel is true and good.
I am not gay to ask for people's scorn, or for their pity, though you may perceive that I am now deceived and have somehow lost my way from the one-and-only-true-path-to-god, I assure that the path I walk is truly one of peace and love.
I am not gay to find pleasure in rebelling against the family's way-of-life, the religious mandates for over four generations, etched deeply in our identity, the essence of who we have been, and for some— who we will always be. I am not gay to cause you grief because I no longer call myself a christian, and that is not why I call myself enlightened. And although I do not agree with all that you taught me, I honor your right to live your lives as you see fit for your highest good. Please understand that your idea of what the highest good is for me, is not necessarily the same in my eyes. I ask for your blessing in living my life as I create and claim my own happiness.
I am not gay to be a sinner, or the devil, or the scapegoat for all the perceived immoral pitfalls of society. Though you may percieve it to be so, I have found that happiness lies within one's self, in seeking personal responsibility in all aspects of one's life, and in not blaming someone or something else for one's perceived unhappiness. We create what we experience.
I am not gay to try to snuff out organized religion, though you may act as if the threat is great. I simply ask to question the function of patriarchal rules, set to keep the sexes unbalanced, creating oppression and inequality in the name of a controlling, often condemning, human-made religion. Why can't it be different?
I am not gay to enjoy being seen as a threat to a specific belief system, but when society claims that I should not be allowed to freely be and love as all people, then in truth I must say, this cannot be tolerated.
I am not gay to close my eyes to injustice, for I see and live in a world of injustice everyday.
I am not gay to crusade to recruit others to change their sexuality, though you may trivialize orientation as merely a choice; but having felt the difference in my life for years— and out of fear denied, I offer compassion to those who recognize this sameness in themselves, seeking to understand their path; and thus extend a ray of hope that peace and spiritual wholeness can be found in accepting one's self in its divine totality.
I am not gay because I hate myself nor the opposite gender, though you may perceive it as so. It is not why I choose to honor both the male and female energies, nurturing balance within, thus embracing life as whole and full of divine possibility.
I am not gay to threaten the love between a male and female, family or kin— to negate in any way the beauty, health, and strength found in loving relationships. I live everyday to embrace the benefits of divine love in all aspects of our world, and as such declare myself worthy and equal to the human race in freely expressing my need and right to love and intimate connection. (See Dean Ornish's book "Love and Survival, the Scientific Basis For the Healing Power of Intimacy", HarperCollins, 1998.)
I am not gay because you say I desire to molest children. Though unjust and empirically incorrect, you may claim it is so to create fear through hysteria and ignorance.* I do not desire to love and nurture children to cause them harm. My gift to them is to provide support, to nurture their strengths and soul essences without condemnation of ways in which they may differ from myself. For I deeply know the pain of parental rejection and remember the saving phrase of the few nonjudgemental adults in my growing-up years, "Who you are is okay, and we love you exactly as you are."
*(The large majority of pedophiles are heterosexual males perpetrating against female children. Gay people are no more likely to molest children than are heterosexual people. See Out in all Directions, the Almanac of Gay and Lesbian America; Lynn Witt, Sherry Thomas, Eric Marcus eds,; "Most Common Myths" Warner Books, p.359)
I am not gay to be seen as an inept parent, though you may claim this is so. As in any family, it is a consistently loving and supportive environment which fosters optimal growth in human beings— not one's sexual orientation.* (Ample studies, over 70 in one compilation, show that children of homosexual parents are as healthy as children of heterosexual parents. See Diversity, Boise, ID, May 1997.)
I am not gay to hide or believe that any part of my life is a mistake, for I too am created and called "good" by the creator, and I refuse to buy into the argument that I am biologically or spiritually inferior. I am who I am supposed to be— a gift, a life in loving totality.
I am not gay to ignore that I can make a difference, though you may wish that I remain unseen. For I claim the endowment, the perceptions and keen awareness of being opposite-gendered, and as such see ways where balance and wholeness are possible in our world, for I have found it in myself first.
I am not gay because I fear the "wrath of god", for I have only known the sting of human condemnation, for the god within is love, and THAT is why I honor who I AM!
Lessons From Within
I am gay because I am no better or worse than another human being— I AM.
I am gay because I have questioned why I have not felt at peace at times in my life, for I have learned to honor and trust the answers from my heart as true and good.
I am gay because I no longer choose to run from life, where fear fails to dictate how I think and act.
I am gay because I have realized it is more important to call forth and walk in the energy of who I AM as opposed to what people say I should be.
I am gay because I choose to heal the wounds of oppression, to call upon the upon the feminine and masculine strengths, integrating the wisdom of both energies. For in past lives I have walked as both male and female, and in despising aspects of a specific gender, I likewise despise that part of myself; and by accepting and loving all parts of myself, I am likewise made whole.
I am gay because I understand that the love of god cannot be confined to one religion or belief system.
I am gay because I know the creator loves all people equally, where there is no judgment of "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong; where such judgments do not exist; where here and now can be filled with joy, for we call it to ourselves.
I am gay because I have questioned societal rules, for the questioning has revealed that the rules themselves often cause us to fear one another.
I am gay because the journey, though difficult at times, has taught me that we are not so different, that most of us in one way or the other are taking what life gives us and trying to build strength from it.
I am gay because I have walked through the fear, and learned to extend my love to all creations, and in creating balance, I find the beauty of who I am, as well as see it in who we are— as family.
I AM that I AM.
Copyright Cristi Jenkins, May 2000. Used by permission.