Starting a movement starts with you. Justin Lee clearly understood that I relate a lot to him and his story.
I was raised in the church. My mother was a church fanatic.
We would go out and pass out tracts and things like that. I always thought that being gay was the biggest sin in my life and that I was going to hell. I mean for years I believed that something was wrong with me. That maybe if I prayed hard enough, fasted more or whatever, maybe I would be straight someday. But it never happened. I mean I was always treated differently because I was Christian and didn't do things the way others did, because I had full lips, the sway of my hips and because I was gay. I'd always known that I liked men sexually before I even knew what it was called.
My faith in God was always challenged because I was gay. I even challenged it myself. Years later, after being hurt by the church, I realized that I was gonna go crazy trying to figure out if I was going to hell or not. I came out when I was 17 years old. Although anyone who knew or saw me knew I was gay. I didn't come out for the reasons that most gay people do. My coming out was really me saying hey this is apart of who I am and I'm no longer going to feel shamed for being me so deal or get lost. It wasn't me seeking approval or acceptance. I always wanted to get married in a church, have a family and a good life. But with a man.
And knowing that my fellow Christian brothers and sisters not only believed I was going to hell for something I had no control over, but that I was some kind of terminally ill person. So I too, just like Justin Lee felt alone but for me, it was on both sides of the fence. I felt alone in the Christian world, and in the Gay world too. I've even been to a few Gay churches. And even that for me felt like it was real cliquish and like they were playing church. And maybe they were. But what Justin Lee is saying Is so different from anything I've ever seen or heard. But honestly somewhere deep down I kinda still think I'm going to go to hell for being gay.
What Justin is doing takes courage, strength, and determination. But he says something that I had to learn the hard way. Trying to please everyone will make you lukewarm. You won't be able to please everyone. Someone somewhere is going to try to make you feel like you're less than, don't belong, or good enough. I have learned it doesn't matter what anyone else's opinion of me is, what matters most is what I think of myself.
I believe starting a movement starts with you because it's like a standing ovation; all it takes is one person to stand up in the bleachers to start clapping and before you know it the rest of the crowd will stand with you as well and join in.
Movement is a sign of life. But in order for something to be born, something has to die first. And for me letting all the fear and doubt die is gonna allow success, love, and happiness both inside and out to be born into my life. I know that I don't have a hell to throw myself in any more than my fellow Christians sister's and brother's do.
So at the end of the day, my movement and journey began when I just decided to be the best me that I can be. And part of that means being gay. Thanks, Justin Lee for telling your story. Your story is my story.