I became a Christian when I was 13. It through a friend at school who had invited me to a lunchtime club run by the biology teacher. She had set up a Christian club and I became part of it.
I wasn’t made to go church as a child but my parents weren’t that bothered when I said I wanted my own bible and started to go to church each week. It seemed a normal thing to do and felt I was part of something good.
I felt that I mattered and that was the key to understanding why I got so involved. I felt I could be myself. The joker who made people laugh. I was desperate to learn new things. I got involved in a local church youth club and soon after became friends with some people who I would consider my best friends today.
Soon I became interested in drama and music. Desperate to learn the piano and guitar although my parents refused to get me lessons when I had asked.
Underlying all of this was my sexuality. I know from my teenage years who and what I was. I didn’t go through years and years of trying to discover if I was gay or not. I was gay at that was it.
So after a while came the clash of religion and my sexuality. I would often sit and hear preachers saying that being gay was wrong. I spent time repressing these sexual urges trying to numb them or ignore them thinking that they might fade away.
I spent some time studying for theological training and often heard within this college that homosexuality was caused by a particularly nasty demon and the only what to get rid of this was to go through an exorcism.
I had been prayed for many times but my sexuality didn’t go away. I wasn’t interested in girls in that way at all. I tried to see what it was like to have a girlfriend but it didn’t work out.
After spending years in the closet it was only till the age of 23 did I decide to tell my friends about it. They said “they knew anyway” which didn’t really help the internal torment I had suffered for ten years. I just didn’t know how they would react. I was okay with who I was but would they be?
So the ruling last Friday for people of any gender to be able to marry in the USA was a great step towards equality. It doesn’t necessarily mean that tolerance and understand will follow as well. As often has been said there is still a lot of work to do.
I left Christianity behind in the 90s and it was one of the best things I ever did. I no longer had to repress thoughts and feel I was restricted to rules and regulations.