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I Don’t Want To Be A Sinner.

Question:

After much, much stress and acceptance, I accepted to myself the fact that I was a lesbian. I didn’t want to believe this, for I identify myself as a Christian. But after a while, I came to the realization that I was truly born this way, and God wouldn’t have created me purposely to be a natural born sinner, right?

Well, I had come out to two Christian friends, and to my surprise and delight, they were completely accepting. My best friend said that she would support me and that she believed God made me this way, and my other friend (whom I happen to like very much) said that it’s completely okay.

After two successful “outings”, I decided to come out to another close friend of mine. She was much more of a Christian than my other two friends. Unfortunately, that led to her not being as accepting. She told me that God is against homosexuality, and that it’s best I stay single so I will not be a sinner.

Months pass, and today during a production I’m in (which is a biblical production), a letter was sent backstage from my friend. She told me how her life was going, and gave me some encouraging messages like she always does. But at the end of the letter, she said that I should keep praying that God will save me from this “decision” for my life. Then she gave me a verse, Leviticus 18:22, which states “Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin.” She then proceeded to say in the letter that she will still love me and God will still love me, but it is best that I stay single and continue to love my friends and family until God finds the perfect man for me.

I showed my best friend the letter, for she is the only one I can trust. She told me that my friend is discriminating me and not being a true friend, but I think that she’s only standing up for what she believes in. I don’t want to stay single, but I don’t want to be unhappy with a man and live false love. I’ve liked girls since I was very little, and once I started realizing my real feelings, I looked back to my childhood and saw that I really was born this way.

It took lots of courage and pain to do this, but once I got home, I ripped up the letter so my family would never see it (I won’t tell them until I’m no longer in their care). It felt absolutely horrible to do. My friend took her time to write a letter to me, which takes much more effort than to type up a Facebook message. That to me shows that someone cares about you very much that you are worth effort. I couldn’t let anyone get a hold of it though, or else the situation with me and my friend may have repeated.

I don’t want to be a sinner, but I don’t want to never fall in love. I want my friend to feel the same way about me as she did before she knew I was a lesbian, but I know that can’t happen.

The verse she gave me clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t know who I am anymore. Can I be a Christian and a lesbian at the same time? How can I change myself and be happy? Should I even try to change myself?

Please help me.

Sincerely,
Sarah

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi Sarah,

Wonderful to hear from you and thank you for sharing this! I must first say that it’s great to hear that you have accepted yourself and your sexual orientation, which is a huge first step in living as your true self. Coming from a similar religious background and upbringing, I know that it’s unfortunately so easy for such experiences and reactions to occur, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get better or that you cannot live as yourself. Your two friends who are supporting you now and who will continue to support you are evidence of this truth.

Now in regard to the friend who brought up the Leviticus passage, people like her will continue to be present throughout your life and will continue to hold their positions. But despite what you have grown up learning and despite what you’ve been taught, it’s very important to know that there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, and in fact, it is completely normal and natural. And being in a relationship as a lesbian and living in love with another woman is not a sin, but a beautiful thing. There are many, many lesbians who practice Christianity and continue to attend church. Numerous congregations are open and accepting of LGBTQ persons and their families. Please know that you can certainly be religious and gay at the same time, and you don’t have to be celibate or abstain from dating or being in a relationship. God loves you, always, and will love to see you happy and fulfilled.

While some church leaders and people, like your friend, may believe and teach that homosexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be a Christian and a lesbian, there are many religious leaders and members of the Christian faith who teach love, acceptance and equality for all people and who are supportive and accepting. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides and resources that are available via Soulforce, http://www.soulforce.org/resources/. I also recommend that you read a great resource from PFLAG, their guide titled “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf. And if you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date websites devote to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community. These could potentially good resources to share with people such as the friend who shared the Leviticus passage.

I so admire your courage and I want to reassure you that you are not sinning by living your life. You are being a blessing to others and bringing more love into the world by being your true self. You’re also saving others by not choosing to live a lie and marry a man. Many people that are raised within religious communities either remain closeted or come out of the closet only to go back in and lead a heterosexual life in order to appease their friends and family members who are not open and accepting of their true selves. And it will not be easy to overcome and ignore the naysayers, but I can assure you that there will be numerous friends available to you now and in the future who will support you fully and who will be so proud of you for living as a strong, lesbian woman.

So to your last point, I encourage you not to change. As mentioned previously, it takes a lot to get to the point you are at now, the point of accepting yourself. And now that you have told your two supportive friends, you are on a track of forward momentum and I encourage you to maintain this trajectory. Your decision to wait to tell family until you are no longer reliant on their financial support is likely a good one, especially if you predict they will not initially be supportive. But do not change who you are or live your life for others. You were made to be just the way you are and we are so proud of you for living as your true self. And lastly, I do want to remind you that we’re always here and that we have numerous avenues of support available to you. The first one is our Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, which is available to you 24/7/365 if ever you need a listening and encouraging ear or if you know of anyone who could benefit from it. We also have TrevorSpace, which is a safe online community of LGBTQ persons and their allies ages 13-24 where you can connect with others who are likely in similar situations: http://www.trevorspace.org/. And we also have TrevorChat, where you can chat in real-time with one of our trained volunteers within a safe and secure space, http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat. So don’t forget these and please utilize them. We’re here for you and want only the best for you. Keep being yourself and keep your head held high.

Trevor