I am a gay man, I am also the son of a united church minister, the grandson of a minister (now passed) and lived a childhood that involved church every Sunday, prayers before bed, grace at dinner, and religious symbols all around my parents home where I grew up.
Growing up I always felt different. Being brought up in a very small town in rural Ontario, it would have been fairly common for me to be one of the few gay kids, and thus I always felt like I was a little more on the outside. But thanks to my personality, I just adapted and found ways to fit in, which in the long run was a great skill set to learn.
That being said, I never really thought much of religion either and when I was 18 walked away from my ties with religion, but not my father. Regardless of my beliefs, that man has always been an example to me.
When I was about 18 I told my parents that I was gay. My dad turned to me and said, “Mark, you are my son, and no matter what I will always love you and I will always be here for you.” I remember taking a breath, because in the days leading up I hadn’t given my father enough credit, that his love for me would supersede that of anything that he had thought about homosexuality possibly caused by religion.
I remember years later I asked my father if he thought that being gay was a sin at any point in his life and he said, “I wasn’t put on this earth to judge the way people live their lives, I’m just here to live mine the best I can and help others along the way” and “while I admit I don’t understand what it is to be gay, it doesn’t matter, cause you are the way you are, and that’s perfect”
This, from a minister, a man who has devoted his life to the church, a man with a bachelor’s in divinity, a man who teaches god’s word.
Let me say, that I am in awe of my father. He has not only been so amazing with men I have dated, and welcoming them into our family, he talks about guys with me, we joke and talk about how idiotic some men are. There is literally nothing he and I can’t talk about.
He stood by me through addiction, depression, coming out, you name it, he has been there, and each and every single time, without judgement.
“I am not here to judge, I am here to be the best man I can be, and do the best I can while I’m on this earth”
So how did so many others go so wrong? This is the way religion is supposed to be, but it’s not, not even close.
Instead, people are persecuted, ridiculed, refused service, called names, pushed, shoved, tortured, and in some cases murdered, and even her in north America as I write this the LGBTQ community is fighting to keep their rights.
Taken away once again in the name of “Religion”.
No matter what you believe, or what religion, if you think living your life persecuting others in the name of “god” is religion, you are terribly wrong and you are actually a bad person. There is no “god” that would ever want you to cause harm to someone else, to hurt someone else, or even turn your back on someone because of the way they were born. Yes for all you people out there, I WAS BORN GAY.
I was surrounded by straight people, my parents have a wonderful marriage, my brother is happily married to a woman. Life didn’t make me gay, I tapped my way right out of my mum, threw out some jazz hands and sung a piece from the Sound of Music.
I was BORN GAY, but you, you weren’t born homophobic, you weren’t born hateful, or born wanting to actually inflict pain on someone that has NOTHING to do with you.
Here is my advice to all the people out there that will inevitably write to me, call me names or whatever comes after this goes live. Look within yourself, find your own happiness and stop being so focused on what you think others are doing wrong, and focus on what YOU should be doing right.
And to my father, Thank you. Thank you for teaching me right and wrong, thank you for teaching me what a true man really is, someone who loves enough, that he need not understand, but just accept and celebrate the differences between us.