In the following post Paul’s sister Jacs courageously shares about her journey to understand her sexuality and the impact it had on her family and her faith.
From a young age I knew I was different, I felt different but I thought it was something all kids went through as they are trying to find their feet in life. Being brought up in a Christian household, going to church and going to camp every summer, I tried to fight the feelings and ignore them. I knew my parents found it sinful to love the same gender, all I wanted to do was make them happy but as I tried to fight through it in my teenage years it made us grow apart from each other and I felt like an outsider. I luckily found friends in high school who supported me as they were going through similar experiences. I eventually accepted it when I was 15, I came out to my friends they were all pretty happy for me. However, we all know that in school kids get bullied for everything that’s different about them, and me being homosexual gave them ammunition. I now look back and realise that people only criticise what they don’t understand.
I tried to come out to my mum but she wouldn’t listen so this pushed me even further away from them. I wanted a hand through this stage in my life, its hard enough being a teenager learning to make good choices and learning from your mistakes without having extra burdens on your shoulders. I tried to let God into my life when I was 18, I really thought I had him in my heart, I saw myself as a Christian but I soon realised that I was pretending to be someone who I wasn’t. I really wasn’t happy with my life, I started hating myself because I wasn’t going to be the person my parents wanted me to be. I went into a three year relationship with a girl and I moved out, this pushed my parents even further away as I had to hide who I was. I became a horrible person and it got to the stage I didn’t want them in my life if they weren’t going to accept who I was. I eventually came out to them officially, I think they found it pretty heartbreaking but this was a start to mending our relationship.
I’m now 26 and I would say I have a pretty healthy relationship with my parents, I think coming out to them has taken away that tension between us. Throughout the years I have tried talking to them about it, they occasionally change the subject but I think in years to come they will be happy to talk openly about it; the world is changing.
Having Christianity or any religion in your life has a big impact on your relationships and the person you want to be, you shouldn’t have to pretend who you are to make people like you. There are reports of people being killed for being gay. I’ve never understood this as sexuality is not a choice. Is it a choice to be straight or whatever you define yourself as? Everyone can believe in whatever they want to but they shouldn’t hate someone for what they believe in just like they shouldn’t hate someone for what sexuality they are; they should get to know the actual person before judging them. The Bible tells you not to judge but yet some do as they take your sexuality into consideration. This affects a lot of people, look what it did to me with my parents all because of Christianity I couldn’t be who I was and this made me somewhat depressed and our relationship was strained because of it. Some families get destroyed because homosexuality and religion apparently do not mix. Kids get thrown out of homes and made to live on the street and can go down a dark and dangerous path.
I think the next step the world needs to take is that we all need to mix and everyone will realise that we aren’t so different. As we get to know each other we would realise it doesn’t matter who we love, love is love and people need to understand this.
This post is part of our series ‘Unpacking Privilege’, click on the links below to read more.