My father, a huge sports fan and participant was overjoyed when his only son told him “No, I don’t want to play baseball or basketball, I want to be a figure skater.”
Now, I am not saying figure skating is a “gay” sport but when your father played hockey, baseball, and basketball, it isn’t his dream to see his son in a letard. I have the utmost respect for figure skaters, it isn’t an easy sport. I competed for a few years.
Growing up I heard the dreaded f word a lot from my father, grandfather, uncles – all of the men in my life. I also remember hearing the hate in their voices when the subject came up. This caused a lot of conflict in me when I was young. School was a source of torture for me as well, it seemed the other kids knew I was gay before I did. I was in a world where I was supposed to be ashamed of who I was. My male family members said it was wrong, my church said it was wrong, and my peers said it was wrong; therefore I must be wrong, defective in some way.
When I finally came out at age 16, my one uncle stopped talking to me. At family gatherings it was like I didn’t even exist to him. This was difficult because after my father left he was the closest thing I had to a dad and now he had left me as well. In my senior year of high school someone had carved “Fag” into my locker. I can’t even describe the shame I felt when I approached my locker that day and saw it. The kids around me were laughing, I didn’t find it amusing. The school approached me with a bill for repairs. If I wanted to receive my diploma I would pay for the repairs. I remember saying okay keep your f’ing diploma, so ended my high school career.
I battled the demons placed within me by others for years. There were periods where I felt I didn’t deserve to live because I was damaged, everyone said so, therefore it must be true. My struggle hasn’t always been successful, many times the voices of those who focused so much hate on me won. At least I allowed myself to think they won but truth be told something in me made me realize I was better and stronger than they wanted me to believe.
Rupert Turlington, a character in my book, is gay. He becomes the focus of Stela’s desire to change the social standing of homosexuals. The people of Hulsteria and really all of Saaveth see homosexuals as deviants. There desire to love is punishable. The laws are all based on the beliefs of the church, much as it is in our own world. Stela challenges these beliefs and questions how a God who is supposed to be known as loving could possibly promote hate towards love.
Writing this book has helped me understand my own feelings on who I am. I am very religious but I don’t believe God hates me because I love someone of the same gender. I think of the passages the hate spewers never seen to quote “Judge not so that ye shall not be judged”. Isn’t hating someone a form of judgement and as such are we not setting the bar for our own judgement when we stand before Him? “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, most are of the mindset “hate both”. Religion should bring about love and tolerance, not hate. Why is religion used as a vehicle to allow hatred? It is contradictory to what religion is all about.
I am friends now with many of those who made my school aged years hell. Some have apologized for the anguish they caused me back then, saying they were just kids. That isn’t an excuse for your hate. Hate isn’t hereditary, it is learned, somewhere you were taught that different is bad. Don’t say sorry I was a kid, admit you were homophobic because you learned to be homophobic. Yes many tell me know that they have many gay friends and their views are different but it doesn’t change the scars that you inflicted on my psyche. I always gracious accept the apologies but often wonder why they feel the need to apologize? Own the hate you had or possibly still have but are now ashamed to admit as an adult, when you can’t use ignorance as an excuse.
Sorry this post turned out so personal, it was just something I had to get off my chest. Realize when you hate, you not only hurt the person you hate, you also hurt yourself. So even if you don’t stop hating because it is wrong, stop hating to stop hurting yourself. Hate only attracts more hate, where love has the potential to attract more love if we let it.