It was religion, not God, that shunned me

I grew up in a not so small but very religious town. When I was eight my father left us because he was gay. It wasn’t long after that time that I realized I like girls, but I was determined not to be gay. My church said it was wrong, my friends said it was gross, my mother said it was wrong, and my father was hated just for being gay so I was NOT going to be gay. I went through my teenage years dating guys because it was the right thing to do. I would pray to God “Please make me normal, I want to be normal.”, but it never happened. I wanted so badly to be into guys like all my friends. I was once asked “So what kind of guys do you like?”, and I didn’t have an answer because “I don’t like guys” wasn’t an appropriate answer for a nice Christian girl.

When I went to high school there were some girls that everyone knew were lesbians and I would always hear my friends say “That’s so gross” or, the worst was, “They shouldn’t be allowed to be here”(at church). My senior year of high school I kissed my first girl. Somehow that got back to the people I went to church with, and not to subtly I noticed I wasn’t in the “in crowd” anymore. I was no longer called on to help the tweens and was removed from the nursery staff with no explanation. And then I found myself in a place where I didn’t fit in anywhere. The people who I went to church shunned me because I had kissed a girl and the non-church people wouldn’t even give me a chance because I was that Christian girl who didn’t cuss, smoke, drink, or do drugs. I ended up dropping out of church not to long after that because I felt more alone in the church than out. I graduated from high school and moved away from my home town. I wanted a fresh start.

I came out of the closet at 18 to the people that I was close to. I won’t say that was an easy process by far but it could have turned out much worse. My dad told me he already knew. My mother wasn’t happy but she didn’t disown me. I had friends that decided they couldn’t be my friend and that hurt but I moved on. I wanted to go to college but my grades weren’t good enough to get in so I decided to go to a Christian college and was faced with the decision to lie about being gay or risk not being accepted. Since I wanted so badly to make my life better I chose to lie because this was my chance. So at the age of 19 back in the closet I went. I made it through the first year just fine. My sophomore year I decided to move off campus with a group of friends. Living off campus allowed me to meet people outside of the school. I soon met a gay couple who lived in our neighbourhood. I then found myself having an ultimatum I had to choose “the lifestyle or school”, and sitting in the Dean’s office that day I decided I was tired of living two me’s. I left school that semester and once again the Christian community had left a bad taste in my mouth. It took a lot of very long conversations with God to realize it was religion and not God who had shunned me. I’m now 26 and completely out of the closet and very okay with myself.