I remember in Sunday School being taught that “God is love,” that “God loves me” and “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world; red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.” I was also taught that I was a child of God.
These were beautiful, reaffirming, comforting things for me to hear. I believed them and as a result, I felt safe and deeply loved in church. It was home. I could be me. I sang in the choirs. I went to vacation Bible school. I eventually grew old enough to be active in the youth group.
At school, it was different. I knew that I was different from the rest of the boys. I was no good at kickball. I preferred to hang out with the girls at recess and play pretend games. Even though I was tall and physically able, I was always the last one picked for teams in P.E. class.
Eventually, I got teased for this difference. In sixth grade, other boys started called me “fag.” I tried all sorts of attempts to act cool, to seem like the rest of the guys, but I was not very good at it. I wasn’t fooling anyone.
Fortunately, I had lots of adults, mainly women, who thought that I was very talented as a musician and as a student. They encouraged me. They told me I could be anything that set my mind to and wanted to be.
At age 15, my body started changing, as did those of all the kids around me. I realized that I was deeply, sexually attracted to boys, not girls. I was deeply sad. Depressed. I wanted to kill myself. I tried praying away this lust I was feeling for other boys, but God did not take it away. God just told me to be patient.
Eventually, God and I came to terms with my being gay. God taught me that I was okay, that all of the things I learned in Sunday School were true, and that among all of the many things he made me, he made me to be sexually attracted to other guys.
God is still teaching me that it’s okay to be gay, not to be ashamed of who he made me to be. I am still learning that God is much bigger and more complex than people think.
I believe that God does in fact love me and that I am indeed a child of God. I believe that I am made in the image of God, and just as God’s image is reflected in red and yellow, black and white, it is also reflected in male and female, gay and hetero, physically fit and physically disabled. We are all created in the image of God and God loves us just the way we are.