Nov. 9th, 2014

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Four years ago, I was a casual watcher of this random musical television show called Glee. I was convinced that homosexuality was a choice, and that a person could be taught to turn it off. I likened it to alcoholism, and that treatment could help alcoholics, right?
Enter Blaine Anderson onto my favorite show. Enter Darren Criss onto my radar. Most of my church friends stopped watching Glee after Original Song because it glorified “sinful behavior”, but I didn’t see it. I saw two people falling in love. I didn’t see gratuitous sex or lust-driven passion. I saw two boys who felt the exact same way about each other that I felt about my husband the first few months of our relationship.

Then I started looking for information about Darren, because I loved his voice. I discovered the Trevor Project and the great work they do when he performed Teenage Dream and Not Alone at their benefit. I fell in love with that song and went looking for more information about it, assuming it was another cover. I discovered Starkid and AVPM and AVPS and a love affair with their ridiculousness was born. I discovered a whole world of music Darren had written and began downloading the first of hundreds of live recordings of the voice that still melts my heart. The thing that stunned me the most was that as a straight man, he was not afraid to be labeled gay, to play a gay character, or to be associated with gay causes like Trevor. He made it clear that being gay, to him, was not a negative, nor a positive, but just a fact about a person like skin color or eye color.

I began to seek information from other Christians that I knew felt differently about homosexuality than I did. Over the course of the next two years, I discovered the fandom community, Tumblr, fanfiction (talk about glorifying sinful behavior. There was the gratuitous sex!), and made many, many friends who helped me solidify my belief that gay is not a choice, that gay people aren’t inherently more sinful than anyone else, and my mind slowly changed.

I “came out” as an ally when my state tried to pass a marriage amendment. My church was passing out yard signs to encourage people to vote to limit marriage equality. At the same time, they needed a Sunday School teacher for the middle and high school youth group, which at the time entirely consisted of teenage boys. I was a prime candidate to teach, but I refused to sign the statement of faith that included a line about the sinfulness of homosexuality. They let me teach anyway. They’ve since invited me to lead worship as well. Huh. No lightning struck.

Chris Colfer played a huge role in my questioning as well, with statements that he made in interviews, One statement that struck a huge chord with me was during the Glee episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio, when he was asked what he hoped to hear at the Peraly Gates. His response, “Don’t listen to them. You get to come in anyway.” To some, that was probably seen as a flippant or sarcastic joke, but to me, it struck deep. What were Christians doing if we were pushing people away from God? Our job was to try to attract people to Him, not drive them away.

Then, I attended a pride event last year with my new fandom friend, Annie, and went to a concert by a local artist I was interested in hearing live. She was, apparently, a pastor’s kid and left the faith because of the way her church treated a friend of hers who was gay. Despite growing up in the church, he was ostracized, harassed and eventually his family moved away to try and “fix” their son. She wrote a song about losing her faith and wishing she could be born again again, away from the God she grew up knowing. One line in that song struck me cold as well, “If it’s so easy, why is love absent from preaching?” At that line, every person in the crowd stood and cheered.

That reaction, in partnership with Colfer’s statement, made me realize more than ever that I need to stay within the church and attempt an internal change rather than leave for more liberal waters. I am working now to remind my peers that judging is God’s job, and loving is ours. That God created love, all love, including gay love, and there are over 400 verses celebrating that in scripture, where there are only 7 passages that declare homosexuality as wrong. There are almost as many reasons not to cut or braid your hair in scripture, which the women in my church ignore on a regular basis.

Who knew, four years ago, just how much my life would change by one boy stopping another on a staircase and saying, “Excuse me, I’m new here.”

Cross post from here:


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