Christianity is stigmatized as much as homosexuality


A few weeks ago I participated in an activity designed to enhance my understanding of what it might feel like had I had grown up gay. The activity involved listening to a speaker who read us a scenario of the many experiences that happen during the life of a heterosexual. At different times during the reading, the speaker would ask the group to write on a note card, the name of a friend that we shared secrets with in grade school or maybe the name of a person that we were attracted to in high school. During our college years, the group was asked to write down the name of our roommate or a good group of friends in whom we felt comfortable sharing our problems and concerns. On the last of six note cards we were asked to write what it was we most desired to do following college.

In the second part of the exercise, the speaker read through the scenario as if we had grown up gay or biaffectionate, and at some point in our life had decided to "come out." Each notecard that had the name of a friend or a loved-one was systematically torn into shreds and none of us were able to get that desired job or career following college. At each point in our life, when we tried to share with our trusted friends and loved-ones the fact that we were gay, they rejected us or the relationship became superficial and things were never the same again. Each of us were denied entry into the workforce because of discrimination, or we never obtained the same opportunities that straight people got.

During this exercise I felt very frustrated. I knew what the speaker was talking about. I wanted to say something, but I was afraid. The reason that I can identify with the gay person in this scenario is from my experience. A year ago, when I became a Christian, my girlfriend and another close friend of mine felt that "I had gone off the deep end." When I told my parents about the change that had occurred in my life, our relationships became more superficial. My mother did not have a problem with me being a Christian so long as it meant that I only go church. The problem is that I believe that Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for out sins. I believe in miracles. I believe in a relationship with God as being a reality. She doesn't enjoy discussing this part of my life.

Sometimes, I wear a T-shirt from a rally I attended this summer. On the front it says "March for Jesus." Quite often people make remarks like "Did you really march for Jesus?" as if it were the most ridiculous thing I had ever done in my life. They usually walk away with their friends, snickering and mocking me. I feel offended, but I also feel compassion for them because I know what they are missing.

I am not saying that I understand what it feels like to be gay, nor do I accept homosexuality, but I have lost friends and strained relationships with family members because of the life I now lead just as the person in the scenario. I also understand what it feels like for people to look down upon me when they do not even know me personally. Please feel free to respond to me at my e-mail address. If you have any questions or concerns, I will reply.

Steven Dunham

History/Political Science/Philosophy Sophomore

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