Though I am not gay, I often wonder what people would think of me, judged of me, if I were to come out. Even now those people may wish to have some assurance, but what should I say to assure you? First, why do you need an assurance? Fine, well, if you know me at all, you know that I am far too manly (or masculine) to be gay. There, is it settled now? Of course not! Does being gay make someone any less of a man or any less of a woman? While there are people who feel like a man or woman trapped inside the body of another sex, many gay people are men and women attracted to members of the same sex. Again, why should that make them any less masculine or feminine? Additionally, what if I was gay? Would that change the way you feel about me? Those of you who know me well, have any respect for me, or any love for me, would the way you feel about me change? Now, before you jump right to one answer or the other, think about it. What really would have changed about me, about the person I am? If you said, “everything,” you didn’t take any time to think about it.
I have thought a lot about this lately because of the growing tensions in this country as state after state lifts bans on gay marriage, and it really starts to hit closer and closer to home. A professor I worked with when I was a PhD candidate a Florida State University recently announced, “‘The boyfriend’ is now ‘the fiancee,’” as marriage equality recently made its way to Florida. In my current home state, Virginia, my wife and I were happy to see an announcement on Facebook that the owners and operators of a local restaurant we love will not be offering food Friday because they will be getting married. These and so many others announcing their good news are people I know and love, people I cannot imagine my life without, from casual acquaintances to close friends. Without this expanding equality, how could these people ever hope to know the happiness and security so many of us take for granted? I get their joy. I can feel it in their own words.
What I don’t get, what upsets me the most are the sign-toting haters. When I say “haters” I mean that literally. They hate “fags” and can often be found holding signs that say, “GOD HATES FAGS.” These are self-professed Christians, believers in Christ, believers in a God who came to earth and literally hung out with, blessed, healed, and forgave real sinners. He didn’t hate anyone, and he has always said to do the opposite: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 KJV). So before you jump to judgment, before you pretend to speak for God, ask yourself one question: would Jesus want to hang out with you?