My Pride Month: Still in the Closet

As most of you probably know, June is recognized as pride month. This is a month for anyone and everyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate the things that make them who they are. A beautiful concept right? I mean, of course you should celebrate who you are every day. But a month focused on love and acceptance, not to mention the colorful and fun parades, seems pretty damn awesome if you ask me. 

But what if you haven’t come out yet? I’m not saying that anyone should have to come out, I think that’s really your own business. But here I am writing this article about my experiences as an anonymous contributor because I’m too scared to come out. 

Ever since I was old enough to understand, I was told that it wasn’t right for someone to be gay. I was encouraged to be nice to gay people because it was the right thing to do, but those people were going to end up condemned because of the way they chose to be. I was told that there was no such thing as a gay Christian. If someone claimed they were both gay and a Christian, they were lying whether they knew it or not. 

This didn’t really make sense to me because I had always been told that if someone accepted Jesus and believed he died for them they were saved by his grace no matter what. I had been told that even a murderer who repented could go to heaven. So, it didn’t make sense that even Hitler could potentially end up in heaven, but someone who fell in love with someone who is the same gender as them would have to go to hell. The bible talks about how all sins are sins, so in God’s eyes stealing is just as much of a sin as lying, cheating, killing, etc. Why did being gay have to be the end-all sin? 

All of the things I was told really made me question my faith. Especially because around that time I had noticed that I started thinking a lot of people were really attractive. Not just people of the opposite gender, like my friends did, but people of the same gender. I thought that I was catching some sort of demon or evil spirit and at times, I even thought God was angry at me. I thought he was making me feel this way just because he wanted me to go to hell and he wouldn’t have to see me get into heaven. I felt even worse when I would hear people at my church and even my parents talking about the “gay takeover” or hear them talk poorly about gay people. Then, they would involve me in the conversations so that I could chime-in in agreement and affirm that I was still on the up and up. 

As I got a little older, I did a bit more research when it came to sexuality. I learned more about gay culture and what the bible said about it. I learned about the different sexual orientations and I found that where I fell in that beautiful rainbow was in the pansexual category. For a long time, I kept it completely to myself. Then, I shared it with some of my online friends, where I could be sure the basic profile picture of an upside down smiley face or a movie character I liked would protect my real identity. 

After I got a job and a license, I felt like I had two separate worlds and I felt more comfortable opening up to the people I worked with. In college, it was the same thing. I felt as if I could literally paint myself the colors of the pride flag and my parents would never know. For that reason, I felt so happy. I was excited to feel accepted by someone that I felt more welcomed wherever my family and my church weren’t. It still sucked though, because I never really and truly felt happy and completely ok being in my own skin. 

I went to the counselors on campus and tried it out; I had gotten to my lowest point and I literally didn’t want to be alive anymore because of the way my life was. I had battled depression for years in my own ways growing up, but this was the darkest it had ever gotten. I tried therapy and I hated it, so I filled out their little survey and answered all the questions the way they wanted so they could see how “improved” I was. 

I started just focusing on trying to have fun and I started going to parties with my friends. But, I ended up drunk and crying in the middle of the party because my parents wouldn’t love me since I was pan. I would have to go to hell because I had kissed a girl and I liked it (no time is a bad time for a Katy Perry reference). 

I’m not writing this article to shame my family or the church. That’s part of the reason I’m writing this anonymously. They did what they thought to be right and in line with their own beliefs. I personally believe that God loves me for me and that as long as I am a Christian, I’ll end up in heaven, where I want to be. I just have to overcome the small voice saying otherwise. 

I’m writing this article to share that even though you might think you’re alone out there, you aren’t. And while we watch our community being celebrated the whole month, it’s important that we start learning to celebrate ourselves too. There’s been so much progress made in our community but there’s still much more to make. One day I hope I get to a place where I’m confident enough to tell everyone and to let them know who I really am. But until I am, I’m very thankful for the people that do know and that support and love me for who I am, even when I struggle to do so myself.