- by anonymous -
There really aren’t enough stories about coming out to yourself, online or elsewhere. At least, I haven’t been able to find enough.
I’ve considered myself a straight ally for a long time now. The Reconciling community has been my church and my family through thick and thin for years, from convocations to General Conference to this epidemic of trials that seems to have struck The United Methodist Church in recent months. It has been the place where I felt safe to be myself and to support my dearest friends. But now… I feel like I’ve been lying. In retrospect, I should have known. I should have figured this out by now. I should have recognized that ex-boyfriends—no matter how much I cared for them—just weren’t quite right for me. I should have noticed how flustered I became around beautiful women. Hell, the few people I have come out to seem to be in accord that overall this is not surprising news. Apparently, I’m really good at denial.
I want to tell you who I am, I want to be out one thousand percent. But honestly, I’m scared. I’m scared that you’ll feel like I’m accusing you of not being a safe space for all these years, or that you might think I’ve had some deeply ingrained homophobia directed at myself, or that you will think I lied. I’m scared that my motivations for contributing to the Reconciling movement will come under scrutiny, that my actions will be perceived as secretly being for myself instead the friends and family that I care deeply about.
I want to come out so badly, but at the same time, I know doing so would almost guarantee my removal from the ordination process. Reading about recent events in The UMC—Rev. Schaefer’s trial, Bishop Talbert’s presiding at Joe and Bobby’s wedding, the blatant discrimination against Mary Ann Barclay, etc.—I think that’s a safe assumption to make. I’m honestly scared of losing everything I’ve been working for.
And dear God, I’m scared of the questions, those questions that I’d overhear my LGBTQ friends in The UMC being asked, those questions we’d all roll our eyes at. “Why don’t you leave this denomination? Why do you stick around when this institution is basically abusing you? How can you even be religious as a lesbian/bisexual/gay/trans*/queer person?” Can’t I just skip ahead to the part when everyone knows and no one blinks an eye?
Being scared really isn’t my forte. I don’t like it. Part of me wants to just change my Facebook profile and get it over with. Part of me wants to tell the Church universal to go screw itself. Part of me wants to look the IRD’s leaders square in the eye and dare them to come at me. Part of me just wants to march into the Board of Ordained Ministry interview and start flipping tables and taking names. Part of me wants to call every Bishop in the UMC and read the names of the dead, to accuse them of murder for every instance of harm their silence (or diplomatic speaking) has caused. I want them to know what they’ve done, what kind of hateful culture they contribute to.
Why do I stay in the UMC? Good question. God only knows.