I was raised Catholic by Lebanese parents who grew up in war. My parents moved to America shortly after my older sister was born. Religion is what got them through tough times even after moving to America and having to basically start over. I strongly respect them and what they believe in even though I’m not religious myself anymore.
In high school I was very religious. For almost two years, I went to church every Wednesday on my own accord because I wanted to feel close to God. I always loved the spirituality part of it instead of sitting through Mass and listening to some grumpy looking old man talk about the Bible.
I would go to church, talk to God for however long about anything, and then I would go home feeling great. I did not tell anyone else at the time that I was attracted to girls and would ask God to give me a sign that it was ok to like other women. I also really wanted to be bisexual so that I could just focus on my attraction for men.
One of the main issues with that was the lack of attraction and the depression that would go along with dating people you’re not into. I wanted so badly to be gay without feeling like God would disapprove or that something was wrong with me.
My parents never talked about the LGBT community but my mother had gay friends while I was growing up so I knew she at least didn’t think negatively about the community. I still spent a good time in silence feeling like I was disappointing God and eventually my family if I ever decided to date a girl. Eventually I stared telling people including my sister. She was ok with it from the start.
When my parents found out, I knew by then I was only attracted to women. They were approving which was surprising to me but there was an adjustment period for them. I started feeling guilty for my parent’s approval because I didn’t want them going to hell too because I liked girls and they supported me no matter what.
I started taking some philosophy classes in college that made me question religion. I ended up coming to the conclusion that if there is a God, he doesn’t care about people being gay or believing in him. He Just cares about people being good or bad. I’m not someone who thinks I have all the answers I really don’t know much but I think it’s ok to have different opinions and I respect anyone for their religion or lack of.
One time I went to church with my sister and we attended a Mass where the priest was genuinely kind but he said that it was wrong to be gay. That really bothered me because he isn’t trying to cause harm to others and he thinks he’s doing the right thing. Saying things like that could truly hurt LGBT children in the future, who love God but hate themselves for being who they are.
Life is difficult enough we don’t need people telling us that who you are as a person is morally wrong. I actually really liked the priest until I heard that because he seemed like he really cared about what he was doing and talking about with good intentions.
It’s a weird feeling to know you strongly disagree with someone who thinks in their heart they’re helping you. I once had a lady hand me a card saying I deserve to burn in hell for my sins and an advertisement for her church on the other side because I was talking to my friend about a girl I liked. She told me, “Jesus loves you” and I thanked her for the card until I read it and was taken back by the dramatization of my doomed future in the fiery pits of hell. In my heart again I felt like she meant well so it puts me in an odd position but I do not agree with her and I think it’s really unhealthy to think this way.
I spent too much time feeling guilty for being a lesbian and lusting after women but in a world with Olivia Wilde playing bisexual characters on TV, it’s just cruel. All jokes aside, I know a lot of churches and religious people do actually accept the LGBT community. I’ve also met a few religious people that are members of the community and I think that’s great.
My family is very religious and I love them with all my heart. I know there are a lot of wonderful religious and atheist people out there. We can all exist peacefully if we all respect one another. I think that anyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs and should be respected and respect others for their beliefs.
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