I know I am late in sharing my thoughts on HB2 and the shootings in Orlando. It has taken me this long to process all of it and, frankly, decide whether or not I even wanted to talk about it publicly. But I do want to talk about it. I want to share something that is difficult for me to write about. It’s difficult to talk about, to share, to open up about. It’s my sexuality and how that defines who I am and what I fight for.
It is never easy to pull back another layer of myself and expose it not knowing what the response will be. But it is important to me…something I feel called to do….to say something and, by saying something, become a safe place for others to speak up and expel any fear they may have as well. Let me explain….
In my teens and early twenties, I defined my sexuality as being attracted to specific people (everyone has their “type”, right?) without regard for what gender they were. Gender meant nothing to me in terms of who I was attracted to. I was attracted to the individual person. I guess the official label for that is “bisexual”. I dislike labels. It’s the whole “don’t put me in a box” thing. But that is a post for another day.
Fast forward to 2013-ish. I’ve been in church, building a relationship with Jesus for about four years at this point, and I feel the need to really research my view of sexuality based on what the Bible says versus what anyone else says. Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love not to form beliefs and then go to the Bible to back them up but to read the Bible and form beliefs as a result of what the Bible actually says. So that’s what I did. I read the Bible and I formed my beliefs. The verse that stood out the most significantly to me was this:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24 NIV
I wanted so desperately to be Jesus’ disciple. Still do. Everything in me craves Him. And in that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit so clearly….denying myself meant NOT pursuing romantic relationships with other women. It meant not binge-eating when I’m tired or frustrated. It meant not pursuing relationships with men when I really needed comfort from God. It meant not settling for some legal form of addiction when my soul really craves God. Denying myself covered a lot of things for me, including acting on the desire for romantic relationships with other women. That is what particularly stuck out to me and the truth that I cling to even now. My relationship with God is FAR. MORE. IMPORTANT than literally anything else on this earth. To tell me that is wrong is to attempt to push into my boundaries, my property lines, which others have no right to push into. That is what God told me and I have not regretted living in obedience for one minute since then. I challenge everyone reading this to go to the Bible and seek the truth in it before forming beliefs and hoping the Bible will support them. Then live by the truth found in the Bible. It is totally worth it.
Alright, now that you have some background, I need to address HB2 and recent incidences in Orlando. Recently, a man went into a gay club in Orlando and murdered 50 innocent human beings who ALL bear the image of God. I am heartbroken. I am devastated that this happened and even more devastated that folks try to say God allowed it in order to punish homosexual sin. This is WRONG. So, so, so, so wrong. God had NOTHING to do with this horrible, tragic event. He mourns with the rest of us, probably even more than the rest of us, because He already knew that giving us free will would also give us the ability to choose to do such horrible things to each other. If you are part of the LGBTQ community, please know that I love you, I will fight for you, I am still shedding tears with you as I type this. Know that God LOVES you and will FIGHT for you, and that what this man did was WRONG. It is his wrong. It is on him completely. My God would never, ever want something this horrible to happen to anyone.
Also, my state recently passed a law informally known as HB2, requiring folks to use the bathroom that matches their genitalia even if their genitalia doesn’t match the gender they believe they are inside. I didn’t know what to say about this bill at first. I wanted to make a joke about it because it seemed ridiculous and trivial in ways. I wanted to criticize it. Some part of me even wanted to agree with some of it. I was confused and decided that the best thing to do would be to step back, watch, and listen for a while before saying anything. Then Orlando happened and I did not want to be that person who only speaks up when tragedy happens, when it’s easy to stand by others. I want to always be a voice for those who feel they have no voice. I want to always fight for those who may not be able to fight for themselves yet. So here are my thoughts:
- I have good friends, whom I love very much, who have been through hell (literal hell) in the form of years of childhood sexual abuse or rape. They are all women but I know men who struggle with the effects of the same thing. One of their common triggers that reminds them of their trauma is a man walking into a women’s public restroom and assaulting them. I HAVE to respect that. I have to allow space for that. I have been sexually exploited. Sex has been used to manipulate and hurt me more times than I can count at this point. Public restrooms are not a trigger for me. But I would be devastated…I would feel very unsafe…if someone heard of my triggers and waved them away saying I need to get over them or that they’re unrealistic or invalid. Now, I have been through four years of intense counseling to recognize and respond to my triggers effectively. Some friends have also had years of supportive mental health services. But not everyone has the ability to do that, so to expect someone with no good mental health resources to respond in the same way I would is unrealistic and unfair to them. I have to allow space for healing for my friends and for others who do have this very real fear and feel that HB2 is a protection against their trigger.
- I have friends and family members who identify as transgender. I have a personal history of identifying with the LGBTQ community (see above). I know folks who have been assaulted and terrorized for being transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc and I will not promote or support ANYTHING that condones this injustice. Some of the comments in support of HB2 sound very Holocaust-esque. They appear to be nothing more than fear mongering towards human beings who happen to identify with the LGBTQ community and I believe this is because there is fear of the unknown. The problem is that rather than getting to know other people, they separate themselves by making or supporting unnecessary laws. I will not support that motive. Ever.
- I say “unnecessary laws” because, at the end of the day, that is how I understand this law. It is not necessary to protect folks. Assault, rape, indecent exposure, and the general violation of another person’s being are all already illegal. HB2 didn’t make them illegal. If a man walks into a women’s restroom and assaults a woman…even if he tries to use the excuse that he feels like a woman, so he went in the women’s restroom….he still assaulted someone and that is already illegal. And while I’m at it…how does HB2 protect boys and men from being assaulted BY OTHER MEN? How does HB2 protect women and girls from being assaulted by other women? It happens. I personally know both men and women who have been assaulted by someone of the same sex. So where is their protection? If this law is truly only about protecting our children, why isn’t it all-inclusive?
So, the bottom line for me is that I am FOR my sisters who have to work through fear of going to restrooms in public places because a stranger may come in and violate them again. I am AGAINST those whose fear of others who do not “fit the mold” has motivated them to waste an entire country’s time on an unnecessary law and has further contributed to the real injustice already being experienced on a daily basis by those in the LGBTQ community.
I think that the bill itself was written too quickly and without consideration for all potential victims. I still don’t understand its need as well. Again, already laws in place. I think the idea of protecting everyone in public places is great. But it must be EVERYONE. I don’t see that with HB2 yet unless I am missing some huge piece of this bill. If there is truly a new law needed, it needs to be far more well-written than what we currently have. Clearly, I just need to run for office. 🙂
I understand that discussing this bill may seem trivial to some as well and I actually agree. But the underlying issues it has highlighted are not trivial. We have to stop isolating certain groups of people. We have to acknowledge real violence and injustice even if we don’t fully understand it. People are hurting. People are dying.
Sex and sexuality is such a precious thing to God. He designed it to be beautiful and intimate. Our culture has taken people, reduced them to a cheap version of sex, and violated them as human beings. This is wrong. I will not accept any of it. I will use every second of my life that God gives me to fight against it. Sometimes, that requires me to share parts of my story and I’m always nervous. But I’m also hopeful that sharing will create change somewhere for someone else.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.