When I first knew I was gay, I was disgusted by the sight of two women holding hands on a bus. I turned to the girl I secretly held hands with and said “I just don’t think I’ll ever be ok with that”.
I remember watching Mardi Gras on TV and thinking to myself “how shameful”. A couple of years on I confessed to a friend “If you think you’ve been bad, I‘ve been worse – I’m guilty of the worst kind of sin”. Later I took that message to a gay friend asking for advice in her relationship “I really think being single will be more beneficial to your life”.
For years I was disgusted by queerness. Repulsed by my own sexuality. I had taken on the messages they told me in the news and in the pulpit “they’re degrading society, schools and families”. I felt gross, especially because I knew that was me.
This is the power of internalised homophobia.
It instills feelings of disgust for the things inside you that you’ll never be able to clean or rid yourself of. It takes the negative attitudes of others and buries them deep inside your heart. And what crushes a lot of us now is that we echoed that hatred onto others like us. Vulnerable and confused.
However, if given the chance, all these things can get better…
Soon you will discover that what used to disgust you, now gives you your greatest moments of joy and goodness. You will realise the things which shamed you are actually the gift you have for a world suffering from restrictive gender norms. One day later you’ll see two women hold hands on a bus and your chest will burst with joy.
Out of great shame, I’m thankful I found people who showed me a different way. I give thanks for the people who told me a different narrative about myself. Who brought light into my darkness. Who loved me for all that I am and all that I bring. These are the people who gave me my life.
And in the grace of others you will also find grace for yourself. For the things you thought and said. Because they were never your narrative. They were always someone else’s, no matter how deep they got lodged inside you.
In reflecting on the last few days, it’s my prayer that no one will ever have to hate the things that they’ll one day see are their most wonderful, beautiful parts. I pray that everyone finds their gifts, receives their joy and finds their life.
You are beautiful. You are loved. You belong.