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Posts Tagged ‘Religion & Spirit’

Coming Out in A Faithful Family

25 May

When a family has been exposed to one of our group (the LGBT community) in a positive way, they’ve the opportunity to grow and evolve past the prejudice that may have been present before. We have to remember that prejudice is first learned and cultivated in a vacuum of evidence while it is dissipated through experience and an open mind.

For young adults and teens growing up within the confines of religion and religious families, I completely understand the reasons behind the fear of coming out (or being out’ed).

It isn’t easy to take that leap of faith, in the hope that your family will react favorably to the news that you aren’t what they’d assumed you were (all these years later). You and I have had time to reach some level of comfort with and acceptance of our sexual orientation. Even while some members of our family may have “suspected” it at times, the “news” that we are gay is still that; news that they have to process.

I always tell young people who are contemplating the act of “coming out” to their families, the most important preparation for that day is to be certain that you love and respect yourself and as well, that you have a support system in place to fall back on if your “coming out” doesn’t go as well as you may have hoped.

Growing up I was surrounded by family members who were very religious. I was fortunate in that they didn’t “seem” to be the kind who would react dis-favorably if and when I came out to them. (That didn’t make it much easier.)

All but one has been fine with the disclosure. A few were, and are, perhaps uncomfortable talking about the subject matter but that’s only because they, like so many others, seemingly think of it as being only about sex and little to do with who we are in our heart of hearts). For those persons, I wish you would understand that in the end it’s no different than how you feel; it’s a matter of whom we feel most comfortable sharing our lives. That’s it.

I came out years ago (to my mother first, around 1988 and the to the rest of my family the following year.

To be honest, I don’t for the life of me understand why they never figured it out on their own. I never dated [girls] and if anything, the hidden young man’s underwear section of the Sear’s catalog in my bedroom along with what Mom repeatedly described as my “snot rags” (ROFL!) back in those days should have been cause enough to clue the family in.

People see what they want to see I suppose.

I’m well aware there are families that are more religious than mine, whose members have spoken and acted out hatefully while discussing homosexuals, our pride events and/or actions intended to bring about understanding, equality and tolerance. I understand the hesitation and fear [some] feel over the thought of coming out, even in this so-called more accepting and enlightened age. The truth is there are no guarantees and it’s that “not knowing” that often paralyzes us into inaction.

Prior to coming out, take stock of the situation carefully. Gauge your circumstances and come out when YOU are ready to do so, not a moment before and certainly not at the bequest or perceived need of another (a boyfriend or girlfriend perhaps). Will it be as though a burden has been lifted? Many have said it’s like finally being able to breathe. I know that sounds like every reason to do so but I always tell young people to not act in haste; to come out only when they are in a position to care for themselves if necessary (or have verified they’ve the support of others if worse comes to worse. Sometimes this means waiting until after you’ve completed your secondary training (college, etc) and don’t for a moment feel guilty about that.

The world is a wonderful place but it isn’t always fair; sometimes it is anything but [fair]…

The day arrives, and…

Sometimes it goes well and at other [times], total chaos and dissension ensue. I’m aware of young teens who were disowned and told “leave and never look back.” {sigh} It’s heartbreaking to me when I read of this happening (and obviously worse yet for the young person who’s lost all of the family he ever knew growing up). It isn’t right and depending on the circumstances, can lead to any number of bad decisions on the part of the youth; actions taken just to “get by” and/or secure love and affection from anyone who will accept him into their life.

My response to every young person who experiences the worst from their families after coming out is, “YOU are still the very same person you were before they knew. You are worthy, intelligent, loving and certainly deserving of a happy future. Don’t let the ignorant, unreasonable reactions of others, even if they are your family, make you feel any less of a person than the blessing that you are. If they are incapable of seeing you for who you are, that’s their loss. Don’t make it your own by losing faith in yourself.

In closing and to those reading who are young and contemplating coming out under what may prove to be difficult circumstances and duress. Look to those “you trust” for the support that you will need. Be very observant, careful to recognize the signs if a person is offering his or her shoulder to lean on (but in truth, has a personal agenda). There are good people and bad people in this world; some have ulterior motives and their “support” is anything but free and without strings attached. I want you to be liberated of your own closet (when you are ready) but please try to do so without stepping from one set of confines into another that may be much, MUCH worse for you in the long-run.

To put it bluntly, do everything within your power not to become a statistic; one who is taken advantage of emotionally (and perhaps even physically) during the process of coming out to your family.

Namaste,
Michael

Resource Links:

  • LGBTQ Youth Rights by Vickie L. Henry, Director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative — On first glance, this appears to be a fairly comprehensive and well thought out resource for LGBTQ youth growing up in families of faith.

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Judging Christians?

13 Aug

Some days you need to step back for a time before responding to something you find offensive on some level. That said, offense is in the eye of the beholder (just as is beauty). Each one of us can find something within any given situation to feel slighted by or to find value within; it just depends on where our/your heart is at in the moment I suppose.

For instance, when I first read Matt’s blog entry of January 20, 2011 titled “Dear Gay People” I’ll admit I was pissed. I found it offensive (and to some extent I still do but I also understand the point he was trying to make and I agree with it).

What did I find offensive?

Well, to be honest it was the statement, “…be delivered from whatever demon makes you
want to hump each other
.”

Such attitudes are, in my opinion, what drives so many LGBTQ persons away from any kind of religious faith whatsoever. To suggest our sexual orientation is the consequence of sin and the willingness to embrace the ways of some perceived devil is ludicrous. They/many would rather accept that kind of thinking rather than realize that (to us) our sexuality is every bit as natural as heterosexuality is to our peers. Such opinions are held and comments made by demagogues who simply wish to play on the emotions of those who either cannot or are unwilling to think for themselves. It’s that kind of an attitude that drives me away from organized religion and instead, to worship and pray in my own way separate and apart from the blind who follow [others] like lost little sheep. Oh, and being gay isn’t all about having sex. If that were the case then there would be quite a few periods of my life where I wouldn’t have been able to call myself “a gay man.”


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Soul Mates: Do They Exist?

23 Apr

photo of love's heart in the skyThere are many, MANY different experiences that can give one the necessary motivation to grow but one of the most effective of these is “Love.” Love (and sadly, hate) move us in ways no other emotion can; the lack of it fills us with sadness and the need to “reflect” while its presence in abundance can move us to put the needs of others before our own.

Love comes in many different forms; the love of a community, of family and friends… These are the most common, but what of the passion-filled romantic kind of love such as that felt by ONE [person] for another?! Is there anything that can quite compare with romantic love? Consider the phrase, “I have fallen in love…” Fallen is a fairly accurate description because nothing can more accurately describe the stumbling sensation one feels as his or her life is first influenced by the many hopes, dreams and expectations we experience when the romantic love one feels for another is fresh and new. Until such occasion as we believe we have found it, we spend much of our time looking for and dreaming of our “Mister” or “Miss Right”.


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Was There a Reason For That?

05 Nov

Photo of crystal globe in front of chain link fenceAnother writes, “At first glance, our lives may look pretty hectic and chaotic” but goes on to observe everything seemingly happens for a reason.

People come into and leave our lives at random moments.. Events unfold which motivate us to make difficult decisions or simply give us the necessary nudge to go in a certain direction.

Is it random or is there a reason for everything that happens in our lives? Is there a plan or are we simply making the best of demanding circumstances, choosing to live and let go so we can move forward from a set of conditions we find uncomfortable and distressing?

Maybe it’s a little bit of both… (random with a plan); regardless, your task is to make the best of any given situation.

There have been many times in my life when I’ve seemingly made bad decisions that placed me in the middle of a lot of chaos; difficult relationships, a decision to leave a job of 12 years to start a business with my then partner (of 6.5 years), etc. Some of my adventures have been pleasant; some, not so much but all have helped to mold me into the person I am today. I’m certainly not perfect and would never be so presumptuous as to describe myself as such but I am passionate. I’m empathetic (most times) and compassionate toward others and their own plights. In many ways I wish that I could do more for a much larger group of people; perhaps one day that aspiration will be achieved but for the time being I can honestly just say I’m fairly happy with the person I see myself as. Even as a single [older] and less active, not so healthy, gay man I can say that I’m a much stronger person today than I was ten or twenty years ago.

There’s something to be said for trials and tribulations — and as well, there’s the old adage “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

Namaste,
Michael

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Vipassana, grace and sin..

23 Sep

Today’s entry is written to clear up a misunderstanding with regard to morality, sin and “judgment”. A comment was made on on my last entry, “Digging Deep within (Part #2)” which deserves clarification.

As I consider my earlier statement (“A thing/experience is not good or bad; it simply ‘is’“), I realize I should have spent some time talking about “Sila“. Sila is a Pali word meaning ethical conduct; put another way, it might mean “morality” and forms the basis of the Buddhist practice for a spiritual life. We will be discussing the Precepts which lay the foundation for a spiritual life further on in this entry.


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Ordained women no better than pedophiles?

17 Jul

What the hell were they thinking?Photo of the Pope

I’ll warn you right now; this particular entry is not expressive of a friendly tone toward the Catholic Church (I will, however make an attempt to reign in some of my criticism)…

It’s understandable that many people feel Catholic priests, AS A WHOLE, have undeservedly been given a black eye because of the ridiculous and illegal behavior of SOME of their peers. They claim it is unreasonable to believe every priest is guilty of molesting their underage charges and that we would all do well to acknowledge that bad apples are present within every walk of life.

They are correct. We should not assume that just because ‘some’ priests are miscreants, that they all are.

After all, those in the priesthood are no more or less immune to the influence and failings of humanity than any other person (regardless of the fact that many might choose to put their religious leaders up on a pedestal).

It’s a shame they cannot remember this while thinking of others they themselves seem to have so little in common with, and are judging on a regular basis…


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Michael Ray Huerta’s Birthday Wish..

08 Jul

What follows is a video that I stumbled across on Gay.com earlier today; a video which I wanted to share with you because it helps to explain WHY I do some of the things I do myself.

I did not struggle as much with accepting my sexuality as others have done over the years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the pain some do go through as they themselves grow into young GLBTQ adults. It’s [often] not an easy task to accommodate; feeling as though you are SOOOoo different from the majority of those around you (or worse yet, as though you are undeserving of the same respect and love that others may seem to take for granted on any given day).


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“The Egg” by Andy Weir

07 Jul

I did not write this (credit DESERVEDLY goes to the author, Andy Weir); the original appears here. I’m only sharing it because I enjoyed the read and it pretty much is in synch with what I believe our lives are really all about. I’ve said for as long as I can recall that there is truth to be found in ALL religions but that “no one religion is 100% factually correct.”

I’m certain my family, most of whom are Christian and two of which are preachers as well, do not enjoy my thoughts on this — but it’s what I do believe. In part, because of my own experience with past lives. « more

Anyway, enjoy the story!

Namaste,
Michael
 

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Founding Fathers (Christian or “Other”?)

05 Jul

Interesting (and not the first time that I have heard this). Article is from ArticlesBase.

Jefferson’s Bible

By: Ernie Fitzpatrick

When a new member of Congress is sworn in, they are given a copy of Jefferson’s Bible: otherwise known as, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth! It is thusly called the “Congressional Bible“. Pat Robertson and otehr right wing Christian leaders and groups mention it’s prominence in the governmental process. What they fail to say is how just the opposite it is of the Christianity that they proclaim and preach.


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He Is Risen

04 Apr

Photo of Jesus Christ and lambThe long-awaited Easter morning has finally arrived…

For some, this day is their “finish line” — marking an end to whatever it was they had given up for Lent but for all this is representative of the day Jesus Christ did arise from the dead. Easter Sunday is a special day — a Holy day — for all Christians. For me, perhaps more so even than the day celebrated as Christ’s birth (Christmas).

Don’t ask why but the celebration of Easter, for me, just has more of a sacred feel to it (as compared to Christmas). Or, perhaps sacred is not the appropriate word to use but rather somber because of the sacrifice that was made all those many years ago.

I really do not have a lot to say in my blog today other than to wish all of my friends and family a Blessed Easter holiday. May you celebrate this day in good health, giving thanks for all that you have and acknowledging the gift that was given for you over 2000 years ago.

You might familiarize yourself with the Easter story by clicking here and I also invite you to listen to a beautiful song entitled “The Ballad of the Cross” (just click on the pink Play button on the Audio player shown below).

God Bless,
Michael

The Ballad of the Cross
 By Elton Smith and Larry Holder
Recording by Steve Israel and Rhesa Siregar

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