"In high school, when a friend of mine said to me in class, “You know I’m gay, right?” I said, “No, I didn’t know that,” and smiled. Internally, though, I was freaking out. I knew many gay people, by that point – but this was the first time I’d become friends with someone with no preconceived idea of what their sexuality meant. They were just my friend, someone who made me laugh, and I was shocked to discover that here I’d befriended someone who was gay without even knowing it. They were supposed to morally decayed, soulless, dark and evil. This friend was none of those things. They had a shining heart and a wonderful smile, and with that revelation, they began to shatter everything I’d ever been taught to believe in about what it means to be gay.
I was raised to believe that a gay person was something other than myself – something different and slightly less human. And when I was confronted with the reality of a person who I got to know as just that – a person, before I knew they were gay – it shook my belief about the inherent wrongness of loving the same gender. In the years afterwards, I had several close friends come out as gay. Their stories were filled with recounting years of hating themselves because they went to my church, and they had been taught the same things I had about what it was to be gay. They’d heard the pastor preach that to be gay meant that God hated you - that being gay was the worst sin of all. And when my friends came out, they told me how long they’d tried to change, how they’d wanted to die because they knew they couldn’t."
To read more, head over to HelloGiggles.