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Why I Never Went Back to Church After Coming Out

Hello, welcome. For those who don't know, I grew up in a religious household (the most religious one being me). I was a church girl for my entire life during grade school, but I didn't really really dive into religion until I started high school. I was a worship leader, a media member, a volunteer, a bible school student, you name it. Any time (literally) the church needed me, I was there. Any time. I've made a video about this experience, so if you're tired of reading already, then you can watch it below. It's pretty old, so excuse the cringe hahahaha.

Things were going great for me. I loved the people at church, those people seemed to love me, and religion gave me a sense of purpose. I'm not going to get into the how and why I dove into Christianity (I tell you all about it here) but what I will tell you is that I wanted it to be my life-long devotion. I wanted to become a missionary, preach, lead thousands into worship. I wanted to make a difference through Christianity.

Fast forward to being a junior in high school. I enrolled in bible school because I wanted to become a preacher. I was the youngest in the class, yet I was friends with all of my classmates. I lived the "normal" teenager life during the daytime by going to high school, and I would spend all my evenings at church right after. It was exhausting, but I was so passionate and I loved it.

But then I started noticing all the derogatory comments about homosexuals and the lgbtq+ community. You see, I had always labeled myself as "straight;" I mean, that's all I knew. I had been brainwashed into thinking that being gay was a choice, a choice that Satan made you take. I believed that being gay was a mere sexual fantasy, not an identity. I believed that being gay meant you needed to accept Jesus into your life to wash all your sins away. I believed gay people were going to hell.

These derogatory comments hit differently though. By this time, I had the pleasure of knowing a few people from the lgbtq+ community. My motto at the time was that I loved them just not what they did. (I disgust myself every time I think about the way I used to be.) I was no longer comfortable being around people who spoke this way about homosexuals, but I wasn't strong enough to walk away. I was a bystander who failed to speak up.

Fast forward to getting my first job at Boston Market. Ironically, almost all my coworkers were lesbians. As I said, I'd always thought of myself as straight with a mere fantasy of being with someone of the same sex (a fantasy that was obviously the Devil's work). But oh boy did I blend right in with my coworkers. It's like I unlocked a level in my life that unleashed endless rainbows and glitter. The joy.

Without going into the nitty-gritty, I realized that "straight" was definitely not me. As I began to realize this, I was expecting guilt. I was expecting to feel closer to hell. I was expecting an exorcism. However, I felt excited; I felt happy. I began to feel more excited about going to work than going to church. I began to realize how unwelcome I'd be at church if I was my true self.

Funnily enough, on a Sunday while I was working the media, the department head came to me (I was sort of a leader?) and told me to talk to and observe the newest media team member because her mom had raised concerns about her thinking she was a lesbian. When he approached me to tell me this, I was SO sure that he was going to talk to me about my recent discoveries.

It took me a few months to work up the courage to finally come out to the church. I came out to my parents (forcefully) way earlier, and they kept urging me to say something. However, I knew that telling the church would be the end to feeling welcome and the end of my involvement in the various roles.

In the process, I lost my best friend (who was also a church girl), I quit bible school, I quit media, and I quit the worship team. I came out to my mentor (the head of media), and he told me I had to set my happiness aside for God. Baloney. The God I know and love wants me to be happy. My mentor told me I needed to seek counseling. That was my last day in church. I couldn't bear returning and being pressured into acting straight.

You know what hurt the most though? 99% of those people and peers who I considered to be my friends never reached out to me to offer their support. I had gone to church every single day for years, and not one text.

Obviously I know that the people in church aren't God. However, I couldn't help but see the "fakeness" of it all. My brothers and sisters in Christ gave no fucks about me. They turned their backs on me, and I could no longer go into another church without being reminded of that experience.

You know those questionnaires that ask you your religion and how often you go to church? Well, I went from "every day" to "once a year." The irony.

I’m not saying that that all churches will make people from the lgbtq+ community feel unwelcome. However, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get past that traumatic experience. That shift in my life led to other identity crises (ones I might address at a later time).

I was mad at God for years, and that is no longer the case. I feel at peace with Him.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and tell me if you've experienced anything like this. Subscribe for more and share if you'd like. Additionally, let me know if there's anything you'd like me to write about.

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