How Being Gay Made Me Better.
When I was young, I asked “Why?” a lot. Why did God make me gay? I guess I still ask it every now and then.
But less and less with each day. I haven’t stopped asking because I found out the answer. I still don’t know why, but now I can finally be grateful that He did.
In a recent HRC poll titled “Growing up LGBT in America,” LGBT-identified youth talked about their biggest current concerns in life. In order of most important, they named: (1) Non-accepting families (2) School/bullying problems (3) Fear of being out or open.
While Non-LGBT youth stated their biggest concerns were: (1) Classes/exams/grades (2) College/career (3) Financial pressures related to a job or college.
How can I be grateful for a harder childhood?
Not to downplay the importance of both sets of issues, but one is quite a bit heavier of a weight to carry around as a child, simply because of a sexual orientation that you cannot control. The other set is part of being young, most everyone can relate to those issues. Still tough, but we know that LGBT youth are much more likely to consider suicide because of the issues they face on a daily basis.
Yes, it’s discouraging to me that LGBT kids still have to carry the weight of worrying about being true to who they are.
But having survived it myself, I now know that carrying this weight helped me to grow far beyond what I would have been able to do without having been gay. It opened my eyes to a world beyond what I knew at the time. It forced me out of my comfort zone. It caused me to reconsider my beliefs, and every relationship in my life. It made me fall on my knees and cry out for help in prayer. It changed everything. It made life about more than myself. It allowed me to empathize with others. It made life more than a checklist of achievement, it made it a tangible human experience filled with ups and downs.
If you’ve had a life-changing moment, whether by choice or not, you can probably relate. Some of the best things in life sometimes feel like failure. Sometimes they are horrible experiences that take us years to be able to discuss. But when we’re ready, they can help us be the people we were designed to be. Only when we stop being the victim and become the designed, intended for this life, just the way we are. And now better because of it.
In that same HRC report, 77% of LGBT youth said they know things will get better. 92% of their non-LGBT counterparts said the same. I’d like to think that less LGBT youth said things will get better because they understand: Things don’t get better. YOU get better.
For so long I fought with every ounce of my energy not to be gay. But now, I cannot imagine life any other way. I will jump for joy on the day when there is no more discrimination based on sexual orientation. But until that day comes, I will jump for joy that I am becoming a better me.