I keep trying to come up with a way to disprove the gay agenda, the thing you think I and other members of the LGBTQ community are using to destroy the moral fabric of our country. You believe this agenda is sinful, and in some cases, more dangerous than terrorism. You somehow believe that my right to marry my same-sex partner will actually take value away from your own marriage.
I don’t agree with your reasons for disliking it, but the truth is you are right: The gay agenda does exist. You, the righteous Christians, the raging heterosexuals, the ones willing to speak up at the first chance to spew hate and disgust about my “lifestyle” are absolutely right. Our agenda is to gain cultural acceptance and equal rights by showing the world that gay lives are about as normal as straight lives.
We will use Coca-Cola ads, Disney movies, protest marches, parades, weddings, baby showers, and funerals to prove our normalcy. Don’t mince my words, though — I would never suggest that gay is the same as straight. Perhaps love is what separates us the most.
Do you remember that feeling you felt when you first fell in love? The butterflies, the anxiety of revealing your feelings for fear he or she wouldn’t feel the same, the ache in your heart when the object of your affection smiled at you or when you heard a certain song on the radio that perfectly summed up everything you thought you knew about love? I know that feeling too. I can still feel it. But when I fell in love with another woman, I kept it to myself because I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid my family would hate me. I was afraid of losing friends. I was afraid that the girl I liked, whom I was pretty sure liked me too, would not want to be around me anymore because she was afraid of the same things.
So instead of working up the courage to quickly kiss the person I had fallen in love with or reach over to hold her hand, I made myself sick with ulcers until I couldn’t take it anymore. In a move that could have ended our friendship and any type of future together, I rested my leg against hers while watching TV one night in a dorm room. To my surprise and relief, she didn’t move her leg. The innocence of fully clothed body parts seemingly touching by accident turned into months of coded interactions full of common knowledge: We liked each other in a way that was not just friendly.
Where you would have turned those nerves of new love into courage, dating, and possibly marriage, my nerves lead to fear, depression, and suicidal thoughts. My family didn’t approve, and I lost friends. But I found love. I found the person who made me better, who continues to make me better. After 20 years, I am still resting my leg on hers.
But it has taken me all of those 20 years to really understand and embrace the gay agenda. Because with it comes the ability of other LGBTQ people to not just courageously, but also confidently hold the hand of someone they have a crush on. Falling in love should not come with fear and internalized self-harm. Suicide should not be the thing that mends a heart full of love.
Love is a funny thing. You can’t conjure it or choose the object of its desire. But you can embrace it. You can also allow it to be, to just exist, without fearing it or letting it threaten the ways in which your heart and mind work. Love is kindness and acceptance. Love is letting vulnerability be your guide to happiness.
Yet it is also the reason for hate. The love of Jesus, love of the Bible, and the love of your children seems to be motivation to spread your displeasure at our happiness, to speak with disgust on your tongues, and to celebrate our discrimination. It seems as though the strength of your love is dependent on the amount of judgment, the amount of disagreement you hold for homosexuality, for people like me.
Some days your definition of love shakes mine. Some days it makes me hurt and some days it makes me angry. But mostly, it makes me sad — for you. Your love is keeping you and your kids from knowing some amazing LGBTQ men, women, and those who identify as something in between. Your love is keeping kids in the closet, those you don’t know and those who live under your roof. Love is not protecting them from being exposed to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people — it is teaching them to fear it. You will push away even your children.
My love and that of my community, however, will take anyone in and love them wholly, without judgment or expectations they can never meet. The children we are raising will too. We may protect our kids in different ways, but we always teach them to be kind and respectful to everyone, no matter the unpredictable ways the heart falls in love and no matter if their love was once a mask for something less than noble.
That’s the difference between you and me. I am not threatened by love. I am strengthened by it. And I will proudly spew my desire for equal rights by advocating the gay agenda all over the place, because you are right: I am trying to normalize love, the very thing that separates us.