In traveling more than once to India, I've had the opportunity to meet a few people, and had a glimpse of life there. I can never again see a photo and not imagine how life is different for a person there as compared to where I live in the West. I have to consider what it's like to be a woman who might have no means of independent support. What's it like to have an arranged marriage? Could I have been denied education because of being a woman? Is it possible my parents would have beaten me if I tried to have a boyfriend? Then again, I might have had wonderful extended family, living with me as I grew up. I could have been doted upon by an indulgent father, protected by surly brothers who made sure my honor was never infringed upon. And I'd have had some pretty wonderful Indian food every time there was a family event - all perfected by aunties and sisters.
All those things cross my mind when I think about how it is from someone else's perspective.
In a different way, yesterday I got an e-mail from a mom of a gay son. Here is part of what she shared:
It is interesting because I have always had friends that are gay. I have defended them to my family and anyone else that questioned my heart for them. Also bisexual and intrasexual that are created male/female. God has been preparing me all along with a love for a group of people that didn't fit into the God Box that the church in America created. I feel blessed and chosen. It was as if God had said, can I trust you to love this community for me. They need to feel loved and respected. "Can you do this?"
And then my son Trent came out after he went away to college. I will never forget the call. It was the bravest thing I have ever seen in my life. My first concern was his heart. I didn't want people to be mean or judgmental. He was given by God to me to love and guide and protect. The part that broke my heart was that he knew this since he was 10 and that he had to carry it alone.
I am so proud he is living honest and that he has the peace that comes from knowing who he is and that God loves him.
This is obviously someone who looked through different eyes than those around her. She knew that as a mother, [her son] "was given by God to me to love and guide and protect." And part of how she knew that others would judge him was because they had judged her, simply because of her name, Gaye. Earlier she had shared this introduction:
My name is Gaye. I am a christian and have been teased and been made fun of by people inside the church because of my name. When my son came out and told me he was gay I realized why God had given me the name. My parents went back and forth between Gaye and Grace. They settled on Gaye. I am so thankful that God had been preparing me all these years. I understood how unchristian the church had been to be because of my name. I hope and pray that my son will not loose faith in God because of how ungodly the church can be. My son is the most amazing artist and the best human. He has always been my hero. He has always loved whoever God placed in his way.
I think that "Grace" fits Gaye, too. I wish every mom of a gay or lesbian child would get a glimpse of life for their son or daughter, and protect them like this mom has! Besides seeing the persecution of GLBTs because of her name, she's also realized that faith can be lost by those unloving people inside church. There is a whole boatload of insight that this woman has had during her life, simply based on what it means to be Gay(e).
update: Here are some good articles written by Justin Lee, founder of www.gaychristian.net. He talks about what it really means to be gay, and has written about being gay and Christian. I hope anyone searching "gay and christian," or "what it means to be gay," will find the articles helpful.