When others share their coming out story, it’s a valiant and daring act
By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist—
No two are alike. Coming out stories are unique, special, and empowering. When someone has the courage to come out, it is a learning opportunity for those scared and thinking about doing it. Or, it provides perspective to those who have already made this monumental step. Sometimes, there are no formal coming out stories, a person just openly, honestly, and authentically lives his or her life and does so quietly and without an announcement.
In July, I attended a few performances of the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the dance company’s home for one week each summer. I had an opportunity to meet Sean, a local gay “celebrity” who is involved with a Sunday morning radio talk show. He took his mom to see the Romeo and Juliet ballet with Prokofiev’s haunting music.
The energy between mother and son was awesome. They adore one another. He made it a point to call out to my dear friend, Rocky, whom he has known for many years, to beamingly introduce her. I’m not sure how Sean’s coming out story went, but it was obvious, there’s unconditional love between mother and son.
Over the last several months, I had an experience with a coming out story that didn’t go well. A young man in a very conservative Christian denomination was outed by a controlling, manipulative partner. The outed young man, a leader in his church, was abandoned by his Christian community. It also placed an extraordinary strain on his relationship with his parents. Although he stays upbeat, I wonder what’s going on inside his head.
I’m not a relationship counselor, but I did advise him—toxic people need to go. This young man’s partner was bad news. No one should be forced out of the closet. It is a deeply personal decision, and in these circumstances, it manifested itself in spiritual and emotional abuse by a controlling, self-serving, unethical partner.
Keep in mind, however, even toxic people are loved unconditionally by the Maker of the Universe. Although some—and I consider myself one of them—may not have the inner strength to forgive and let go, the Cosmological Maker always forgives the sincere and genuine.
In thinking about these two very different family situations, I reflected on how all of us are a holy Creation of the Creator. I also thought about the lessons or perspective these experiences give to me.
In the case of Sean and his mom, I was nurtured by their positive energy. In the case of the abused young man and his so-called partner, I thought about spiritual and emotional brokenness. I prayed that the domestic violence would end and advised it may need police involvement.
If you believe in a higher power, there is no “coming out.” The Giver of Life knows everything there is to know about you. The Cosmos unfolds as it was intended by the Holy Architect. You cannot be a mistake for being LGBTQ. Otherwise, you would never have been born. Mistakes are not given life.
It’s a difficult concept to understand, but all of us are loved unconditionally. Our souls are known intimately and completely by The Giver of Life. You cannot be rejected. Why? Because you are Creation. God (gender neutral) doesn’t make mistakes. God doesn’t reject that which was made in the image of the holy and sacred.
Ultimately, each person answers to God, conscience, and the person with whom he or she joined together to create a family. In some ways, there is no such thing as a coming out story. The Supreme Being already knows who you are. You cannot come out to God. God already knows you.
God knew who you were when dad had a twinkle in his eye looking at mom. You were conceived. You were born. You have purpose. You have meaning. You were loved unconditionally before you entered the world from the womb as an LGBTQ person.
*Paul is a personal chaplain/spiritual director, seminary trained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s also the author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”
[First published on the August 2, 2018, issue of The Rainbow Times.]