Chad Grayson

An Open Letter to the Queer Kids who are Being Raised in Christian Families.

Artist Credit: Steve Johnson

I’ve been where you are. You’re experiencing attractions you can’t explain, feelings nothing in your past have prepared you for. And you’re terrified. You would be so ashamed if anyone in your life found out, so you soak yourself in shame, you deny that these feelings are real. And maybe you’ve overcompensated, trying to show the people you love that you’d never be like those people, the people everyone is disgusted by, the people they can’t understand, that the ones that, if they are otherwise kind, they pity.

Or maybe that’s not it exactly. Maybe you have the unexplainable sense that the body you were born with does not seem to fit who you are at your core. But that can’t be true, you think. God doesn’t make mistakes, so you’re certain the problem must be with you.

I have a message for you, one I wish I would have heard when I was in your shoes.

There is nothing wrong with you.

You were created by the divine spirit, whatever your faith tradition calls them. And you were made to be exactly who you are called to be.  

All that garbage you’ve been fed? That’s all it is, garbage. It’s garbage that too many people still believe, but it is garbage.

Sure, the Bible has some things to say about this. Or at least people think it does. A lot of what it does say has been mistranslated over the years. And even if that weren’t true, the Bible has a lot to say about a lot of things, much of which even the most devout choose to ignore (Did you know the New Testament explicitly forbids charging interest on a loan, and remarrying a new partner after a divorce?)

My point is that falling in love with someone, no matter who they are, is not a sin. Even the Bible names love as the greatest force on earth. Also, queer people have existed throughout all of history, one way or another, and Jesus never said one word about them.

So, please understand that nothing is wrong with you, even though it really feels like there is. You feel these feelings like they are acid corroding your soul, a secret that if it were to be revealed would separate you from everyone you love.

And maybe it will. But if it does, please know the problem is them, not you.

God, if he exists, does not want you to live a lie. They created you, and if you believe in this type of thing, Jesus died for you. The Holy Spirit indwells you. You truly are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that includes every part of you, even the parts that you think you could never accept.

If you’re like me, you prayed hard to be ‘normal,’ and it has shaken your faith to its foundations that no cure has appeared. There is no cure, because this is not a disease or a disorder. You can’t pray it away because it is one of the many gifts the creator has given you.

Maybe it’s not safe for you to believe these things yet. If so, I understand. I believed I was a fundamentally broken person well into adulthood.

I’ll say it again and keep saying it until you believe it.

There is nothing wrong with you.

I have more good news. You don’t have to make a choice between following your faith and living an authentic life. Granted, you may have to leave the particular faith tradition you are being raised in, but there are many welcoming communities out there, and there are many queer people of faith. People who see the fingerprints of the creator all over you. People who will be ecstatic to meet you one day and welcome you into their found families.

Maybe it’s not safe to come out right now. Maybe you can’t imagine a time when it will be safe. That’s ok. Keep yourself safe. There’s no shame in that.

But sometimes people surprise you. Someday you might get tired of pretending to be someone you’re not, and you will lay down the mask and speak your truth out loud. I wish I could tell you I knew what reaction you would get from the people you love, but I can’t. When I finally spoke the truth to my fundamentalist mother, the first thing she said was that she loved me. I wish I could guarantee that will happen to you too, but I don’t have the ability to read the future.

So, that’s what I wanted to tell you.

There is nothing wrong with you.

God loves you. Jesus died for you. The Holy Spirit indwells you. Falling in love with someone could never change any of that. Being the person you were created to be, even if that does not match your gender assigned at birth, definitely doesn’t either.

You were created to be exactly the person you are. Maybe someday you’ll be able to come out and walk in the light. Maybe you’ll never be safe. That decision is completely up to you. You’re not a coward if you choose safety.

God loves you, and the queer community loves you too.

I just wanted you to know that.

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