I Am No Longer A Gay Christian

Guest post by Kat.

I have been struggling most of my life trying to reconcile my faith and my sexuality.  Most recently, it’s been Hell on Earth.  When I came out about a year ago, I felt closer to God.  I accepted who He created me to be. Then the humans interceded.

My Christian friends and family have been wonderful, not even batting an eye when I told them.  But as time went by, there were little comments here and there that chipped away at my soul and at my mental well-being.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the ripe age of 20, but I know that I’ve been depressed since I was taught what was right and wrong according to God.

The past couple weeks have been the worst for my mental well-being.  My sister and a couple of friends are starting a Bible study in September. My sister warned me that they were going to talk about homosexuality as a sin. At the time, I was ok.  It is what it is. We’d be studying the Bible, and there is no question that there are scriptures about it (even if they aren’t translated correctly). But as time went on, I started my plummet into guilt and shame. Continue reading “I Am No Longer A Gay Christian”

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Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

Out of Touch

(Originally posted on March 2, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’ve been a lesbian my entire life. I know this now. I’ve spoken to other lesbians who can pinpoint the exact moment they realized they were gay. I can’t. I’ve always figured that, as a youngster, I was just too sheltered to recognize what was right in front of me.  I’ve always assumed that I was simply a latecomer to the right vocabulary.

I did not know I was gay growing up. Or, at least, I don’t remember knowing it.

I’ve been looking at some old diaries of mine – we’re talking early nineties, teeny-bopper diaries. Within those pages I found an anxious girl; sensitive, insecure, and yeah, I’ll say it: frequently obnoxious. I had incredibly strong feelings for my friends; feelings that made me possessive and paranoid and easily hurt.

Amid these waves of naive and needy words, I came across some fairly compelling foreshadowing. In the middle of an entry about first periods and friendship hierarchies, I had paused to write a description of one of my best gal pals:

She’s really pretty. People say she lost weight. I said, “Yeah, but I didn’t know she’d had much to lose.” Anyway, she had a tank top over her bathing suit and shorts, and she has a figure! I guess she always did, I just never really noticed it. And her hair is really nice. When all of us grow up, I honestly think she will be the prettiest. (Do I sound gay? Because I’m pretty sure I’m straight. But, you never can tell. Sometimes it worries me.)

I was thirteen when I wrote those words. I knew the terminology. I knew that the idea of being gay was cause for alarm. And I also recognized it as a legitimate possibility, however non-committal I was with my word choice. Back then, my young mind was still open enough that I could momentarily entertain the thought. So I wrote those secret words down in a book that only I would ever read. I wrote them, and then I forgot them. Continue reading “Out of Touch”

Rx Marks the Spot: Finding a Queer-Friendly Therapist

In 2006, when I was eleven, I attended a camp for young writers, and I fell hard for a boy that I met there. I had a crush on him from the first time that we spoke. One day, we walked together as all of the campers made their way down to the river. While we were walking, I remember him mentioning that he identified as bisexual. I had previously assumed that everyone was capable of having feelings for anyone, like I did. Once he corrected me, I knew that I had a new label for myself.

Being in therapy had given me other labels, already. At that time, I knew that I had clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. As the years went on, I was able to overcome my depression, but added Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the diagnosis list instead. A few years later, I gained a new diagnosis: having some of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder. My internal life has often felt like a collection of acronyms: BPD, LGBTQ+, PTSD, with a nice marinade of anxiety and dysmorphia just to keep things interesting.

In a dream world, my sexuality would never have had a negative impact on my treatment for mental illnesses. Unfortunately, not all mental health professionals are well-educated in what it means to be young and queer. (Hell, not all mental health professionals are even good people.) Continue reading “Rx Marks the Spot: Finding a Queer-Friendly Therapist”

Reflections

(Originally posted on June 25, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

What a week it’s been.

I typically try to keep my blog topics queer-themed, but lately I’ve been thinking more broadly. It’s all been big picture stuff – life, the universe, and everything. I’ve spent this past week in east coast country; breathing fresh air, being moved by nature, and having intense conversations with people I don’t talk to nearly enough.

Being here, off work and surrounded by family, friends, and scenery I only see once a year, disrupts my routine in the best way. It forces me to really see my life like an objective observer. It’s a time-out, during which my only priority is to figure out where I am and where I’m headed.

It can be so easy to leave things as they are in life. Routines feel safe and comfortable and uncomplicated. Human beings resist change by nature. But this past year has taught me that moments of change are the moments when we really live. Continue reading “Reflections”

The Other Closet

My journey to accept feminism has been, perhaps rather predictably, deeply influenced by the women I’ve looked up to in my life.

My small-town upbringing showed more in the feminism department than many others, probably because I’d never cared enough to research feminism for myself. If I had researched it earlier, I would have realized that it was really about equality for all gender identities. Instead, I thought that to call yourself a feminist meant that you were also a misandrist, and I often ignorantly equated the term with women who verbally or physically attacked men.

Now that I call myself a feminist, I find these admissions shameful and upsetting. However, I think it’s important to be honest about it, because I know I’m not the only one who has walked a similar path.

From mid-2013 through to the summer of 2015, I worked as a receptionist and sales person in Edmonton, Alberta. I grew up a lot during my time in that job, although that’s hardly surprising since I was only eighteen when I started there. It just so happens that Mo (yes, that one) was my coworker at that job.

One day, feminism came up in the workplace. Myself, Mo, and our manager Barb were discussing the term. I honestly don’t remember the contents of the conversation, but I do remember saying my then go-to line when someone talked to me about feminism: “I’m not a feminist. I don’t like any sort of -ism. I want everybody to support each other. One gender isn’t better than the other…” and so on, and so forth. I’m sure you’ve heard this kind of response before.

I remember that Mo seemed pretty affronted, and I think that my declaration ended the conversation. It didn’t come up again in the workplace, but because I had always looked up to Mo and appreciated her opinions, I started to second-guess myself. Was I wrong about feminism?

I knew I had been wrong about feminism when I watched Emma Watson’s 2014 speech to the United Nations in support of the HeforShe campaign. I am very much a product of the Harry Potter generation, and I grew up worshiping Hermione. When Emma Watson left the franchise and set herself apart as an activist and talented actor, my admiration followed. Hearing the true definition of feminism from Ms. Watson led to a deep shift in my life. I remember crying when I watched her speech, both because of my awe at her strength, and because of the shame I felt for my own ignorance prior to that moment.

By the time I started university this past September, I was already identifying as a feminist. I didn’t know very much about the theory’s history, or its different branches, but I knew that I believed in equal rights and intersectionality. I hadn’t met anyone who had openly identified themselves as a feminist to me, aside from Mo, so Tumblr and Facebook were really my only outlets to explore feminism.

And then I started school, and the flood gates opened up. As I learned more and more about feminism, I realized that more and more of my friends were identifying themselves as feminists, and I was less and less inclined to keep myself in the feminist closet. In particular, two amazing professors helped me to embrace my feminism: Dr. Andrea Cuellar and Natasha Fairweather.

Dr. Cuellar covered women & gender studies for a significant portion of her semester-long class on Anthropological Archaeology. Her approach was one of ruthless honesty and critical thinking, regardless of the gender or theoretical standing of the authors we were studying. It’s no exaggeration to say that by the end of that semester, Dr. Cuellar had razed my ideas of gender in history to the ground, and then completely rebuilt them.

For example, my idyllic view of the glorious “Mother Goddess” who had supposedly presided over most of human history was destroyed. It was largely replaced with an understanding that humans have always been flawed and confused when it comes to the idea of gender identity. Even in cultures where sex/gender dichotomies (themselves questionable sometimes) seem not to have been important, there were usually other ways of dividing the population and subjugating the many in support of the few. Dr. Cuellar showed me that feminist theory is an excellent middle ground for archaeologists and anthropologists to take – and I could also see that it served as an excellent standpoint for me to take in the rest of life, too.

Likewise, Natasha Fairweather often used feminist theory as a more well-rounded alternative to the often polarizing extremes of Sociological thought. She was my professor for my first Sociology class, in the same semester as Dr. Cuellar’s Anthro/Arky class, and I could probably sing her praises for an entire article. It was Natasha who gave me a proper timeline of the waves of feminism, and introduced me to the various identifiers that feminists use (ie. Liberal, social, radical, etc.). It was also Natasha that showed me how one could actively integrate feminism into their life, both personally and professionally, without becoming a misandrist.

During this very formative semester, I posted something on Facebook about being a feminist. Shortly thereafter, Mo sent me a text that said she was happy to see that I was identifying myself as such. She told me about how shocked she’d been when I had actively denied being a feminist, back in Edmonton, because everything she’d known about me prior to that moment had indicated that I was a feminist. I felt intensely gratified that my friend had recognized this change in my thought.

My feminism is something I wear on my sleeve, now. I talk about it regularly. I do my best to educate my friends and family when they have questions, and I also shut up and listen in the more common event that they know a lot more than me. Hell, it’s even become a significant part of how I choose what TV shows to watch (Jessica Jones or The Ascent of Woman, anyone?). My feminism is central to my identity, right up there with my sexuality and spirituality. I am intensely grateful for the many amazing women who have guided me to this place, from friends, to coworkers, to professors. Because of them, I’ve learned that the patriarchy hurts all of us, regardless of our gender identity, and that we all need to actively work to eradicate it.

I’m proud to say that I’ve come a heck of a long way from the naïve girl who moved to Edmonton back in 2013, and I’m very excited to see where I go next. I want you to know that if you’re questioning your identity as a feminist, it gets better. Go ahead and come out of that other closet. We’re waiting to welcome you with open arms.


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Let’s Get Physical!

I’ve never liked going to the doctor. Growing up, I had no problem visiting the dentist, or the orthodontist, or the optometrist (even though those three conspired to make me a glasses and braces nerd for most of junior high). But seeing a GP was different.

I spent two stints in the hospital at an early age. I don’t remember much about that, aside from how strange it felt to be somewhere without my parents, and how startled people were that a six-year-old could spell the word pneumonia.

The hospital was a thirty minute drive for us. We only went there for major problems. For the rest, we had a local clinic, much closer to home. When my siblings and I needed things like booster shots (vaccinate your kids!) and antibiotics (bacterial infections only!), Mom would haul us to the little building by the school. The waiting room was small, with a handful of chairs and a play area for the kids. Continue reading “Let’s Get Physical!”

Journey Over Whiskey Bay

This week, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that a friend is having a book published.

Congratulations!” I messaged her. “You’ve worked so hard. I can’t wait to read it!”

And I meant those words. I’m proud of her. She’s brilliant, and she deserves all the success she’s had. She worked hard to get a tenured position in a field that’s openly hostile to women. She built her success increments at a time, and she’s finally being rewarded with the spoils of all that hard work.

But my celebration of her success was tinged with a sense of shame in myself.

There was a time when I’d planned to publish too. There was a time when I’d chased a tenure track career and the respect of a difficult field. There was a time when I’d hoped to travel the world and give talks and organize lectures.

There was a time when I thought I could control the way my life turned out. Continue reading “Journey Over Whiskey Bay”

Flowers at Work

I used to work at a sign shop. I spent nearly five years there before deciding to walk away. For the bulk of that time, I worked with a woman named Barb.

I was single during my first two years with the company. I wasn’t closeted in my personal life, but my gayness hadn’t really come up at work, because why would it? I had told a person or two, but most of my coworkers weren’t aware of my orientation – not for certain, anyway. Barb was no exception.

Kate and I started dating in late 2013. Because she’s the wooing sort, she used to send little treats to me at work now and then. She was sly about it, too. The very first time she brought me something, she slipped out before I even knew she’d been there. Our new receptionist brought a cup of Tim Horton’s hot chocolate to my desk. With it, she delivered one of Kate’s business cards, with the command “Enjoy!” neatly printed on it. Continue reading “Flowers at Work”

Hello!

Welcome to Butch Please!

My name is Mo, and I’m a thirty-something lesbian living in Edmonton, Alberta. I share a small apartment with my wife, Kate. She’s a late-twenties bisexual chick.

Kate and I each had our reasons for wanting to create a site like this. We’ve both enjoyed websites of a similar style, but lately we’ve noticed a decline in quality. Content has veered towards click-bait topics (misleading titles, intentional controversy) and click-heavy formats (list articles that make you click on a new page for each item). Many websites have become almost impossible to slog through due to the overwhelming number of ads. Continue reading “Hello!”