Behind the Mask

Here’s another personal story that fuelled this blog’s existence. You might be able to relate.

I came to the understanding of my position on the hot debate on the LGBT Community in the church this past summer. It was when my hometown pastor preached about how if you judge and condemn another for being different whether it is disabled, transgender, gay, etc., you’re basically saying that you don’t believe and trust in God’s judgement to have made that person exactly who He wanted him/her to be. That same day, while driving, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” came on the radio and the words, “I’m beautiful in my way, cause God makes no mistakes” really hit home again. Randomly, about a week or two after these similar occurrences,  God tested me to see if I truly believed this… Believed in Him to make each individual the way He sees them in His eyes. Little did I realize how long I’ve been for gay rights all along. Several days later after the sermon and the song, I was given a window of opportunity to truly respond to what I had learned the week or two before. In this moment, I didn’t even realize what I was doing. The words that came from my mouth just flowed right out without any hesitation and I realized it was all from instinct.

As a current Resident Advisor (RA) at my own university, I was going through training when the event occurred. One of the activities during training was to present masks we created specifically to represent our identities. Throughout the day, I noticed something was off with one of the other RAs, a RA on my particular hall’s staff. He had made a few comments about not feeling loved (however in a kidding manner) and how things had been rough lately. But, most of just figured- like the rest of us- he was having a rough few days with stress in RA training. Yet, I knew something was up. When it came to presenting our masks, two of us had gone, and the troubled RA was next. His mask had a crown around its head, a bow tie around its neck and war paint on its cheeks. The RA went into explain that the crown represented his thought that everyone should be treated like a prince or a princess, a king or a queen. He then described the bow tie, noting that it represented his image to the world; he explained that dressing “put together” to seem “put together” was important to him. As the RA continued on his way to explain the war paint, he stopped. Next thing we knew, he was crying. He stated that the war paint represented the constant battle he was at with himself to be true to his identity. He was choking through his words and said that he only dresses put together because he wants to hide all the things that are going wrong in his life; that it’s a front. The RA said, “Before I came to training last week, I told my parents for the first time I was gay. When I told them, they looked at me in disgust and then said I would change. I’ve never felt so unloved.” When the RA said this, I was on my feet and running to his side. My guts intervened. My hand on his back, I just started speaking to him. The words that came out of my mouth were ones, now reflecting on it, that I wish I could have caught on tape so I could replay them to myself. The words came out so easily and each sentence made me realize that these were things I, myself, also needed to live by. They were real. They were empowering. To me they reflect that everyone is made to be different.

As I rubbed the RA’s back, the first thing I told him was that he was perfectly made. I told him to not believe that he ever needed to change and to be the individual he wanted to be. I remember saying over and over again, “be you, be who you are and who you want to be and don’t let anyone tell you differently.” I explained to him that right now it was probably very difficult for his parents to hear that he was gay because they were maybe caught off guard or they didn’t know how to handle the situation, etc. I said, “I’m sure your parents love you unconditionally and in their minds, they want the best for you. Maybe that is why they acted in the way that they did. But, you are you, and no one can change that. Be the person God destined you to be.” I continued onto say things of how proud of him I was for him being open about his identity and sharing with us what was going on in his head and his heart as well as being vulnerable enough so that we could help and support him through this. My eyes and mind were completely opened to how difficult life must be to cope with people constantly being judgemental of who you are. Out of that situation, I realized how strong and commendable that RA was for being true to himself. And I knew it wouldn’t go unnoticed.

Each individual on this planet is so unique to this world. In that moment, I had a complete desire to communicate to others that being different is awesome! From this experience, I knew it was my duty to make that happen. And that is why I’m here to today. To make a difference, to change the world and to tell you that you are not a mistake.

For you are loved forever and always.
Love, No Mistake

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4 thoughts on “Behind the Mask

  1. As a Christian I always feel really uncomfortable and find it disheartening when my home town Pastor preaches against homosexuality. I find it difficult to understand how the same person can preach how we should Love all our neighbors and fellow man then contradict himself so strongly by condemning the homosexual. This is why I find your hometown pastor to be deeply inspiring and more church leaders should embrace his teachings of how “if you judge and condemn another for being different whether it is disabled, transgender, gay, etc., you’re basically saying that you don’t believe and trust in God’s judgment to have made that person exactly who He wanted him/her to be.” Your blog is truly enlightening!

  2. Wow! What a cool story of people helping each other. I think your topic is great and something that our generation doesn’t even think twice about. We seem to be different in our ideas about the LGBT community than that of our parents or grandparents.

  3. This is incredibly powerful. I’ve never actually had a religion (my parents both came from different religious backgrounds and wanted to raise me to make my own decision), but I have been subject to a lot of intolerance here at Chapman based on religious beliefs. But now I have essentially disassociated myself with that group, and my other group that I am a part of on campus has a great deal of diversity with sexual preference and religion. Outside of religious institutes, what you are saying is applicable to really everyone. I’m not saying that I am perfect, but I strive to live my life with an open mind every day. I love what you are getting at and I hope you can make a difference.

  4. I believe that whatever popular religion you follow it’s always going to be retrograde, and i’ve always thought that all the religions should be updated to this modern times, i feel they are so antiquated and they judge the normal this days, and we are so open that i sometimes when i go to the catholic church, and listen to the priest say things that really make me uncomfortable with what he is saying, sometimes judging people without reason or saying things that they where okay in the past, but not now. I am very religious, but i believe that you should only take the good and what ever accommodates to your values from that religion, because religions are there to make you feel that there is hope in everything and to try to make you a better person. And if someone is gay or lesbian but they cooperate to society and they do positive things and they are good person, then be it, let them be.

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