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Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:25 PM

If you can stand it, a really beautiful and heartbreaking thing

that a friend posted on his Facebook wall today:
****************************************************
Last night I thought about suicide. I thought about what it means, how it totally destroys families, how it wastes precious lives, how endemic it is in the Gay Community, and how much of America unwittingly promotes it.

When I was about five or six years old, there was a young fellow who came to my father's church. He worked in the local grocery stocking vegetables. He had a lisp and people made fun of him. "He probably squats to pee." "He's such a sissy he wouldn't know what to do with a girl." "Such an embarrassment to his family." I heard all of these comments and wondered why people would say them. Raymond was always nice to me and my parents. He smiled. He helped find things that we wanted like a really ripe watermelon or some tomatoes that would ripen perfectly by the day we needed them. He smiled a lot and had two or three girls at the church who always sat with him and thought he was funny.

I remember seeing Raymond and his girl friends at a carnival having fun on a ride called The Scrambler. They were whooping and hollering. Some tough looking high school boys went past and pointed at them saying, "Look at the queer scream!"

One day I came home from school and my aunt told me Raymond had shot himself in the head. "Poor tormented soul," she called him. I asked why he would do that. She said, "Probably because he didn't like girls." I thought that was odd, because he DID like girls. He had more fun with them at the carnival than those stupid high school boys ever had.

I guess Dad performed the funeral. Maybe there wasn't one. I don't really know. No one ever spoke of Raymond again, except once two or three years later when I asked about him. I think it was my Dad who said, "You don't want to be like Raymond. He couldn't bear his sin. He did things he was sorry for and could never take back and he just could not bear to live with that. You don't ever want to do anything wrong like Raymond did because it will eat at you and destroy your life."

One day in Junior High I realized what it meant to be someone that didn't like girls. I realized that I was being called a sissy. I realized that I must be like Raymond and if I didn't do something about it, I would be a sinner and have to kill myself. I realized that I would be reviled, talked about in whispers, mocked by mean guys, and once I committed suicide, I would be forgotten; too wretched to be even a shameful memory. So I got down on my knees and prayed like I had never prayed in my life. It wasn't a little child's prayer like "Now I lay me down to sleep..." It was a real prayer from my heart. I begged and pleaded with God to not let me be like Raymond, to keep me from being so sinful that I had to kill myself. I prayed and I prayed. I prayed like that for years. I never changed.

This year I will turn 60. In the intervening years, I came to terms with my sexuality (it was a long and painful struggle) and resolved to try to live peaceably with my Fundamentalist family and their community. That community came out in the millions this past week to tell me yet again that I am not worthy to live. They proudly, in the name of Christ, told me that they viewed Dan Cathy's spouting of bigotry to the press to be an act of righteous courage and that my expression of distaste was the same as being a member of the Nazi Party (yes, that was said in a conversation I had on the issue). They gave millions of dollars to Dan Cathy and he, in turn, will spend a good portion of the money supporting organizations that claim to be Christian, but are advocating the criminalization of me not liking girls, that advocate the internment of all gay people in concentration camps and prisons, that advocate the execution in Uganda of the entire gay population. The message that I get from all of this is that millions of Americans want to see me dead.

I know that many of them would protest this last statement. But what is it that they DO want, if not for gay people to be eradicated from the nation? Perhaps they just don't understand what their words and actions mean.

When they say, "Gay people picked this fight", they say that it is alright for Dan Cathy to espousing bigotry and pay to have gay people's rights abridged but that my right to free speech is somehow different and it infringes on freedom of their religion. When they say, "I'm not going to let a good Christian man be harmed by the gay community" they are saying that they happily embrace the hatred that Dan Cathy promotes and hold me accountable for his financial well being (in other words, they expect me to pay for my own death). And when they say, "I'm not getting into this fight, I don't care that you are gay, but I'm still going to eat Chik fil A" they are saying that my life is worth less than a chicken sandwich.

When a 60 year old man hears talk like that, he knows what to do with it. Yes, it hurts and it hurts deeply, but I've weathered those kinds of attitudes for years and things are better for me now then they were when I was in Junior High. However, for people like Raymond, for that lonely gay teen sitting in a Fundamentalist church with a bunch of girls, for the quiet kid in the back of the school room too afraid to say he likes boys, for the high school girl who cannot tell her parents that she is in love with another girl, for all of those kids like Tyler Clementi, the message is clear: "Kill yourself or we will do it for you or make your life hell. You are not welcome in our churches, unless you change and change radically or unless you lie about yourself. You cannot marry. You cannot tell anyone about your sexual orientation. If we get a sense that you are gay, we will fire your ass from your job. If we really know about you, we will see that you do not live in our buildings. If we are bored and have nothing to do but go around and beat up queers and carve scars onto their bodies or perhaps stomp them into a pulp or even kill you. And we have millions, MILLIONS, of people who will stand up for us and you have only a pitiful few who will stand up for you. And by the way, you are going to hell."

So I expect in the coming months we will be seeing more suicides in our younger population. I thought about what that means last night. I thought about the despair and the hopelessness young gay people will feel after the big display by "Christians" eating Chik fil A. I thought about the money that will be used to promote these suicides. I thought about Raymond. And I cried.

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply If you can stand it, a really beautiful and heartbreaking thing (Original post)
teenagebambam Aug 2012 OP
Smilo Aug 2012 #1
WillParkinson Aug 2012 #2
xchrom Aug 2012 #3
1monster Aug 2012 #4
wellstone dem Aug 2012 #5
RKP5637 Aug 2012 #6
Lydia Leftcoast Aug 2012 #7
chervilant Aug 2012 #16
rurallib Aug 2012 #8
Faygo Kid Aug 2012 #9
heaven05 Aug 2012 #11
renate Aug 2012 #24
Faygo Kid Aug 2012 #26
heaven05 Aug 2012 #10
Sienna86 Aug 2012 #12
Marrah_G Aug 2012 #13
lamp_shade Aug 2012 #14
Patiod Aug 2012 #15
chervilant Aug 2012 #17
teenagebambam Aug 2012 #21
emald Aug 2012 #18
allan01 Aug 2012 #19
babylonsister Aug 2012 #20
CraftyGal Aug 2012 #22
DirkGently Aug 2012 #23
renate Aug 2012 #25
d_r Aug 2012 #27
teenagebambam Aug 2012 #28
d_r Aug 2012 #29

Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:44 PM

1. Please let your friend know

that yes these faux Christians may number in the millions - but there are millions of us who support everyone to live the life they were born to live - no matter color, creed or sexual orientation.

Listening to my son and his friends gives me so much hope for the future - they are accepting, respectful, and open and honest - a good start for getting rid of the Cathy and the faux Christians in this life.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:52 PM

2. Tell your friend...

Thank you from my family.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:54 PM

3. Du rev. Nt

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:01 PM

4. reposted on my facebook page with a note ...

K&R

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:15 PM

5. As a Christian and the mother of a lesbian daughter who is in a relationship with a transgender

woman,

let me say to any young person (or person who considers themselves older) who feels rejected by their family, you have a family with my daughter, with her girlfriend, and with me. WE are a family and we have room for more.



(Edited to invite the rest of you too. )

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:16 PM

6. K&R !!! n/t

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:25 PM

7. As one who belongs to a denomination that fully accepts GLBT members, including

as ordained clergy, this makes me ache for the youth who are rejected and sad for the churches that are missing out on the talents and gifts of some wonderful GLBT people, who organize volunteer activities, cook wonderful meals for our whole community, sing, create marvelous artworks, visit the sick, and campaign for justice for all.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #7)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:47 AM

16. Yeah,

just like us heterosexuals (at least, those of us who are NOT heterosexist).

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:40 PM

8. What is it about "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

do "Christians" not understand? It is truly a simple concept.
Long ago I left Cristianity and have found myself quite happy with that as my guiding principle.

Thank you for your story.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:56 PM

9. My daughter talked of suicide today in an email. She's 35, and without health insurance.

She's in great pain, and can't stand it. She needs very expensive surgery, but I just don't have the money, no matter what.

I'm at a loss. Can you imagine what this feels like? I have always tried to be a good Dad, but how do I cope with this?

She has never mentioned suicide before. Fortunately, her fiance is with her. But he has no health insurance either.

Damn.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:46 PM

11. hmmm

 

I am so sorry this country's policies are so coldhearted. dog eat dog capitalism takes no prisoners. I pray things work out for you and your daughter. I understand pain, in it, physically, everyday and the older I get the worse it is.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #9)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 02:11 PM

24. you ARE a good dad

Money has nothing to do with that.

Having said that, of course it must be devastating to see your daughter in pain and to be unable to help simply because we live in a country where life or death, or pain or relief, depends on how much money a person has.

I'm so very sorry.

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Response to renate (Reply #24)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 03:08 PM

26. Thank you. I have worked hard all my life, but now this.

I have worked hard all my life, as did my single Mom. Definitely contributors to society. I had to pay taxes for the Bush adventure in Iraq, but my tax dollars can't go for health care, apparently. I'm tired. My daughter had a good childhood (plenty of family trips with nary a dog strapped to the roof of the car and summers at the lake with Grandma)and education (only National Merit Finalist - not Semi-Finalist - at her high school), and now she can hardly get out of bed at 35 and I don't have Mitt's money to make her better through surgery.

I thought if you worked hard and played by the rules, you would do OK. I was wrong, and Mitt and the Kochs are coming after my Social Security and Medicare, too, guaranteed.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:38 PM

10. beautiful

 

you're a beautiful person and a courageous man who has chosen to live his heart. God loves you just as much as anyone else. Stay in the fight. Stay in their face. They won't be able to cut your hair off. If I'm there I got your back.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:49 PM

12. Very powerful.

Thank you for sharing this.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 11:06 PM

13. So many emotions running through me after reading this

I just want to hug him.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 04:41 AM

14. Wow. Beautiful. K&R

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:00 AM

15. I recently heard a Christian pastor interviewed on the radio in despair

He said the youth in his church were good pro-life, conservative Christians, but that they accepted homosexuals, and that he was afraid that he and his generation had lost that battle.

If that's not surrender, it's sure as hell is a turn down the road to Appomattox.

This chicken nonsense is a dying gasp and a last hurrah. Acceptance has come fast and furious lately, and even if there's a lot more to do, there's been a seismic shift in the perception of gay people and gay relationships.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:50 AM

17. Thank you for this awesome post.

I just asked rdking647 (http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021071700) if I could use his words when faced with heterosexist bigots. I hope you will allow me to quote you, as well.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #17)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 12:45 PM

21. To clarify, these aren't my words

but the original has been flying around Facebook and I know the author doesn't mind it being shared.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:57 AM

18. thanks for sharing this

Isn't it amazing that you never see christians lined up to feed the poor the same way they lined up to support this amoral company?
I hate christianity. Religion is evil.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 11:05 AM

19. re:If you can stand it, a really beautiful and heartbreaking thing

it seems that when at one time when we had a rethug pres, the intolerence quotient went up. when we got a dem pres, the intolerance quotient went down, or seemed to. since rr and bushco , with the exception of billy clinton the meter has been off the scale. with the election of mr. obama. the meter is peged to one side. as many pointed out what they see in some "christians" truly arnt. they hide behind the flag , the cross , the constitiution , and they come out fighting when told they are wrong. i am one of those christians who belive in " what dont you understand about love thy neighbour" .

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 12:16 PM

20. Thank you for sharing this...

I will also put it on FB; it deserves to be read and understood. This really touched me; just know that we are not all like that, please. I'm very upset about the ignorance on display. Again, thanks.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 01:38 PM

22. Wow! Thank you!

I had a tough time with who I was and where I wanted to be. I basically have been in the closet until recently as I had tried to come out as a bisexual women 27 yrs ago. I didn't fit in with the gay group nor with the heterosexual group. I was constantly told to make up my mind..thought I had mind you.

I dealt with the stress through alcohol abuse. I even tried to commit suicide at one point after a sexual assault where owas even more confused. The women I ale to were men hating "feminists" I use thattermloosely because I believe men can rise above and be loving and supportive as well as nurturing.

Tell your friend that they are loved and supported.

CraftyGal

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 01:58 PM

23. These are the stakes. KNR.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 02:14 PM

25. I hope that somehow Raymond knows that he's being remembered now

What a heartbreaking story... he sounds so sweet but was born in the wrong time and place.

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Response to teenagebambam (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 04:22 PM

27. may I share this on my facebook?

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Response to d_r (Reply #27)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:41 PM

28. Yes!

Original author's name is James Fitzpatrick.

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Response to teenagebambam (Reply #28)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 10:19 AM

29. Thank you

this is such a powerful letter

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