I have a few stories to relate. In 1986, in the Northern Virginia region called Tysons Corner, Manpower sent me off to a new job every two weeks for one entire year. These were low-level computer jobs helping me establish my career. I met many gay men, some older and most about my age of 26. We took lunch and snack breaks together and complained about boredom together but, one day a gay man asked me to pray for him without my disclosure of being a believer. He said I was praying at my computer when actually I was only rubbing my tired eyes. What was I to say, “no”? During that lunch break we prayed for his personal needs in my old VW and then went back inside. On to the next job. Another encounter with a gay man, this time after a supervisor had yelled at him. The man chose me to vent his anger toward but not personally. The next day he said I seemed like a dad – which I wasn’t. He later shared his personal struggles with me and yes, we prayed. Such encounters went on all year sharing work life with several gay men going site to site for Manpower. After I moved to Nashville in 1991, I was approached by a 70 year old man named Houston on the Vanderbilt campus where my fiancé was attending. He asked for sex but remembering back to Virginia I just asked him outside to talk – and we talked and talked. He took me through 70 years of life. Then, to my surprise, he asked me to pray for him. What was I going to say, “no?”
None of these men hated me and I hated none. We talked and interacted about life. So what: I go to church and you don’t, I love clouds, you love rainbows, I have kids and you don’t. We both experience discrimination. I lost my job at age 49 and according to businesses I am too old to be productive and intelligent. I’ve been labeled and discriminated against. Even more, I worked in a mall and met many, many gays and lesbians and one transgender who worked in my store. I sat in the food court chatting with gays frequently and we didn’t hate. What’s killing us is the media that plays LGBT’s out to be victims of believers and believers as aggressive haters – and yet, in my 31 years in the church I find these false narratives. Spirituality is God’s gift to everyone and the Father knows we need His connection. No hate there.
Christians don’t hate the LGBT population but either your victimization by the media as suffering mercilessly at my hands and the same media defining my faith akin to old fashioned bigotry – will soon destroy us. Or we can demand Big media to treat us both with respect and dignity. As long as Bruce Springsteen is allowed to portray our American culture as hateful based upon one law about where we take a crap, we can at least stand together against the media rage, rub our tired eyes and take a walk across the campus of humanity together away from these false narratives. I’d be lying if I said you aren’t loved.