Most Americans celebrated Columbus Day on October 11. But for many others, October 11 is remembered as “National Coming out Day,” an annual day when homosexual people are encouraged to “come out” and openly proclaim who they truly are.
Most Americans celebrated Columbus Day on October 11. But for many others, October 11 is remembered as “National Coming out Day,” an annual day when homosexual people are encouraged to “come out” and openly proclaim who they truly are. For most homosexuals, this decision and action is a major moment in their lives. In a society that continues to denigrate, demonize, and designate as deviant homosexual persons, it usually takes great courage to take possession of one’s own being and offer that in truth to a hostile world.
I can speak with some degree of authority about homosexuality and its consequences. Through some 5 years as a “pastoral counselor” in a private therapy practice in Wichita, most, of the homosexual clients who came to the practice seeking help, were assigned to me. I was the clergyman on the staff. Since it had been the “Church” who most grievously wounded the homosexual, I was offered the opportunity to help heal those Church-inflicted wounds. I went into their personal hells of many young people. In some sense, I experienced with them the fear, self-loathing, confusion, and devastating depression that they lived. Many had thoughts of suicide. Hopefully, I was able to dispel such drastic leanings.
Also, my wife and I have a lesbian daughter, who is in a committed love relationship with her life-partner. These two delightful women have legally adopted our 13th grandchild. When years ago she “came out” to us, it was a most freeing, relieving and loving moment. She and her partner live a devoted, stable and productive relationship.
Then too, for three years on the sidewalks around my Topeka Episcopal Church, my congregation and I daily faced the “Fred Phelps Cult,” and their visual and verbal terrorism wrought upon innocent homosexual persons. The degree of their evil bitterness, in the name of the Church, only exacerbated the pain within many homosexuals.
But most important, with the recent and tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, plus the five other homosexual youth suicides in September, we as a decent people and open society, must stand for, and with, the homosexual persons in our families, communities, and Churches. The overt terrorism and condemnation of homosexuals, and the covert ridicule and humiliation of them, must cease.
Through all my experience, I’ve become convinced that the vast majority, if not all homosexuals, are born homosexual; their sexual orientation is directly related to the reality of their person. It is not chosen, it is a given. It is who they are! Also, the vast majority seek only to live in peace, be productive members of society, and be allowed to love whom they will. If there is a creator God, then homosexuals are created by that God as much as are the rest of us. They have the same human nobility as do we; they deserve the same honor, dignity, respect, and safety as do all Americans. I hope and pray that someday “coming out” day will also be a day when society comes out of its fear, ignorance, and bigotry against homosexual persons. That would be a day of freedom for all.
Always, in hope…
Fr. Bob Layne (Episcopal Priest – retired)