I grew up in a small, conservative, strict, Protestant, predominantly Black church in the Bronx, New York. I had to wear skirts and dresses, hats and closed toed shoes. Homosexuality was believed to be a sin and since I exhibited all the “signs,” the church and my family made it their MISSION to turn me straight. I was the small, athletic, tomboy who played basketball better than the guys, rode bikes, skateboard, climbed trees, played in the dirt, and hung out with the guys – I liked the guys, and they liked me. It always hurt and confused me when the church people and family would make me walk “lady like,” wear girly colors and flowers, and forced me to associate with the ladies. I didn’t know what homosexuality was until I was much older. I was always confused when they called me a lesbian. I was always confused as to why according to them, God’s love was not for the LGBTQ community. I dealt with the mean talk throughout my twenties and went on to having a few boyfriends with whom I was very happy with.
As a Black, educated woman with dreadlocks in America, I knew a thing about oppression. I am fortunate enough to have white friends who fully support my entire Black existence in this country. Those are some of my most valuable relationships because they make my struggle their struggle, and my victories are theirs. As a heterosexual woman, I’ve suffered the oppression that people of the LGBTQ community suffered. As an empathetic person, I still relive the fear and terror and hurt and confusion and anger when close-minded people try to hurt others because of who they are and how they love. I genuinely love all people and seek to share love and light – no exceptions, no reservations. While I can’t “claim” this beautiful community of strength and courage as my own, I am proud of their fight to be seen and respected on God’s beautiful Earth – not man’s.
This story was submitted by Cindy.