From the top of the center arch of the Sophie May Lane bridge in Norridgewock, Maine, high above the racing waters of the Kennebec River, I thought I could see the way out. At 15, I was not looking at the point where the brown river curled around the bend toward the next town. I was looking to jump.
I was standing on that bridge because I had just listened to a slick-haired visiting pastor at my church as he preached a sermon in which he declared that God killed everyone in Sodom just to punish homosexuals; the moral of the story, as he saw it, was that gays -- people like me -- brought harm to everyone around them. With my family on welfare, my mother hospitalized, and my brother going through tumultuous years, it seemed that this pastor knew what he was talking about. He didn't, but I was 15, so believed him.
Seeing as I had friends and family who loved me, I shouldn't have been the kid who kills himself for being gay. But I also had ears: how many years can you hear your identity used as an expletive before you come to believe that you are not welcome in this world? And if you are religious, as I was, how can you not feel a terrible burden when pastors, like the one whose sermon I had just left, tell you that God holds that same opinion? I didn't want to be worth despising on Earth and in Heaven alike. I knew where the nearest bridge was.
Read the rest here at the Huffington Post, where I blog, thanks to Red Room.
Causes David Valdes Greenwood Supports
The Theater Offensive. Oxfam America. Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Heifer Project.