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Being Gay In A Really Conservative, Fundamental Baptist Environment


viridia
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Hi all,

 

I haven't posted in a while, just got caught up with finishing school and sleeping a lot. But a friend of mine is having a really big problem, and I'm afraid I've just run out of advice to give her. The situation has gone beyond anything I've experienced personally, and I don't want to upset her by giving her anymore of my more liberal advice. I posted a topic on it before but I'll just sum everything up:

 

Basically my two friends Sam and Jen started to explore their sexuality with each other, and got scared of being gay. So they stopped for a while. The two kept dropping hints and flirting and eventually picked things back up again, leading Sam to confess to Jen. Jen didn't really know what to do because she was terrified of being gay, but around this same time Jen's parents started noticing the two were spending a lot of time together and ban her from seeing Sam for a week or two, but eventually let up after Jen convinced them they were just close friends. They started doing things again and this time they both "confessed," but shortly after, Jen took it back saying she was just caught up in a moment.

 

Recently, as in last night recently, Jen confessed to Sam for real saying she had just been really nervous and scared about whatever, but that she really does have feelings for her. I was really happy to hear this but, of course, this is where the problems come in. They've grown up within this tight-knit Baptist church/school, and both of their families are very religious and Jen's family in particular is very narrow-minded. They can probably never, ever come out as a couple unless they're willing to lose pretty much all of their family and friends in the area. Probably everyone here already knows that lol...but I was wondering if you guys have any kind of advice. They're tired already of sneaking around, and would love to be officially "dating" but their environment has put such a stigma on being gay, again as you all know, and so they feel a bit stuck. Even if they secretly dated, made it official only between them, they doubt it would feel the same. They can't go to the movies or to dinner as a couple, just as friends. And I feel really sad for them...I mean I don't have any advice left because I want them both to be happy--and they won't be happy if their families have disowned them, so I really don't know what to say.

 

So...thanks anyone for reading, and for any advice you give (: I hope I explained the situation well enough.

 

--viridia :D

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It's sad, but the answer is always the same. Live a lie and enjoy (?) the fake love of family and friends or be true to yourself and your partner and let the chips fall. At least being honest allows people the opportunity to love the real person, not a false image.

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I was the president of my college's Gay Straight Alliance for 3 semesters, and I live in Southern Arkansas, so I'm very very familiar with this situation. What I have observed is that many parents will eventually come to accept their gay son/daughter over a period of time. Initially, it may look like a hopeless situation, but given enough time and space, some people will really surprise you.

 

I used to be a staunch opponent of gay rights, but after a friend came out to me, I started really thinking. It's one thing to condemn a group of nameless people you don't know, but it's another thing entirely when it's a good friend you love and respect. I thought and I read and I took notes on what I read, finally coming to the conclusion that I had been wrong to condemn gays.

 

What usually changes someone's mind on an issue is knowing someone personally who is affected, and it could be that your friend's family has just never been close to an open homosexual before.

 

All I'm saying is she shouldn't give up hope.

 

Here's an article about coming out that has a LOT of useful info in it. Much more than I can offer myself

 

Your friend is lucky to have someone like you who cares!

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Phanta summed up my initial thoughts, and really, I see them as the best. Even if decaf has the right of it, and that sort of mirrors my troubles with my mother and her accepting me as being pagan. She was terrified of "those people" until a few years of seeing me as one of "them" made her realize they're not all baby-raping kitten eaters. Still, living FAR AWAY from her helped my sanity during that shitty time when I was "worshiping the devil" in her eyes. It might take running off together for Jen and Sam to be happy with each other, and open about it at the same time, with a note left behind explaining the situation. Let them rage about it, and check in once in a while. The parents may come around because they realize they miss their kids, or they may just be dicks till death. If the latter is true, at least they're already gone from there. It would suck if they stayed there, opened up, and got suckered into ex-gay "therapy."

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I came out in august in a conservative fundamentalist baptist enviroment. I don't know if its the same enviroment as me, or if their baptist is the same as the kind I left, but my advice to them would be to get jobs and get an apartment together. I don't want to scare you nor your friends, because everyone's situation is different. As a gay man, I can attest, things can go bad. My relations with my family have soured after having come out big time.

 

For now, I'd advise them to pretend to just be friends in public, at least until they're sure everyone's reactions are going to be okay.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was not raised in an uber-conservative area, but after becoming adult, I did live in the South for a few years ... I moved in with my first boyfriend in Texas when I was 21 in 1997. I lived in Texas for a total of about 3 years, which probably doesn't seem like much to folk who live in such areas for a long time ... but it was more than enough. I was shot at by a homophobic neighbor. Things can go bad, very bad.

 

Its probably brave and noble to be open and honest, but however noble becoming a martyr might be, it won't let you live a peaceful life. I suggest your friends move, or at least try to meet others in their area who are going through (or, better still, have already gone through) similar. I think they should try to establish their own life together, perhaps best that they do so quietly at first. I'm not sure how old your friends are, if they each live with their parents or together, but I think it is important that they prepare for the possibility of being disowned by becoming self-sufficient, develop their careers.

 

There will be heartache, and things will never be the same with their families. There are folk out there, probably even in their own communities, that can become new friends for them, who go through what they are going through, and I suggest they try to quietly reach out a bit. Having friends won't take all the horror away should things blow up if their families find out and disown them, but they can be a lifeline and be there to let them know that they are not alone.

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So...thanks anyone for reading, and for any advice you give (: I hope I explained the situation well enough.

 

--viridia :D

 

Hi viridia! What a wonderful friend you are to care so much about helping your friends.

 

It is just so hard when we can't be open and honest about who we really are. I helped my own homosexual son to hold his head up high and be who he was. But I told him that he had a long road ahead of him because of his sexuality. I knew that my boy was going to face a lot of rejection because I watched in horror of what the kids put him through in school when he was young.

 

Times are getting better, but we are still a long way into the 'judgmental past'. Caused mostly by religion, of course.

 

I liken this situation to me right now, not really able to be who I really am with so many family and friends, regarding my non-belief in god.

 

I know many would say:''screw them all if they can't take it'', but it's not that easy for some of us. The consequences can be very hurting for all, so I am taking my time, giving clear 'hint's along the way. ( letting them know gently, that I am a little different in my belief system now)

 

I feel these two should weigh out the pro's and con's of 'coming out' to friends and family and see what would suit them better right now. I feel as if there is lot's of time to 'come out' and maybe they should take it one step at a time.

 

It's not fun to lose your whole family and friends all at once. People aren't stupid.Those family members are already suspecting, as you say. Maybe - if they take their time, they can slowly explain to friends and family that they are gay.

 

I don't really know what to say, except that I find it so sad that if you are a little different than the rest of the 'robots' in the world, you truly get chastised for it.

 

I hope that their goal would be to accept who they are, without shame, and to eventually come out as gay people and be proud of who they are..

 

Good luck - you are a great friend.

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I was raised in it. I agree with Phanta, get away while you can. There is no compromise with these people, and they are very unlikely to change.

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And tell them not to "confess" EVER. None of the church's business, and they'd only chew them up and spit them out after publicly humiliating and "counseling" them.

 

One of my senior pastors confessed to adultery publicly in church and his wife and kids were taken by surprise. End of that marriage, and in a big way.

 

I told my own pastor something in confidence and he decided to bring it out in public. That was shitty and wrong, though he saw it as right and good.

 

I second the suggestion to get the hell out of there and leave the congregation when possible.

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I strongly suggest making some new friends before dumping the old ones, if for no other reason than to have a shoulder to cry on.

 

It does not matter how right or justified you are in running ... when you end what has been your life to that point, when you turn from those you have looked up to and loved, it is painful even if it is a good thing and a good step. You need friends to help see you through.

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