Dear Straight People …

–An open letter to those who judge and condemn LGBTQ people

Many of you are allies of the LGBTQ community. Thank you. We value you. It is at this moment, however, that I want to address other “straight” persons who wrestle to accept the lives and loves of their LGBTQ brethren.

Foundationally, I believe in a God who is love. I believe that God created everyone in love. I believe our destiny is to know, share and experience love: self, interpersonal and/or married love.

If you judge LGBTQ people, are repulsed by us or believe we are deviant, I want you to understand something about love that I bet you have experienced deeply in your own lives: The love of another person.  But first, I offer some larger context or observations. For generations, gay and lesbian people have heard some or all of the in various tones, forms, and language:

“Homosexuality is immoral …  Gay persons are abnormal … God intended man and woman to love and marry … Same-sex sex is gross … “

I’m particularly mindful of a variety of religious denominations who are quick to define love but without showing or modeling love as they articulate their convictions. This is my experience personally and culturally.

Did you get together and stay together because your heart is full, and you couldn’t imagine being with anyone else? Does your heart race still to this day?

Let me invite all of you who are married or partnered to think for a moment about how you met. How were you drawn to one another? How, over time, did you fall in love with one another? Was your experience of love for and with another person powerful? Exciting? Did it feel as natural as breathing air? Did you ultimately just know he or she was “The One”? Did you get together and stay together because your heart is full, and you couldn’t imagine being with anyone else? Does your heart race still to this day? If you are married —for three months, three years or 30+ years — do you acknowledge that it has not always been easy, but that you couldn’t imagine being with anyone else? That he or she is still the one who takes your breath away? The one you find yourself eternally grateful for, despite flaws or hardships?

Well, for those who don’t like or understand our identities as queer persons, let me assure you that we experience the same kind of feelings you do with your spouse or significant other. I am a happily gay married man. I didn’t set out to have a gay relationship. I didn’t choose to “become” a gay man. I happen to be a man who is attracted to other men. I believe I was born in the image and likeness of God and out of love, and that I happen to want to be with a man.

Indeed, I have fallen in love with a man, and I can’t believe, for a moment, that it is any different than your love. Love is love.

Like you, my breath was taken away. Like you, my heart soared with anticipation in seeing Cesar. Like you, my relationship with him feels natural. Like you, I couldn’t wait to be with him. Like you, I discovered flaws (and he mine), and I still love him, desire him and want to share my life with him.  Like you, I want to go through life with this particular person because he is “The One” for me. I so respect the love that a woman and man have for one another. I rejoice that a man and woman can find joy, fall in love and can conceive and rear children. God made you this way, in God’s image and likeness and out of love.

For those of us who are LGBTQ — so it is with us.

A question for your consideration as you attempt to understand that love is love: Given how segments of society can treat LGBTQ persons so poorly, harshly and abusively, do you really think we would “choose” to be LGBTQ and subject ourselves to such irresponsible, unthoughtful and even unlawful behavior?

We don’t choose. We are. And, for an increasing number of us, quite proudly.

Like all heterosexual persons who are different from one another, so it is with those who are LGBTQ. For me, in the image and likeness of a very generous God, all of us are different from one another.

As you love, I love.  What is the opportunity here? Aren’t we all called to learn?

Well, this gay man wants those who don’t understand us or like us, who find us deviant, to know that we love as you love. We just happen to be attracted to people of our same-sex. We acknowledge that we, at our core, are meant to be different.

And so what?

You likely have members in the family tree who are LGBTQ. You work with them, although you may not know it. LGBTQ persons live in your neighborhood. They work out with you, shop in the same stores as you, and absolutely hold significant forms of leadership in all industries.  All of these persons love or seek to know love just exactly as male-female couples believe they share it.

Let’s choose to understand and to respect the love of those different from us. “Straight” people, challenge yourself to talk with those who are LGBTQ and to listen and learn. The more each of us opens ourselves to others, the more we come to value that love is love and that the world is good.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Q magazine and is featured here with Author permission.

Bill Dickinson
Bill Dickinsonhttp://www.c3leadership.org/
Leadership is tough. It demands clarity, empathy, and credibility; and, yes vulnerability! And, I still thrill at innovating and solving for leadership solutions. It’s what I do best! With care and integrity, I coach, advise and deliver on leadership needs & opportunities. I thrive on life, and the work I get to do in service to leaders in all industries. I am a senior leadership advisor, executive coach, and L&D disruptor.
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Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach

Beautiful Bill. Many of my LBGTQ friends have said very much the same thing. Love is love!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you Wendy….I just felt the need to capture for others. I appreciate your support.

Miguel Dean

Thank you Bill. Love cannot be understood with the mind. It can only be felt with the divine heart.

Anonymous
Anonymous

And, a divine heart we have.

Susan Rooks

An important article that deserves to be seen widely, Bill! For the life of me, I’ll never understand others who think anyone unlike themselves in aspects of their lives that involves no choice — no matter how they try to justify it — is automatically wrong.

I did not choose to be created by two people I never met. I did not choose to be adopted by the two who took me in and raised me as their own. I did not choose to be a straight, Jewish, white woman.

OK, I could make a choice on my faith … but it’s what I grew up with and I’m comfortable with it.

The funny thing is, Bill, that I clearly remember being about 11 or 12 and having the strongest, wildest crush on one of my camp counselors, who was a woman. I think many kids of that age are apt to feel conflicted about themselves anyway; they’re on the brink of a whole new “them.” I remember her as being a strong, outspoken young woman named Ronnie, and how much I wanted to be close to her. I can’t say my feelings were sexual — at 11 or 12, few have any clear idea of what that actually means, right? — but I sure did have strong feelings!

As I got a little older, I gravitated towards boys, my childhood crush seeping away. But even all these 60+ years later, I remember how I felt that entire summer. My feelings were identical to those I felt towards boys in the following years. The object of my affections changed, but not the feelings!

And a good friend’s 11-year-old daughter just “came out” and declared she’s a lesbian. While I’m chuckling, who knows? Maybe it’s true. She’s at that funny age that I was, with so much yet unwritten. The difference is that now, she can say that. What she can’t be sure of yet is if it’s a passing thing or true for her entire life. It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure. And she has the best parents/family to feel safe in; they’re amazing people.

I am happy for you and anyone else who finds a warm, loving, kind life partner with whom to share a life — no matter who it is. Live your life with love and purpose, Bill. It’s all anyone can ask.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Susan, such a thoughtful, generous response. And, I so appreciate your honesty. My piece becomes even more alive.

BIZCATALYST 360°

“We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.”

– Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Maureen Nowicki
Maureen Nowicki

Bill, I am just happy and truly excited for anyone, I mean anyone, regardless of sexual orientation that can find and cultivate a deep and meaningful relationship – flaws, joys, and tribulations all wrapped into one. Your article let’s one expand their mind about what love means and I could not agree more with your very loving and respectful perspective. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this piece.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Maureen…I didn’t want to be judgmental as you have kindly noted. It’s tough out there for all of us. We need one another. You helped make my day.

Maureen Nowicki
Maureen Nowicki

We sure do need each other, Bill! Have a wonderful day.❤️

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’d like to respond to this Bill in a very loving, caring and understanding way, however, I am going to insert my thoughts that I hope that I will not be judged as you have graciously put those others not judge about LGBTQ: Thank you in advance:

Love is wanting the good for the other no matter what. I am very devout in my faith and I believe that when you stated we are born in God’s Image, it is based on the Morals and Commandments which our loving God established. I don’t believe God intended man to be with man, woman to be with a woman. If you believe in the one who created you, unlike anyone else, your DNA is unlike anyone else, that can only be done by the creator of us all. After creating us, the one gift given was “free will” and God will not force us to do anything in our life. We choose to either do good, evil or go against the grain. We understanding through faith what is right and what wrong or what is intrinsically evil, such as abortion. Yet, God chooses to love unconditionally leaving the “free will” up to us,, In the end, we will face this God who created and we will deal with the consequences of life in how we chose to live it. With all that being said, I want to make something clear on behalf of the misunderstanding” label” put on those who share the same thoughts as my self; that is, we love and care about all our fellow man. We want to see everyone happy, hopefully, all belief in the God who created everything that we all enjoy upon this earth, regardless of their faith, but the same God. In the end when we leave this earth, even if it has been a life of desires and pleasures that has hurt no, we will answer and God will be there to explain. I have a son who is gay, and I love him regardless of his lifestyle. I leave the rest to God. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and God Bless you,

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you for your honesty and integrity in expressing your beliefs. I applaud your courage. Two other thoughts for consideration. My DNA is that of a gay man; it is how I was made and celebrate. Secondly, as gay men (like your son) we don’t believe it is a lifestyle; it is who we are. Yes, we may make some lifestyle choices to live it. And, some of those lifestyle choices you or others may not support. I am aware of lots of people–straight or otherwise–who make lifestyle choices I don’t necessarily support, but I have to accept. Here’s to honoring difference…and differing opinions.

Laura Staley

Love this article, Bill! Love is love is love is love. No flower in the garden tells the other flowers not to be, bloom, or flourish. We are all in this together. May we all thrive. Thank you for your courage & vulnerability. And for your heartfelt olive branch offering and invitation to those who are threatened and filled with fears.

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