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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  1. Dear Bill
    I am a Christian. As such, I believe in God and I believe that the Bible is His Word to mankind. Any discussion about creation, morality, love and life in general centers on what we believe about these two things. As a Christian, I base all of my beliefs on His Word, not my opinion, my personal preferences, or how I want things to be. Many people create a god of their own who is not the God of the Bible. If my god lets me do anything I want, my god is me.

    Modern culture has tried to redefine sexuality as a personal right to be exercised any way an individual wishes. Sexual behavior is considered a personal choice, akin to the decision of whether to buy a house or rent a condo. At the same time, popular opinion has all but removed the word sin from our culture’s vocabulary. The only sexual expression considered “wrong” is what is deemed distasteful to the definer. However, social acceptability varies so greatly that even the vilest of acts would be considered justified by many.

    In some people’s minds, being homosexual is as much outside one’s control as the color of your skin and your height. On the other hand, the Bible clearly and consistently declares that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1–13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). This disconnect leads to much controversy, debate, and even hostility. You say in one of your responses that, “My DNA is that of a gay man; it is how I was made and celebrate.” This is not supported scientifically and certainly not Biblically.

    If anyone who reads this does not believe in God (I see that you do), or does not believe the Bible is His Word, that is an entirely different discussion. All that I present here is based on solely on God’s Word.

    God is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God does not change with the ebb and flow of society. His nature is the same as it was at the creation of the world, before that, and into eternity.
    I am to love God with all my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbor (gay, straight, or otherwise) as I love myself. (Matthew 22:37-40).

    Fortunately, man has never been given the privilege of defining sin. The One who created sexuality also has the right to set the boundaries for it, and the Bible is clear about the guidelines.

    God designed male and female bodies differently so that they could come together in an act of physical intimacy that joins them together for life. They “are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8).

    God introduced sexuality and set the boundaries for its expression. God created a union between a husband and wife that He called “becoming one flesh”. (Genesis 2:24)
    He then defined any sexual activity outside of the husband-wife (man-woman) relationship as a violation of His gift. Fornication, homosexuality, pornography, and lust are all violations of God’s intent when He created the sexual act (1 Corinthians 6:9,18; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; Matthew 5:28; Hebrews 13:4).
    The human race can only be propagated by the coming together of a man and a woman. And, within marriage, God blesses it (Genesis 1:28). Sex is a gift to a husband and wife to make their relationship unique among all other relationships.

    When we use sexuality for entertainment or to satisfy lust, we cheapen the beauty of this powerful gift and defy the One who designed it.

    Our sexual disobedience has produced a world staggering under the weight of disease, abortion, perversion, child molestation, addiction, and sexual exploitation. God created boundaries for our good so that we could enjoy His gift as it was designed to be enjoyed.

    Romans 1:26–27 teaches that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. One of the fruits of rebellion against God is homosexuality. First Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that those who practice homosexuality, and therefore transgress God’s created order, are not saved.

    A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. Just because a person is born with a greater susceptibility to fits of rage, that doesn’t make it right for him to give in to those desires and explode at every provocation. The same is true with a susceptibility to homosexuality.

    The temptation to engage in homosexual behavior is very real to many. Those who struggle with homosexual attraction often report suffering through years of wishing things were different. People may not always be able to control how or what they feel, but they can control what they do with those feelings (1 Peter 1:5–8). We all have the responsibility to resist temptation (Ephesians 6:13). We must all be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We must all “walk by the Spirit” so as not to “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

    Finally, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Without Christ, we are lost, whatever type of sin has entangled us. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is available to the homosexual just as it is to the adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, and thief. God promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13).

    As I mentioned at the beginning, Bill, it really boils down to whether or not we believe in the God of the Bible or the god of our choosing. Bible teaching on this subject is pretty clear. Anything else is based upon our opinion or personal preferences.

    note: much of what I’ve shared can be found on http://www.gotquestions.org

    • We are all created by God and He alone makes the rules for us to follow. If we love Him we must obey Him. He desires all us to have eternal fellowship with Him. He gave us the gift of “free will” to choose what life path we want to follow – to honor Him or reject Him. We are encouraged to take up our crosses to follow Him. He is the way, the truth and the life. Amen!

  2. 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.

  3. 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,

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. “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

  6. 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.

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