Letter To My Friends

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Letter To My Friends

  1. 1. An Email To My Friends (Now Posted To FaceBook) October 2, 2010 Dear Friends, On September 19th, 2010, I married the love of my life. He, yes HE is my Friend, my Lover, my Soulmate. I can’t imagine my tomorrows without him. He is a rock and fortress in my life. For some of you on this list that may come as a surprise. Since that day I joyfully posted our wedding pictures on my FaceBook page. A person who called himself my friend, and also knowing that I am gay, posted sad faces on some of the pictures and then withdrew them. I was notified by a real friend that this had occurred and wrote to see why he’d done this. Since that time he has sent me and another mutual friend a very disgusting song that equates homosexuals to farm animals. One of his friends tried to “tag” our wedding pictures with a quote from The Bible in condemnation. Fortunately FaceBook requires the owner of the pictures to give permission to this. What right does someone have to try and spoil such a joy filled day? Even though that would be impossible as we would not allow that. When I came out in 2000 it was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. It meant the possibility of losing my friends, my family, my job, my world as I knew it. I was shunned by my church, The Salvation Army, who to this day tell my children in various ways that I am going to hell and discourage the relationship with their fathers. I was employed by the SA and was pushed to resign. I did lose many “friends” (although something like this should not affect a real friendship). Yes my marriage had ended, and being gay was a small part of that ending. But it was not THE reason for ending my marriage. Coming out was something I chose to do when I knew that there was no more hope and that the person I had chosen to be married to was, like myself, unhappy. At that time I was hospitalized in the Psychiatric ward and put on suicide watch. During my short time there, through the deep compassion of my medical team (not my pastoral team or Christian friends who had abandoned me) I was shown that it was better to move forward than leave a legacy of suicide to my children. I was promised, despite what church “friends” were saying about the cost to our children, that they would be fine. They are the most amazing three children on earth as far as I’m concerned. It hasn’t been easy for them or me or Susan or my partner – now husband - of almost 10 years, Miles. But we are stronger and better for it. The past ten years has been a “long and winding road” (The Beatles). But today I have re- established myself. I am happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life; my spiritual life is stronger and more authentic. Miles and I have spent a number of years working through all the ins and outs of getting married and have now “taken the plunge”. Our day was truly amazing! No one can take that from us. It is interesting to me that since that day there have been several media stories around homosexuality: The recent suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University; Condemnation of GLBTQ people by Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles at the Latter Day Saints; as well as a couple of Third World “punishings”. Some months ago I became a member of an organization called Give a Damn (newsletter below). This organization has been set up, like many, to support LGBTQ people, especially young people. The Trevor Project is another excellent organization that I support. I wish they’d been around when I was a teen wading through the intolerances of people around me and the couple of attempts I made on my own life. Below is a newsletter from the first of those two organizations. I have posted it to my FaceBook, as well as this message to you.
  2. 2. Page 2 First, I ask for you to search your soul. Can you accept me as I am? If not, please be honest with yourself and with me and say so. I will not be hurt by this. I am more hurt by phoniness. If you are a friend on FaceBook, then remove me. Or ask me to remove you from my mailing list and I will honour that as well. I am not a collector of friends. I love my friends for who they are and hope that they love me for who I am. Second, I ask you to become more aware of what young people go through today, even if they do have it a lot easier than I did when I was a teen. And not just GLBTQ youth, but also kids with gay family members. Third, I ask you to go to the websites (and FaceBook pages) of Give a Damn Campaign and The Trevor Project and others like them and show your support. They are doing a great job of preventing suicide among teens especially. Fourth, if you plan to rebut this email with quotes from the Bible, please don’t. The Bible has been used to condone slavery, witch burning, the crusades, genocide of the Jewish People in WW II, subjugation of women and Black People. These old ways have been changed and updated with the times. Women can now teach, work, vote, preach. Blacks have freedom. Jews don’t need to fear Christians, and so on. All of those “rules” have been shown as out- dated. Isn’t it time the silliness that shows the same prejudice towards gay people (by the way only 6 mentions in the whole Bible compared to the multitude on judgement, hatred, murder, evil thoughts, obesity and more) end? I remember in the 70’s and 80’s the madness that erupted around abortion. People who called themselves loving spiritual people were blowing up other human beings because they felt it was wrong to murder the unborn. But isn’t murdering the born just as evil, according to those same standards? Today we have a young man, who as a wonderful musician had the potential to heal the nations with his music (as Christ called us to do), recorded and broadcasted while having sex with another man, to all the world on two occasions. The two people who did this were his “friends”. He is dead now because of the shame he felt. Another bright light in the world snuffed out! We condemn militant religious terrorists for killing innocent people. But isn’t this type of behaviour terrorism? Whatever our personal views are, on any subject, do we have the right to judge, persecute or kill or drive someone to self-harm for those views? Is that really the message of peace? Will that really win people over? Is that what Jesus did or would do? Today we have an official term in our wonderful country that embodies these sort of acts - “hate crimes”. Whether they are committed against people for religious, sexual, or other reasons they are aptly called HATE. My Jesus preached and embodied love, peace, abundant life. I am not a “flag waver” or “Pride Parade Participant”. But these acts of hatred in the world and upon me and my friend call me to respond. I grew up with the question: “What would Jesus do?” I ask you, “What will YOU do?” Regards, James Latour

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