By Michelle Cruz Hine
Jesus loves YOU! She repeated. There I was, in the bathroom with no way out. I know, I said. All I could think of was the exit door. Afterwards, even the word afterwards, like that happening, the violation of someone spewing their uncomfortableness with you. Her thoughts echoed through my head: She just needs Jesus. Jesus will save her. I wish I had thought of something else to say; I am Buddhist, or I’m Jewish, or something like – the truth…
I wish we could play this whole scene over again, one in which I am not just saying yes to escape. One in which I am calm, cool, and collected. I would’ve looked right at her sweet brown concerned eyes and said, is it because I am a lesbian that you feel the need to ask me about your Jesus? That was what it was. That was the unspoken truth in that bathroom, coming out of her mouth, and hiding beneath Jesus. Why is it always Jesus?
To be fair, her intentions were not to hurt me. She really does want me to find her god, and then I will be okay. This is not okay. I’m tired of people hiding their prejudices and homophobias behind their religion. What she really wants to say to me, and is saying to me, through her scapegoat is: What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you? Don’t you know there is another life out there for you; one where you can be loved by god, accept his love and you will be normal. What is wrong with you? You are living in sin and this is not right. You are not right. You are not right. Can’t you see Jesus Died for you, he loves you.
There are always homophobic micro aggression behaviors surrounding me, ALWAYS. But sometimes little things just come at your mind a bit more and stay with you. Literally, the night before I ended up in the bathroom with this lady, I saw a gay couple in an Ikea advertisement. My wife and I had gone over to my mom’s house. I picked up her O magazine, opened it, and there it was. Instantly, I felt joy. A smile ran across my face. I was so happy. I shouted, look – there are two men in this advertisement! And they are an interracial couple! (My wife and I are an interracial couple, I am white and she is Latina) I had never seen a gay couple in a magazine advertisement before. I started to think how great it would be to see at least one gay advertisement in every magazine. I am slowly noticing more changes in advertisements, but for the most part, it seems pretty stagnant.
When marriage equality was happening you would hear the far left, in the gay community and outside of it, saying, we don’t want marriage, marriage does nothing for us, down with the marriage institution, forgetting the benefits and protections that come from being legally married. You could hear some tones of, they are just trying to normalize being gay, or making it a trend. Are you kidding me? These words still ring through my blood. Do you have any idea how great it would be to be normal, to not hear that Jesus will save me as an adult. This is the problem. The LGBTQI community will never be normal. We just won’t. I would love it if we were! There would be no more slurs of that’s so gay, or worse = name calling, bullying, and murder. Suicide rates would go down, and homelessness within our community, especially among the youth, would be almost nonexistent.
My marriage does not save me from anything, but it does allow me certain safeguards, and it does let kids and teenagers know that they can dream about their wedding, if that is what they want, they can have kids, that one day their life will get better. That they are not perverts, that they are loved, that they are normal.
I wish I could go back into that bathroom and respond to her let’s have a private conversational question with a pre written note-
If you are concerned about my wellbeing and my love for Jesus, then I will please have to ask to you to keep those thoughts to yourself. My religious views are not the same as yours and need to be respected the way that I respect yours. If there comes a time when you would like to be honest with yourself about your real problem with me, then perhaps we could discuss that, or not, depending on how I feel.
Your Lesbian Colleague who loves herself.
Michelle Cruz Hine is a comical full time lesbian, who lives with her wife, two cats, and a small 5lb. Chihuahua named Bootz Noche. She is also an ESL teacher, teaching grades 5th through high school, and dabbles in adult education. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys writing personal essays, journaling, and volunteering with LGBTQ youth.