• Jazmine Williams

The Trauma Of The Closet

I knew very young, before elementary school even. My attraction to girls was very real. I knew what I liked. I didn’t know why, but I knew what I knew. I also knew what I always heard in church. It wasn’t until I got much older that I heard the term gay, and truly understood what it meant.

In my life, I had never seen two women together. Hell, I had never seen two men together, but I do remember all of the sermons damming all the gays to hell. It was usually on the Sundays when the most feminine men were in attendance.

“Be out publicly they say”. First of all, it ain’t nobody’s business! Let’s start there. People don’t owe you anything, celebrity or otherwise. Listen here, it’s hard to be out publicly in an environment full of individuals trained to publicly crucify you.

I came out at 27, and Lord knows it was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Before I came out, the whispers were already swirling. The looks I got in church changed, and no it wasn’t guilt, nor my imagination. I eventually stopped going to church, for many reasons, one being because I knew in my heart that I did not have to subject myself to hate spewing rhetoric.

Many say, how can you love God and be gay? Short answer, easy. Truth is, most of the women I had romantic interactions with, I met in church...doing the very same thing I was doing, hiding. I quickly learned though, that one’s disapproval of who I love romantically does not change, nor does is stop God from loving me. It’s also very easy for those who have never walked in these shoes to pass judgement.

Many days I sat alone and wept, singing “yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so”. I had to remind myself not to absorb every hurtful and hateful thing said about me, and to me. You see, the closet is a lonely place. The closet suffocates. The closet can cause trauma. The closet is a constant reminder that you’re in hiding, and the closet isn’t always a choice.

Now, for those who feel they are entitled to speak their truth, or what some would call, “doing God’s work”, I would implore you to leave the judging to God. You calling it out is not your assignment. Prayer is your assignment. Love is your assignment, and if it’s something you just can’t tolerate or something you don’t agree with, prayer is still your assignment.

Every sermon I heard. Every whisper I caught. Every dirty look I received. Every friend I lost, not one of those things made me “un-gay”. As a matter of fact, not one of those things changed my purpose, anointing or walk with God. The reality though, not everyone is that strong. Some of the hate you spew could turn them away. It could lead to suicide. Then what? Would you then feel justified in your actions? Would you feel satisfied truly believing that this is indeed what God called you to do? You will not get any brownie points from Jesus when you get to the gates, if you make it.

This is not a matter of us against them. We all all one body in Christ. Just because my walk looks different, doesn’t make me any less holy, saved or deserving of God’s love. The next time you feel led to judge someone living differently from you, don’t. You can be holy and be quiet. If I’m not, or someone like me isn’t for you, bless them and keep it moving.

Until next time...🦋

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