Birthday, death day, ressurection day (When I was new to homophobia)

Zella Ziona was 21 years old when she was killed on October 15th 2015.
For Lisa and me it was a happy day. It was the first time we celebrated her birthday together. We had a wonderful day full of laughter, tenderness and the simple joy of having found each other and being so absolutely in love.
Marc Pourner was 28 years old when he was killed on November 14th 2015.
For Lisa and me it was a busy day. We were more than just a little excited. Just a day before, on the 13th we got our marriage license. In the middle of Texas. Lisa who has lived here all her life could barely believe it. For her it was a miracle. Our wedding was scheduled for November 19th and there was still so much to do. We were in a bubble of delirious happiness.

Now, in March 2016 I have been in this country for six months. In this time at least two people who identified somewhere on the LGBT spectrum were killed in hate crimes in the United States. Dozens more were severely injured, many tortured, beaten bloody, suffering from broken bones or severe burns or even brain damage. Hundreds more were verbally assaulted, intimidated and bullied for being who they are.

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The Gay Christian Network Conference in Houston, Day 1: Oh happy day!

We’ve been snowed in in Lubbock, Texas for over a week now. They say that it’s the second largest snowfall since the 1920s. Lisa and I escaped the snow and traveled to Houston to the annual conference of the Gay Christian Network. And guess what? It is warmer here. And no, I’m not only talking about the weather.

What is truly warm here is the atmosphere. An atmosphere of friendship, fellowship and acceptance that makes us feel at home right away. You know how it is at conferences or big gatherings, right? You meet a bunch of people and at the end of the day you have forgotten most of the names and faces. Not here. I remember the young man from London, England I met this morning just as much as I remember the woman and her daughter I met later that day in the hot tub, or the older guy who really just needed a hug. He was so overwhelmed by the sheer idea of being a gay Christian AND a good person.

There is a lot of beauty here. The people I met so far mean something. They are not just random people. They are stories. Important, sad, wonderful, inspiring stories. I love stories. I collect stories. It is what I do. I collect them, keep them in my heart and then send them to my God so He might keep all those people and their stories safe. Here at this conference, in this fancy hotel (it’s the Hilton after all) I feel like an empty storybook with hundreds of potential entries around me. It is the most wonderful feeling.

If I can allow myself any judgement of the people here then it is this:
They are good people. Seeking, searching, praying, hoping, laughing, joking, crying, loving people of all the colors of the rainbow.
May we have a great time together and make everyone’s life a little brighter and a bit more colorful!

LGBT and Christian? – The US perspective

The tile was cold against my cheek. There were certainly more comfortable places in the house to lie down. Yet, I lay right where I had fallen to my knees and dissolved into tears, in the middle of the kitchen floor in my parents’ house. Well actually, I had shifted at one point until I sat leaning against the cabinet with the handle of the door to the trash compacter digging into my back and had a long gut-wrenching cry, giving into it until the heaving sobs had wound down to shuddering gasps for air. Then, when it was almost over, I had seen it. A tube of my mother’s lipstick, escaped somehow from her purse when she was unaware, had dropped and rolled under the kitchen table. I retrieved it, pulled the cap off, and saw the stick itself, reshaped to the curve of her lip. I clutched that tube as if it were the last remaining relic of her existence and let it all go again until, completely spent, I had come back to myself, stretched out on the kitchen floor.

Continue reading “LGBT and Christian? – The US perspective”