Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Friday

29

June 2012

25

COMMENTS

Making Out with Gay Guys

Written by , Posted in faith, humor, life

“Yes, the whole study center did hear about your making out with gay people,” he said.

“Gay guys,” I clarified.

“Well, I didn’t want to make any assumptions…”

“I suppose that’s fair.”

I had been using the Christian Study Center’s tranquil space to work on my book for several weeks, and working so closely with people’s heartbreaking stories had been taking its toll. So when, stuck inside my own head to rehash my history, I stumbled across the odd fact that I’d dated fully three gay guys as a teenager, all I could do was laugh out loud in wonderment at what exactly in the hell was wrong with me.

I canvassed my friends for answers, but neither they nor anyone else in the study center knew what to make of it or me, so rather than just shrug it off like a normal person, I abandoned my work for the day and set about obsessing over the clearly-more-urgent question of whether I was too masculine.

I thought back to all those gay guys I’d made out with– not so many in over all number, but kind of a lot given the circumstances. I’m sure it was better for me than it was for them. But I realized that was just it– I was the kind of girl who liked making out with cute guys pretty much no matter what the circumstances (and who are we kidding– if I weren’t married, this would probably still be true). Still, that only answered why I’d dated them– the more terrifying question was what it might mean that they’d dated me.

And so, despite my friend’s insistence that my having given birth to five children was about as far from “manly” as humanly possible, I was unconvinced that my gay-man magnetism was not thoroughly damning to my cherished feminine identity. (And I really do cherish it: I even performed a line of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “I Enjoy Being a Girl” on the spot. Why not?, I supposed, after all that the study center had already heard.)

So I did what I do best in times of dramatic internal turmoil– I dragged someone else right on in to join me. Of the three young men who grew up to realize I didn’t exactly have what they were looking for, one was still a good friend. He had been my first love, and it was puppy love for sure, but he was the kind that always looked out for me, always respected me, even when other, straighter boys weren’t being so good. And I love him still, and I knew he’d still be good to me, so I laid out my latest bit of personal paranoia.

He repeated what my other friends and my husband had been claiming– I was decidedly feminine; it wasn’t me. He talked about how I had so many qualities that he’d admired, things like sensitivity, emotional availability, and a strong spirit (musical theater didn’t hurt, either). And I realized it did say something about me, but it spoke in far more gracious tones than I’d imagined.

I had the opportunity last weekend to attend Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade, and, knowing that far too many gay people hear hate-filled messages from the Christian community, I wanted to go and bring a better message, one that sounded more like the way Jesus has spoken to me. I knew that I wanted to convey love, but as I thought about how I might practically do that, I was coming up empty. It occurred to me that writing “I love gay people so much, I make out with them” across my shirt might not quite do the trick.

Parade day arrived and I had all sorts of desire to be a messy little messenger for God, but I had no art supplies for making posters, so I wore the biggest cross necklace I could find and an itchy rainbow-colored boa, and I made myself into the sign. At the end of the parade route, the Westboro man was in his paid-for place, spewing his worst free speech, and I nearly cried. But there were others nearby him holding posters to give the paraders a truer message, so I joined a girl for a photo behind her sign to make a very small gesture of a very big love.

But that same part of my brain that got bent out of shape trying to assign meaning to three brief teenage romances got all worked up about the fact that I didn’t really do what I’d wanted at the parade, that I hadn’t gone around hugging people and blabbing about God’s love (while respectfully refraining from mid-street make-outs, thankyouverymuch). I questioned my faithfulness to Jesus, the exact level and shade of my love for the gay community, and my general ability or lack thereof to do any dang thing in the precise manner in which I set about to do it. I was confounded.

But I posted the picture from the parade on my Facebook page anyway because my readers there had been so wonderful in their suggestions a week or so earlier when I’d asked them what message I ought to bring. And that dear one, that first-loved, still-loved friend, he said that seeing it made him feel blessed to know the love of true Christians.

And that was enough to answer it all.

  • http://bornattwentyfive.wordpress.com bornattwentyfive

    I think your sign is great! I hate that some Christians have at times given all of us a bad name with their views on gay marriage.

  • http://virtualstowaway.wordpress.com Jonah Stowe

    High school is a weird time–I made out with three lesbians (and had a crush on one other, even though she was already out). But I’m glad you were able to be in Chicago–did you see the Marin Foundation? They’re pretty well known for their “I’m Sorry” campaign, offering apologies for all the ways the church has mishandled and screwed up with its treatment of gays.

    • http://throughgrayeyes.wordpress.com Through Gray Eyes

      Did you see “Jesus, Save Me From Your Followers”? The host of the documentary actually set up a confessional at a pride festival in California (I think, or maybe even more north – Seattle?). People entered and instead of confessing their sins, he confessed the sins of the church. It was extremely moving and beautiful. So many of the people thanked him for doing that.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Man, and I thought we already covered all our high school shenanigans at the study center!

      I’m actually reading Andrew Marin’s book, Love is an Orientation, right now. There’s also a DVD series to go along with it– I may be nudging our small group about that before long. 🙂

  • http://happyhippierose.wordpress.com happyhippierose

    Tamara, I’ve looked up to ever since I first stumbled across your blog… as a writer, a woman, a Christian, just as a person. I didn’t know your view on gay rights though.

    This is an issue that, as a Christian, I’m fully confident in supporting. I believe in Jesus’ message of LOVE and that putting hate and Jesus in your mouth at the same time is just so wrong. I love that you were able to be a part of this important, significant movement. Please don’t describe your gesture as small – because the resonating meaning of that message is HUGE, and you are a part of the movement that can and will change lives.

    Love one another. That’s what He’s asked us to do. I’m very moved to see you acting out in such obedience with such a loving heart.

  • pravinjeya

    Reblogged this on Not a PhD Thesis and commented:

  • pravinjeya

    I remember stumbling upon a youtube video of Tim Keller (I think) and he gave the best response regarding sexuality and Jesus (as I remember it so it may not be exact): “No-one goes to hell for being gay. No-one goes to hell for committing murder. People only go to hell for not trusting in Jesus.”
    Also, Tamara, you probably had more impact that you realise. As your friend said, what people will remember is a loving Christian. That’s what I always remembered when I “decided” I needed God.

  • Sarah H.

    Thanks for immortalizing that day at the Study Center 🙂
    This is a wonderfully woven together piece that brings together so much about you.

  • http://throughgrayeyes.wordpress.com Through Gray Eyes

    Thank you. While I’m working at Multicultural and Diversity Affairs on campus it’s important to me to let my gay co-workers and our gay students that not every Christian is a Westboro rep. It’s important for me to be able to say I’m a Christian and I don’t judge you on your sexuality.

    But then again I am of the belief that gay isn’t a choice.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      That must be a relief to your co-workers and students. I think that regardless of where we fall on the “choice” or “sin” issue, we Christians have a pretty clear command to humility– Jesus didn’t mince words in his “log & speck” talk. 🙂

  • Mom

    Yes – his response was more than enough to answer it all. ANYONE who is attracted to you – whether straight, gay, male, or female – is drawn in by your beautiful and generous spirit, by your integrity, and by your openness and willingness to love. Those gay boys probably felt safe with you, and that’s a sweet and lovely thing.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      You’re the best mom ever. I learned this kind of love from you. xo

      • Mom

        Oh no – now you’re making me cry. xoxo

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  • dan mcm

    I’m sure you’ve heard the quote (which I’ll likely mangle): “Go into all the world and preach the gospel… and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis)

    Your going to the parade and marching with folks speaks volumes even if you didn’t say anything. So many times we think that we don’t say enough, that we don’t measure up because we don’t speak up. But the truth is, you do speak up in the places you were meant to — here on your blog, singing with your worship team, talking with friends.

    Westboro dude was good at speaking up, right? But he’s just a banging gong, and you’re not……

    And as for the whole kissing gay guys stuff, it’s definitely not a sign that you’re not feminine in any way. It is a sign that you prefer nice guys to the douche bag macho dudes, and as someone who’s always been the ‘nice guy’, that’s really appreciated.

  • Jaz

    “…, and my general ability or lack thereof to do any dang thing in the precise manner in which I set about to do it.”

    Story of my life. But I’m starting to get over it. ; )

  • http://soberboots.wordpress.com Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

    Tamara, I love this post. When I went into treatment five years ago, a gay meth addict hated me on sight. After a few days, though, we became friends. I loved her. And in talking to her, I realized how sheltered I had been, that I’d never even had an actual conversation with a gay person. What a shame! In recovery, I know and love so many gay folks. They are almost always amazing, compassionate people, I think because they have had to endure rejection and judgement and rise above so much crap. They tend to be very spiritually awake and conscious of the power of grace. I love being able to counter negative stereotypes they may have gotten about Christians just by loving them like I would any other friend. Love your heart and your blog and I say, You go girl. Love the sign.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      What I love about what you point out here (and what I appreciate as I’m beginning to read Love is an Orientation) is that our sexual identity is not mutually exclusive with our spirituality. Straight Christians don’t have that market cornered, and when we begin walking in the humility of that realization, we open up the possibility for relationships with people of differing sexualities and faiths, and I think that can be a real blessing all around.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com hopefulleigh

    Oh, friend. This is beautiful in so many ways. Just like you. I’m not at all surprised three gay guys would be attracted to your spirit, if not your body, all those years ago. What a compliment to you! And how powerfully your presence at the Pride parade speaks.

  • http://talktodiana.wordpress.com dianasschwenk

    An important piece to write – thank you for doing so!

  • http://freewayhome.wordpress.com freewayhome

    I’ve always loved the love that comes from christians regarding this issue sometimes. But I wish that love could translate into long term relationships that would keep me and others from acting on our feelings… you know, out of respect for that love.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thanks so much for chiming in– it’s so good to hear different perspectives in the whole gay/Christian conversation. I hope that you let the Christians who love you know that this is how you feel so they can really be there for you.

  • http://chris1149.wordpress.com Sylvester James LeBlanc

    Thank you so much for this 🙂 I am gay, and I am proud to have good people like you here on earth. It’s such a nice change from hearing slander and ugly remarks.
    I am very grateful for this post, and for You writing so beautifully. Thank you so much.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Thank you so much for letting me know this blessed you!

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