Parry /

“I was 12 when I learned the word gay. While being homeschooled in West Texas my mother explained homosexuality with a disclaimer that bluntly stated all gay people who live an open lifestyle will burn in hell. There wasn’t much she had to say past that. After our class I walked to my room and cried. First because I finally found a word to describe myself. That meant there must be other people that felt like me if there was a word to describe me. Gay. Secondly because I would burn in hell for it. A lot happened between 12 and 21. I had crushes on girls while I failed at dating boys. I refused to join a convent. I was kicked out of my parents house. I left Texas. Somewhere a long the way a queer Christian friend of mine told me to join a program called Living Waters, an off shoot of Exodus International. He said convergence therapy was working. He said he felt at peace. To feel at peace was like something out of a dream for me. I existed in a dark world filled with hell, rejection, and shame. Of the few people I had come out to most immediately pushed me away or quietly disappeared from my life. He encouraged me to move to Kansas City to join the International House of Prayer. I did. I look back at that choice as my last desperate attempt to simply be accepted. To simply be loved. The promise that they would make me straight offered me a life that I could only imagine. It meant I could be loved. It meant I could be enjoyed. Maybe I could fall in love and not be damned. But mostly, maybe I could just be whole. Could I fall asleep with out anxiety attacks? Would the loud condemning voices in my head stop? Maybe suicide would seise to be the best available option. They couldn’t keep their promise. A year into their program I had been on three 10 day liquid fasts, two 40 day water fasts and one 3 day fast where I did not consume anything, including water. It was hell. I am gay and my mother may have been right. I did go to hell. After a year I should have been on the road to recovery. Instead I fell in love. Love destroyed the agony I had existed in for the first 22 years of my life. What I learned from being with her kept me from killing myself. It gave me hope. It carried me though homelessness, through grief, and brought me the strength I needed to begin my own life. The act of simply accepting myself and letting myself love another person changed everything. I lost connections with my family, many friends and had to fight to get on my feet. Years later I am stable. I am at peace inside my gender, my body, my sexuality. It was worth hell to get here.”

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