I was raised to be a good girl — to follow the rules, respect my teachers, and obey my parents. Doing these things made me feel worthy. So over the years, I kept doing them.
I respected my bosses, obeyed the church leaders, and submitted to my husband.
I wanted to be good. I wanted to do things the right way. And from the time I was a small child, I understood that the right way didn’t come from inside me. It came from others.
I was raised to believe that nothing good lived in me. That I was a filthy sinner to my core, and left to my own devices, I was worthy of eternal torment. This was terrifying. And I believed it wholeheartedly from the time I was a small child staring up at my Sunday school teacher.
I learned that my own inner voice was not trustworthy. The heart is deceitful above all things, I read in the Bible. The scriptures told me that a wise man listens to advice. So I got advice about everything. Where...
It took me a long time to figure out I’m a lesbian. Decades in fact. And in all that time, I didn’t understand Pride. If anything, I avoided it. I'd like to think I wouldn't have been one of those Karens spewing hatred about the Pride section in Target, but I don't really know.
I’d spent my life in a religion that taught me gay people were bad, wrong. Gayness was worse than anything I could think of. It wasn't like cancer because it didn't just happen to you. I grew up believing that the people who were gay chose to be that way in defiance of the god I was told I should believe in.
So I didn't understand.
I didn't understand that Pride was born of a protest. I didn't understand that Pride is a celebration of life and love and queer joy. I didn't understand that Pride is a place to belong when you aren't accepted by the culture in which you live.
My first Pride as a later-in-life lesbian was in 2021....
I think I was born a perfectionist. I’ve spent my life trying to do things right. So when it came to parenting, I was all in and ready to give 110%. I read all the books and took all the advice. I was determined to be a great parent.
And from a certain point of view, I suppose I was.
As a straight, Christian mom, the primary goal of my parenting was to help my children develop their own personal faith — a faith they wouldn’t abandon when they left home. This involved guiding my children’s thinking and opinions, taking them to church twice a week, doing Bible devotionals at home — although admittedly I wasn’t great at this one, and making sure they were well-behaved.
My biggest fear was messing up as a mom. I wanted to do everything perfectly. I was taught that my entire life’s purpose was to raise Christian children. And if I messed it up, I was putting not only my own salvation at risk, but my kids’ salvation as well. Mix that...
There I was, having never even been on a dating app therefore completely clueless, and literally surrounded by LGBTQ+ people. I immediately posed the question to the group I was with and the response was swift and unanimous. HER was the dating app this baby gay should be on first. True story.
As I sent the answer back to this mom, I realized how lucky I am to have access to a community of “been there, done that” queers. Dating knowledge is specific to culture oftentimes, and in our LGBTQ+ community, it’s not passed down from parent to child. If you're were more like me growing up, it was your big sister and brother that showed you how dating was done. But even then it’s just not that applicable when you’re the sole queer in your...