So my last day in Boston was one I spent largely on my own, walking around and seeing things I wanted to catch before I went back to Charlotte. Examples of this might be a unique store or the inside of the public library at Copley Square. At Copley Square there was a farmer’s market going on and as I went over to check it out after seeing the library a man came up to me and put his hand out to shake it. I took his hand in your basic handshake, curious about what he was going to say.
“I’m HIV-positive,” he said. That’s not quite what I expected, and I thought it was kind of funny he told me that after my hand had touched his. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. I mean, what are you supposed to say to that? He then told me he was doing an AIDS benefit walk and wanted to know if I could help sponsor him. I told him I’d like to and began to look at the sheet he had, and gave him some of the money I had on me. He then gave me a hug and said “I’m HIV-positive, you know, my partner used to be with a guy who used needles, so I got it from that, you know, I’m gay.” Again, all I could really think to say was that I was sorry he had HIV. He then said “I’m gay, I hope you don’t mind, I hope that’s okay.” And without even thinking about it, out of my mouth came “Absolutely, man, it’s fine, of course it’s okay.” We talked for a few more seconds and then he said “God Bless,” and I said “Good luck with the benefit,” and then did the sort of handshake-hug thing and walked away.
And I realized later that day that all this sort of fear and prejudice I had from the teaching I had as a kid is completely gone now. Not that meeting this guy got rid of it, although it was unique and, for a second, a little scary when I found out I was shaking hands with an HIV-positive person, but meeting this guy showed me that I didn’t have this fear and prejudice anymore.
Growing up I’d heard, like every kid growing up in a conservative Christian home, school, and church, that homosexuality was wrong and was a perversion. As I got older I began to think that maybe it wasn’t so terrible, but still not right. Then I began to think that maybe people are predisposed one way or another, but it’s still their choice to make. Then, it was “maybe they were born this way, but they don’t have to live this way, because it’s still not right.” That thinking began to change during college as I came to understand more about God and creation and love, and especially changed quite a bit when one of my best friends from school came out. I began to realize that while cultural influences may affect people’s sexual preference, it’s an almost totally proven scientific fact that people are born predisposed to being hetero- or homosexual. And if I believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all things, and that He creates us in His image, and that He is love and wants us to love Him and others, then how can I think of part of His creation as wrong? If I believe that everything God does is good, if in fact He is the definition of good, and at the same time I believe that it’s been shown that homosexuality is something people might be born into, and God breathes life into us before we are even born, then how can I condemn homosexuality? It’s like condemning a part of God’s creation.
So that’s been my view on the issue, getting stronger and stronger for the last year or so, and on Tuesday it all came to a head as I automatically said, without thinking, “Sure, it’s okay.” And I really meant it. And it was beautiful and good, just like all those things that come from God.