Gay and Catholic, In Response to “ResLife Poster Does Not Support Love
Published: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
There are some articles that I have read that made me cringe because the message was so disturbing, offensive, and ignorant. When I read The Observer's recent articles, "ResLife Features ‘Support Love' Poster" and "ResLife Poster Does Not Support Love," I not only cringed, but I began to feel sick to my stomach. How, at Boston College, could there be so much hate?
But I am not writing in order to question the condescending tone, the fact that the Catechism was quoted out of context, nor to point out that the Bible contains passages that preach love above all things, for I am most disturbed with how out of touch the authors were. The articles talked about gays as if they were an abstraction, as if the authors had never actually had a full conversation with one.
It's easy to condemn an abstraction. A group of people from a distance can easily be judged, hated, and stereotyped, but move a little closer and one realizes that indeed they are unique individuals. They each have a story, a face. It's easy to condemn the Support Love shirts and posters. They are just stick figures without a face. So now I am giving mine.
My name is Marty Long. I am a junior in CSOM; I like to travel, volunteer, and try new foods. When I was 5, I dove off a castle playground and broke my arm (not one of my smartest moments), and these days I dive for BC's swim/dive team. I am currently in my 16th straight year of Catholic education, and I'm gay. I list it last because it really is the least interesting thing about me, but in the case of this article, it is quite relevant.
I struggled in middle school and high school trying to define exactly what that meant for me as a Catholic. I knew I was gay when I was 12 or 13, but it took several years to accept it. I was very involved in the Church and knew, as the aforementioned article noted, gays are called to chastity.
But what exactly does chastity entail? It would mean never falling in love, never sharing my life with that special someone that we all dream about. Moreover, I was not willing to pretend I was something I was not.
Like all of us, I have my flaws, but one of my greatest strengths is that I try to be honest and genuine with everyone I meet. I was not willing to give that up.
So I came out. To my siblings first, then my parents, and eventually my friends. My confidence grew, and my relationships deepened. I had never been happier.
With that said, going to church was a struggle. One Sunday afternoon during winter break of my freshman year, I remember the deacon reading the Prayer of the Faithful, and praying that "gays do not desecrate the notion of love and commitment that we so respect in this Church."
My heart dropped. I remember feeling like I was in the wrong house, that I had gone to a party and only 19 years later realized I was never invited in the first place. I was ready to walk out, but my mom squeezed my hand, and her sad eyes said, "Please don't."
I stayed. It was my love and commitment to my mother that kept me.
When I returned home that summer after my freshman year, I still went to Church because it was important to my mom. I knew, however, that homosexual acts were a mortal sin, and in turn I was no longer permitted to receive Communion until I went to Confession. I was not willing to confess kissing my boyfriend like it was a sin. I was not willing to hate myself. Moreover, I did not believe that God would condemn me for being an honest, loving individual.
At the same time, I respected the Church, and so I decided I would stop receiving Communion. I remember the first time my whole family received Communion without me, and I pretended to go to the bathroom. Instead, I went into a stall and cried. I felt like my Church had abandoned me.
Yet here I am, at a Catholic school, and I write this for the same reason that so many responded so strongly on Facebook when the original articles were published: because I have hope that things can change.
Today, I love my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my school, and God. This is only possible because I have come to love myself.
We don't get to pick the cards that life deals us, but we should still play the best hand we can. Along the way we should support each other. Support love.
If you did not already, now you have a face to the issue. When you see the Support Love shirts, think of me; think of the hundreds of other GLBTQ students and faculty at BC; think of the countless gay youth who killed themselves because they didn't feel accepted; and think of yourself. I support your confusing and trying quest for love. Please support mine.