The Subject of Boys

Out Gay Baha'i who loves the Faith

{josquote}The official stance has moved from "it can be changed" to "we're expected to be celibate".{/josquote} I was raised a Bahai and truly believe that Baha'u'llah is the manifestation of God for our day and age. I am also gay.

I was fortunate, as strange as it sounds, to be bi-racial in a very racist part of the country growing up. So, hatred from others for who I was, happened all the time.

My mother used the Bahai writings to teach me to love myself for who I was. She said God made me exactly as I supposed to be. She also told me to pray for the ignorance of others. I was able to internalize these teaches to deal with my sexuality.

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Better to Live in Truth

{josquote}Baha'i recognize that humans are in need of love, and human contact, and commitment. Gay people somehow either don't have those same basic needs, or don't deserve to have those needs met.{/josquote}

I have written a letter that I have been planning in my head for 18 years. I was raised a Baha'i, raised that homosexuality was a spiritual disease. At 16 years old, when I looked across a room and felt those fluttery feelings for another young woman, such as I had never felt for my boyfriends, I knew instantly that I was gay. I also knew this was no disease, this was the pure truth of how I was created.

If souls have no gender, why would it matter if the relationship were with the same-sex or a different-sex, shouldn't it just matter that it is a good relationship, full of love and respect and honesty?

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"Gays can't marry, and that's not discrimination"

I’ve heard this and similar phrases from a Baha’i so often now, I could brush this off as a cliché if it weren’t for the fact that in most Baha’i communities gays are still treated differently. For example, Udo Schaefer in his 2009 book, “Bahá’í Ethics in Light of Scripture: Doctrinal fundamentals, volume 2″ writes that “…a homosexual relationship, … by definition transgresses the will of God and is intrinsically immoral,” (page 213) whereas actually morality or immorality depends on what is done, whether the couple is married (of course marriage doesn’t necessarily make a relationship moral), whether there is a breach of trust or other harm to others.

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Here's to hoping such a wonderful faith evolves

{josquote}Would you join a Faith that did not recognize you or your life partner?{/josquote}

I grew up in the Faith. It was a lovely childhood filled with laughter, many friends, scores of potlucks and beautiful memories of Sunday worship at the Teaneck cabin and trips to Wilmette. My mother was Bahai and it was her deepest wish that my sister and I join the Faith. When I came of age in the late 80s and considered declaring, I simply couldn't because I knew that I was gay and frankly saw no difference in the less than enlightened views against gays or lesbians within the Bahai Faith than the most notoriously conservative Christian denominations. It always struck me as odd that for a Faith that believed in the oneness of humankind and embraced diversity, that GLBT communities and relationships remained outside of that embrace. I have encountered many Bahais as an adult and quite a few have mentioned that being gay should not have been enough of a reason to keep me from the Faith. Would you join a Faith that did not recognize you or your life partner? Probably not. I suspect that many others who grew up in the Faith (as I had) have also moved elsewhere for spiritual guidance rather than deal with the soft bigotry implicit in some of the Faith's teachings. It is particularly profound for me because I am scientist and it is disheartening to see that science and faith are not wings of a dove when it comes to the Faith's Paleozoic (and damaging) teachings on homosexuality.

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Ponderlust: Practicing patience in the Valley of Search

“There are resources to help you change.”

“I’m not sure I want to change,” I say quietly, as if it were really an option.

The stapled print out of religious verses on chastity and obedience, with their implications of lifelong repression, feel heavy in my clenched hand.

I need time and space to think. The picnic table is constricting me. The best I can muster in one of life’s defining moments is, “I’m not sure.” But I am sure.

{josquote}...Bahá’ís may sometimes use Bahá’í law to justify their homophobia, instead of working to root it out...{/josquote}

The prior fall I had read a passage from the Bahá’í Writings at a 9/11 memorial service. It advised: “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold.”

Something grew in my big gay heart all right: a hard queer crush on the dreamy, androgynous senior photo editor of my college paper.

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