I grew up in a Roman Catholic Chicano household as well and kept it a secret, having the pressures of getting married someday and having children of my own. I know how it is to be ridiculed on the playground; in the housing projects; anywhere just because I am different.
I also used to be in one of those fundamentalist religious groups who "street preaches" and "evangelizes" in downtown Modesto, CA on Saturday nights (They are the same exact ones who did protest the Modesto Pride Festival last year). In 2004, it started out as a former co-worker of mine from Oak-dale who supposedly had a miracle and "got saved." When I met these "street preachers" as well as different ones at the Stanislaus State Campus, I was convinced that it was possible to change from gay to straight, so I was desperate to change; desperate to be accepted in the religious perspective. So one day, convinced that I was "saved" and "born again," I went to Pasadena, CA to a preacher's wedding and thought that I had a miracle myself, or an epiphany. Then I met some of those groups in Modesto and some from the San Francisco Bay Area. I thought that I was "in the spirit" and that I was "growing in my faith," but I found out too late that blind faith is just as damaging, and even more, than having no faith at all. When I thought that I was "falling from grace," they noticed it, we talked about it, and that is where my hell on earth began.
To my surprise and without asking for it, this group scared me to the point to where I consent to an exorcism, calling what I have, "spirit of homosexuality," "spirit of selfishness," anything they can pull out of their ass. I was told not to tell anybody about it. I was trying my best to "shape up", to "read the bible everyday", and the "do as I say, not as I do" bullshit. Like a totally gullible idiot and in my delusional mind, I believed them, thinking that I want to get rid of my homosexual "sin" for good. I was stressed out that without thinking, I went to Sacramento, thinking that having 916 as my area code on my cell phone means that God commands me to go there; even quitting my job in the process, without 2 week notice, just because I just let those assholes do the thinking for me instead of thinking on my own. I also came out to my family, but they knew all along that I was gay all along because they knew who I was, just "don't tell the other 'familiares' about it because what would they think of us?". As I went to the next bible study, I was condemned to hell by 2 group members just for being "irresponsible", "selfish", and "demonic"; and that I was never "saved" in the first place, told to just get down on my knees and stay there long enough until you are born again. This just prove that the closet is no longer a closet; it's an iron maiden. Throughout the month of December until my birthday in January,
I was exhausted, so tired, fearful, depressed, having my nervous meltdown; also received phone calls from those group members saying that "they love me and want me to come back," pulling the "prodigal son" cue card, but just like domestic violence, a man can sweet talk a woman into coming back with an apology after maybe a black eye, but it's just only words, no action.
On my birthday in January 17th, I finally got out of that non-nameable "Christian" cult. If it was anybody's fault, it is mine mainly because I was gullible to the point of thinking that I can "change my sexual orientation through Jesus Christ." I chose to wear those "TRUST JESUS" and "JESUS SAVES FROM HELL" T-shirts; I chose to believe in the fundies' interpretation of the bible; I chose to repress my sexuality to hold religious dogma. They are just as bad as the Westboro Baptist Church, only worse. Unlike Fred Phelps, they claim that they love homosexuals and want them to repent, but they keep their hatred and homophobia behind closed doors.
Now that I am unemployed and living with family, on food stamps, on General Assistance, I am struggling to get a job anywhere, but I want to be a fighter, I want to move on with my life and put this terrible chapter behind me. Thanks to my decision to leave those kool-aid drinkers, 2 more people left. I am gay, I was born gay, and I am proud of who I am, but it is a very long process to go through. I am trying to seek for counseling at the Stanislaus Pride Center in Modesto, but they have a huge waiting list. Thank you for reading my story.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
An Facebook friend of mine sent me the story of his coming out. It was so compelling that I wanted to post it on my blog. It's a reminder that coming out of the closet is a long, but highly rewarding process. Hang in there, Fernando: