The response to my piece about my brother’s wedding and the subsequent defriending I experienced has been overwhelming. Profoundly touching has been the number of LGBTQ folks who have said things like, “I wish I had a brother like you,” “I’m so glad a straight person finally gets it,” or simply, “Thank you for your support.”
I have also been greatly heartened by the number of straight allies who have made statements like, “I’m so glad to know I’m not the only straight person who supports the LGBTQ community.” Perhaps most powerful of all was the straight woman who wrote that after seeing the video, “I am now fully a supporter (of same-sex marriage).”
There has been some interest expressed in seeing the note I wrote to my erstwhile friend after receiving his message. I still have the letter on my computer, and I share it with you here:
I was a little stunned by your message, and more so by the fact that you’ve completely blocked me out, making further communication difficult. If after this letter you have no desire to communicate, I will respect that and leave you be.
First let me thank you for reserving your comments for me alone and not posting on my wall. My brother and his husband C are dear to me, and I would hate for them to see anything denigrating their commitment on my page. C stood by my brother through his cancer treatment and the loss of his eye, and has shown up in our family as a wonderful uncle, brother and friend. They care deeply for one another and wanted to solemnize that commitment in front of family and friends.
I am surprised that you would choose to disengage with me over this matter. You and I have had some stimulating and thought provoking exchanges, and I never thought that fear of another point of view would cause you to back away.
Man, I don’t want to write a book length message here, and I’m really hoping that there will be some back and forth, but I have no guarantee of that.
What did Jesus have to say on this matter? How does it hurt YOU if two men get married? And do you personally know the heart of Christ so well that you have any place to condemn another? Let me repeat that, do you know the heart of Christ SO WELL that you can condemn another? Can you throw the first stone?
Yes, this has touched a nerve. I hope that you are strong enough to engage in this conversation. I hope that your faith will sustain you through this challenge. If not, peace be with you, may the light of God touch your heart so that you see the value of all of humanity, and understand that love is love.
It has been over a year since I sent the letter, and there has been no reply.
My intention was to be respectful but firm. I am interested to hear any thoughts y’all might have on the message.
Thank you to everyone who read the essay or watched the video, and thank you for the many wonderful and heartfelt comments.
First of all, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words all the things I wish my brother would have heard from others in our lives. My brother came out to me and my husband first, then our younger brother, then the rest of the family. My grandmother has not spoken to him over 15 years. He is married to my wonderful brother-in-law, and they are wonderful, loving uncles to my daughter. My brother-in-law quit his job and moved to the other side of the country so that my diabetic brother, who has poor circulation and wears fleeces in August, wouldn’t have to go through another harsh New England winter. They are in love and devoted to each other. Narrow minded, hateful individuals condemn them based on what they interpret as god’s word, but why would anyone condemn the divine gift of love? Frankly, I don’t care who you love, only that you do love. Thank you for sharing this ❤
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I think you personally handled the whole being defriended with grace. I have many gay friends whom I love and I don’t think I would have handled being defriended with such grace. You’re brother is truly lucky to have you. You have a great heart and a beautiful soul.
Here, here! 🙂
The video you posted about being defriended on Facebook by someone who could no longer countenance an association with you because of your love for your brother simply reminds me of what I would like to remind straight people about gay people who “come out” to them: each time we do it, we risk losing that person from our lives. The most tragic thing about that is that, if we come out to someone, it’s usually because that person is important in our lives. We usually only share such a huge thing with someone that matters to us; someone we WANT in our lives, and someone whose support means the world to us. That we sometimes lose those relationships because we dare be truthful about who we are & because we want a relationship free of lies and pretenses is just painful beyond words. It is our reality, however, and obviously you get that…even more, you have been a beautiful ally and you have more-than done your part to help others understand what it is to be brave enough to live in truth, and love with the whole of our hearts. To say, THANK YOU could never be enough, but–for now–please allow those heart-felt words suffice!
David, you give me hope that one day this world will be one of total acceptance. It is disheartening when those that claim to be walking in the “shadows of Our Lord” are the ones that are the most disrespectful, most heartless, and most judgmental of all….everything that the Bible teaches us is un-Christlike. I did have a brother like you, a brother that accepted me and my partner of 21 years. A brother that loved me for exactly who I am, and nothing that I wasn’t. His love was unconditional. I know my brother Mark sits with God today because he LOVED everyone and had no hate or judgement in his heart. Thank you for all you are doing to try to change minds and hearts. For those of us who are told everyday that we are not worthy of love and equality, I take heart that not everyone out there believes that because of allys like you. Peace and love to you, my friend.
I am a 62 year old Pagan, straight male, and I think you acted with commendable restraint. Much more that I would have if some one ever makes similar comments if my daughter ever decides to marry her partner.. I’m afraid my “knee jerk” reaction is too strong when my children are concerned.. I love my daughter unconditionally, and although I’ve only met her partner once when they came to visit after the birth of my 2nd grandchild. I am very happy with my girls choice.. Anyway not to be maudlin, or anything, I am sorry for your loss of a friend, but was he really ever your friend?
Thanks for your video, I grew up in a babtist household and have a brother who is a retired minister im 51 an hes 64 and he has never had anything to do with me when he found out I was gay at the age of 19. I since have left the christain religion because if God is so hateful like your x-facebook friend the Christian pastor and my brother, I don’t want anything to do with him or Christianity.
I’m a 51-year-old gay man, and I sure wish you had been fighting in my corner back in 1981 when I was outted in my small town. You’re an awesome brother and yours is so blessed to have you in his corner. Back then I tried the fundamentalist Christian approach to fix my homosexuality, but as so many of us have learned over the years, you can’t pray the gay away. So I decided that if God didn’t like who I was, I didn’t want to be a part of his world; and in one courageous moment, a 17-year-old boy told God to “Fuck off.” In that instant I freed myself of any condemnation about my sexuality. (God and I have made up since then.) I’m saddened that so many Christians are so unlike the man they claim to follow. But I’m happy that the world has straight men like you in it. What an awesome video you made, you really bolstered my Saturday night. Thank you.
Thank you. 🙂 ‘Nuff said. 🙂
I am grateful for Facebook and for your very moving letter, which brought tears to my eyes. A while back a lifelong friend came out to me via email, saying she could tell by my posts on Facebook that I would be ok with that. (I am straight.) Though I hadn’t seen her in decades, I immediately looked up her phone number and told her that I was so honored that she had felt comfortable sharing this with me. She had spent a lifetime hiding her true self from most people, for fear of rejection, for fear of even losing her job. Now in this changing social climate she is more comfortable with sharing who she is. And people like you who share their stories have helped greatly in this startlingly rapid change in our society. I live in Illinois, and just yesterday our legislators made same-sex marriage legal in our state! Love wins!
This is a case of good riddance to bad rubbish.
I’ve had to cut several people from my evangelical days out of my life and even my facebook over Other incidents and it’s been the best thing I could do. There are some people who choose to be unreasonable, and you and your family do not need that kind of negativity.
Congratulations on getting rid of someone who refuses to see just how bitter they choose to be.
When my firstborn was a few weeks old, I was walking around with him (trying to get him to go to sleep) and watching a talk show. The guests were gays and lesbians who had been rejected by their families and the family members who had rejected them. Each of the family members who cast their gay or lesbian children out of their lives mentioned their christian faith and the bible as their excuse for doing so. I looked down at the (by then) sleeping baby in my arms and couldn’t even imagine a time when anything in my life would mean more to me than our relationship and his happiness. I recognize this as the beginning of me pulling away from christianity. Anything that demanded I turn on those I had promised to love unconditionally isn’t worth my time and doesn’t deserve my devotion.
I am not sure how I came to see your video, but I did. I think it may have been “Upworthy”….Anyway, I was touched, so much so that I shared it on my FB page. I am of the same mind set as you; “Love is Love”……How others can condemn for others loving is SO FAR beyond my comprehension…I wanted you to know, I thought your video and letter were poignant, succinct, respectful and full of heart. KUDOS to you! Your brother is a very lucky man to have you by his side-
Much Love to you and yours-
It’s by taking a positive stand, such as you did, that we are considered to be true to Godliness. The bible can be misinterpreted in many ways to fuel hate. I thank you for standing strong and in doing so empowering the LGBT youth of today.
Never ever can you say or anyone else say you didn’t stand by your brother and partner. There are so many close minded people they can’t see beyond their own beliefs. Love is Love and no one should be left out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Karma Pastor will bite you so hard you will not see the light of Heaven! Amen!
It saddens me when people become so filled with hubris that feel they can cast the first stone without any repercussion.
My family disowned me when I came out. I can’t imagine having a loving, supportive sibling like you. You are an amazing man.
Here’s the thing. You asked him a question that I don’t think he could honest or spiritually answer. He didn’t know what to say. I mean you asked him if he personally knew the heart of Christ and for a Pastor the answer should be clear. But he could have been questioning everything….Not that I’m agreeing with him don’t get me wrong here. I’m not but what if he is….Let’s not all go against him because that’s not right either. We don’t want to be on this side or that side we want one way….the right way…..everyone to be equal…..One day if everyone would be able to marry the one they love and have a family without someone saying they are wrong because of gender, color, or whatever …..I’m tired of it all….my mother was gay I’m 56 years old now, her partner and she split up but even after they split when her partner got Alzheimers she took care of her until she died. So love goes on even after the split. So, you can’t tell me gay people can’t raise good children, my brother (he died in 2005 from cancer but raised 2 children) and I are good children. Oh and She had 2 sons from previous marriages before finding a gay relationship that outlasted any of her marriages. So, I believe the Lord knows what he’s doing with people. He has straight people, gay people and those that are both and he does it for a reason; but we aren’t supposed to know, why because we aren’t God.
Thank you so much for sharing the letter you sent. I am amazed at your restraint, as I would have likely not have been so kind. I feel sorry for your former friend, sorry for the friendships he’s lost, sorry that he seems to have lost his way as a Pastor. Your original video brought me to tears, and I shared it, because, well, I HAD to. I have been a LGBT supporter from way back, and when a family member came out a few years ago, I was THRILLED. Thrilled that they could FINALLY be their true selves after so many years, but mostly thrilled that their deeply religious parents accepted them whole-heartedly with love and compassion. That Pastor could learn a thing or two from them. Thank you again for sharing.
Powerful. I too, rarely comment on videos or posts, but your words were eloquent, honest and real.
Love is Love-You are awesome 🙂
Your response was heart felt and much nicer than I would have been. You asked the one question that I always want the answer to, how does gay marriage actually hurt you in your life? How does it hurt your own marriage when two men or two women get married? Never heard a good answer. Your brother and his husband are extremely lucky to have you in their life!
I rarely comment on articles or videos, even when moved greatly. This is a very personal topic for me. Many years in the restaurant business have introduced me to many LGTB people and they are a part of my family and have a huge place in my heart. Several years ago, my daughter came out. She has a close, loving relationship with her partner and together they have weathered some really good times, and unfortunately, some very bad times. In both, I am glad she has someone to lean on, care for, defend. The only thing I have ever said to the detractors is this…..I do not live by the words if Chris Rock often, but he said in a stand up (and I’m paraphrasing) “be careful what you hate, it will wind up in your family”. It was funny yet poingnent then, and the words still ring with honesty today, for me. Thank you for a lovely, moving, tear rending video and thank you for sharing the letter you wrote to your friend. Many, many others should read and view your words.
A beautifully written and respectful letter. What a shame this person cannot find it in his heart to respond at all! His loss, I fear. I don’t understand the objection to two people in love getting married, regardless of sexuality and I am looking forward to the day when there will just be “marriage”, not defined by whether it is hetero or gay.
What a wonderful letter. And good for you on trying to engage him. What a pity he didn’t reply. thank you for straight friends and family like yourself.
Your thoughts and actions should be emulated by everyone! So kind in your response to his cutting you out of his world. People are people and should not be judged except by their god.
Your video about your brother brought me to tears. Now this letter, which is so well-written and conceived with such love and respect, is a statement of things many of faith must answer. You are absolutely right…we cannot know the the heart of Christ. But the simpler and more pointed question gets to a more personal level….what harm does it do to you if two men get married? The answer to that question would reveal a person’s real motivations.
I don’t think the bigots are capable of thinking this way.In my experience, if you manage to engage them, you will find one of two (or maybe both) things going on: they are afraid they will be treated by gay men the same way they treat women (aka karma) or, on a sadder note, they were molested as a boy, had no one with whom to talk about that incident, and have transferred their rage upon all gay people.
Thank-you for making your reply public. I admire your sincerity and loving heart that has also tried to reach out to this Pastor. I too, have experienced loss of friends. Some due to their prejudices, others lack of commitment to really search God for His heart on the matter, while others would still like to be friends but to do so would cause controversy within their friendships in the community of believers they are part of. Very sad. It brings tears to my eyes to think that people I have known all my life seem weak in their resolve to embrace all of humanity.
How gracious you’ve been – your letter was kind and patient. It is so unfortunate that all too many people are unable to see beyond dogma and fear (of what, I’m not sure – I think its vagueness makes it more fearsome). Honest, open, genuine love is a rare treasure, to be celebrated – and it appears that your brother hit the jackpot, with both his spouse and you.
As my 11 year old Grandson said recently after a new Minister started going on about homosexuality “If God made us in his image did he make a mistake?” and “Jesus instructs us to love everyone” So as he said who am I supposed to believe. He has decided to go with God and love everyone regardless. I must explain that my Grandson 2 years ago was ring bearer at my nieces Civil Partnership and will be Best Person when their best friends get married next year. I actually feel very sorry for your ex friend what a lot of love he is blind to.
Reblogged this on Twisted Words Writing and commented:
This is amazing, I hope everyone reads this and truly thinks about it. I am open to comments and dicussion
Very impressed by how you handled the situation, I fear my temper would have got the better of me, thanks for showing the world that not all straight men are bigoted fools, if it comes up we have this article on why homosexuality is natural – http://nerdgeist.com/2013/07/05/homosexuality-proof-that-its-not-a-bad-thing – just in case this ‘friend’ of yours comes back.
Still you have my respect as does your brother and brother in law, sadly this world still has to many short sighted people who have to rain on everyone else’s parades
I think they forget that they are talking about a brothers, uncle, son, husband, friend. That these are not real people to them and somehow it makes it easier for them to be hateful because they only see it as something they consider wrong. I feel sorry for them, carrying such hate must corrode the soul. I also think they are bitter sad people to be so concerned with other people’s lives like this.