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Made Gay by God
by Marvin Barrett

Way before I came out to my mom at age 20, I knew I was a homosexual.  By the time I was 11 or 12, I definitely knew.  And before that I had "hints" from my body, mind and emotions that I liked men more than women.

Without anyone telling me that being homosexual was "bad," I already knew it.  Growing up, my mom and I never talked about it - yet something was communicated in ways beyond words that for a man to want another man was against God's law, God's Intent and God's Purpose for my life.

So for me to say that as a black adolescent I was full of guilt and shame because I was gay, is a gross understatement.  I was racked with self-loathing, self-hatred counterbalanced by secret wild lusts and desperate unfulfilled longings.

Is it any different for young gays in the 2000s?  I don't know -  because I grew up basically in the '60s.  (I was 7 when 1960 dawned, and 17 when 1969 came to a close.)  And the '60s were different - a lot more closeted.  The Stonewall Revolution wasn't until 1969.  Back then, being out and gay was a rare phenomenon - truly risky business.

But no matter what the decade, feelings and feelings.  So perhaps one or two '90s teens can identify with the pain I went through.  Because on the outside - I was a super achiever, apparently straight, even had a girlfriend (never had sex with her, though, and never even tried).  Yes, I looked good on the outside.  But inside I was a mess!

The year I came out to my mom was 1973.  As an only child coming out to a single parent, this was a real big event to say the least.  Yet my mom didn't act all that surprised or shocked - but her clear unspoken message to me was that this perhaps was just a passing phase.  She loved me - but her silence on the subject of whether being gay was OK was deafening!

Why was mom hardly surprised about me being gay?  - maybe because she already knew.  When I was 14 or 15, while snooping around in my mom's closet, I found a book on male homosexuality in America.  So, clearly she knew - and she didn't like the idea.  Because when I was around 16 she said, "Marvin, you're the type of black man every black woman would want:  Handsome and intelligent."  I guess, what black mother wouldn't say that about her only son.  But that one's son should turn out to be gay is probably the last thing ANY mother of ANY race would want, even today!  My mom was no different.

Later, when I started drinking alcohol, smoking pot, going out to gay bars and found a lover - my mom distanced herself from me more and more.  We only became close again when I left my lover, joined her church and tried to STOP being gay.  I never did feel good about being a homosexual, so I tried to kill that part of myself at age 28 through fasting, prayer, and church work.

I failed utterly - but I almost succeeded in killing myself with alcohol and drugs.  It was only when I was 51 years old that my mom said to me, at one of the 30 rehabs I went to:  "Marvin, be whatever you want to be - just don't destroy yourself with alcohol and drugs!"

But the damage was done.  I, being so like my mom, had made her homophobia all my own.  To this day at age 43 I'm still trying to learn how to love myself as a beautiful, gay, black man - made gay by God.


They said way back in the 1500s, "You Indians are heathens with no grace,
so if you don't get converted, we'll kill you at a fast pace."
They said way back then too, "You Africans are the children of Ham,
so be grateful you're still above ground; to slavery you're damned."
And they still said in the 1800s, "You ladies have no say in your life,
after all the man is the head of the family and you're just a wife."

Who were "they" who said statements with an arrogance
            only privilege can bring?
Who were "they" who passed judgment on other men
            without even thinking about the love of Christ the King?

Why, they were Christians, white Christians all,
who read the Bible and interpreted it without flaw.
They were Christians, white Christians, so technologically advanced
they condemned you to hell before you ever had a chance.

So these Bible scholars almighty, now what do they say?
Do Indians still deserve to die?  Do blacks deserve to be enslaved?
And how about women, the so-called "weaker" sex?
Are they still supposed to be homebodies, so their weak minds won't be vexed?

They still claim Biblical justification for everything they do,
so why in the year 2004 have they changed right on cue?
What changed?Did the Bible, God's Holy Law?
Or did their opinions change, those folk without flaw?

And who's the new whipping boy they have tied to the stake?
What new Bible verses have they misconstrued
to support the condemnations they make?
To answer the first question, that's as easy as pie:
Gay folk are the new devils, the ones Christians say should die.
The answer to the second question, that's easy, too.
Men should not lie with men, says it right in Leviticus, too.
"Oh really?" a skeptic might say.
Can't you find the same verses now just as damning against Indians today?
And nothing's changed about Ham, so I guess blacks should still be slaves.
Now don't forget the Epistles,
where that 'Christian' attitude towards women was made."

But are there no Christians willing to look deep in their hearts?
Can't they see a disturbing pattern that shows them their faults?
They twist the Bible to support what they think.
They never let Christ's Love in, so their hearts they do shrink.

I pray for the day and may it come ever so swiftly
that Christians of all hues may open their minds quickly
and let the Sunshine of Christ's Love enlighten their minds
so no child of God will ever be left behind.

marvin e barrett © 8/23/04


Following the Christ Light is no easy task,
it means changing your life, challenging your past.
And you may think you know the Direction He goes,
but you may be in for a shock, for you're not God, you know.
The very place you think is accursed may be the Cornerstone of God's Worth.
For who are you to judge, your mind so blind?
Who are you to say what God has in mind?
For in the secret dark places of the heart,
there God goes to work, there His Mercy Christ imparts.

You never can tell where God wants you to go,
but you can pray for His Will, just don't tell It where to go.
For when you give your life to Christ, you're in for the ride of your life,
not for the faint-hearted, not for those afraid of life.

Muscle-bound you may not be, yet your soul may be strong.
Just hang in there even with one hand, don't give up, for it won't be long
when suddenly when you least expect it God's trumpet will sound.
You'll think it's the end, but actually you're on Holy Ground.
For did not God say in the Book of Christ's Law
"Judge not what I've found without flaw?"

Oh dear heart, believe not every TV evangelist, with a wad full of cash,
a fancy white cathedral, a congregation overflowing vast.
Rather trust in the Still Small Voice, speaking deep in your heart,
and listen very careful to the wisdom that He does impart.

Does the white-capped teethed pastor preach against gays,
Call Moslems infidels, Buddhists pagans without grace?
I tell you a mystery, a sign deep in God's Heart:
not all who cry "Master!" are close to God's Heart.
Rather look to the suffering, look to the lost,
look to those who are by every tempest tossed.
For in people such as these will a mystery be revealed.
Even those you think know not Christ, by Christ will be healed
- and not healed of the affliction you think they bear,
rather healed of self-condemnation, of feeling it's not fair.
Oh Christ's Love is pure, so encompassing, so fair,
not one will be forsaken, His Grace will be shared.
And those you think are damned may very well be the ones who are spared!

marvin e barrett © 8/4/04, revised 10/01/04

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