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A Personal Reflection...
by Jan

A question I have asked myself over the last several years is, "How has my faith been strengthened by my 'coming out' and gaining the self-acceptance that I have?"  In quiet times of reflection and prayer I realize:  I may have this question backwards.  How have my coming out and self-acceptance been a reflection of becoming aware of God's powerful love? That is what the "new life" and new beginnings of baptism and conversion mean to me.

Accepting my sexuality was a long and difficult process.  My work as a psychologist did not aid me, for I could not ignore the fact that I was barely a generation away from the time when professionals were encouraged to diagnose loving, well-adjusted gay and lesbian people as mentally ill.  So I knew my conversion, and certainly my Christian identity, have not come through work, since scholars' and practitioners' debates over homosexuality exist still.

The institutional church did not yield a transformation either.  Of the numerous negative reactions I received when I came out, many were from people (from many denominations) who felt themselves to be very religious - my family included.

Then I came to Dignity-Integrity, the place where I finally learned the true meaning of both "God" and "love," where I met my "brothers and sisters in Christ."  It's where I have witnessed unselfish Christian love in abundance.  Through being at D-I, I have realized that sexuality and spirituality are intertwined.  I feel now that being a lesbian must be part of God's plan for me, that being gay is all right because it is of God.

I did not know what love was until I came out.  I did not know God until I came out.  To me they mean the same thing.  "Love and you shall know God" - God's eternal vote of confidence in us that transcends sexual orientation!

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