I graduated from Cedarville University in 2002. I majored in Applied Psychology and was active in Alpha Psi Omega (the psychology organization) during my years at Cedarville (2000-2001 VP; 2001-2002 President). I did not realize I was gay while I was at Cedarville, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that. I know individuals who were aware of their orientation, and I know how much pain they went through during that time as they felt (accurately or not) that they would be judged and despised if they let even their close friends know of their feelings.
My realization came somewhat gradually. I was strongly drawn to the gay community for some reason, yet I did not know why. I went to some online groups where gay people met and joined in on conversations as an ally who wanted to increase her understanding of the world. I grew up being told that homosexuality was wrong, but I never understood why it was wrong other than people telling me that that's what God said. I honestly do not see how love between two people can be so widely condemned. I find it confusing why some of the more vocal opponents to homosexuality focus so much on the topic. There are thousands of issues facing the world today: poverty, violence, health care, war, etc... why focus on something that honestly does nothing but discriminate when there are so many more pressing issues? Sure, people say that gay marriage would demise marriage in our culture, but I'd like to know how. How does two men or women in love negatively affect anyone's marriage? I've never heard anyone say, "My spouse and I have not been able to communicate well at all after that gay couple moved in next door. Their gayness just undermined our entire relationship." You never hear that because 1) it's ridiculous, and 2) it's not true.
But aside from that, I fully came to terms with my lesbianism on August 28, 2003. It was that evening that I realized I had a crush on a lesbian friend of mine who I had known for a couple of months. We were instant messaging when I quickly typed out my feelings, and then promptly ran away from my computer, as I had never expressed my feelings for anyone before and I was terrified beyond belief that the feelings would not be returned and, more importantly, that I was going to puke all over my laptop. However, my fears were quickly subsided when I realized that feelings were mutual and we began a relationship. While that ended 9 months later, it was not before teaching me valuable lessons on relationships, because while I was 23 years old, I had never before been in a relationship of any kind. I didn't even participate in those elementary "Do you like me? Circle Yes No" situations. They did not make sense to me. I kept telling myself that I'd be smart and wait until I went to college to find the "man of my dreams" because I knew it was silly to start up a high school romance that would have to eventually end.
Oddly though, when I started college I still did not seem to be drawn to the dating scene. The pick-a-dates seemed so awkward. I enjoyed them because the activities were always fun (who could turn down a chance to play laser tag?), but the uncomfortable and uneasiness was just a bit too much. Now, I'm not going to say that I find all men unattractive. That is not the case. I can see a good-looking man and appreciate it, but that's where it stops. I don't have the normal straight girl response of "Oh, I wonder what he smells like"; "I wonder what it would be like to kiss him." I would just think, "Wow. He's pretty." And move on. It was kind of like looking at a piece in an art gallery. Appreciation. Admiration. Then you move on.
But even in college my orientation never hit me. I would be asked out by some guys here and there and while I enjoyed being with them as friends, I felt so awkward having them pay for me because it seemed like I was leading them on. I can honestly say that I used the cheap, "I don't think it's God's will for us to go out anymore" line numerous times. I did not know how else to explain why I wasn't interested in being anything more than friends, and I just assumed that since my feelings weren't there that it obviously wasn't in God's plan. After all, if he wanted me to be with one of those guys, he would have given me some sort of reaction/feelings, right? But nada. Nothing. I even made a commitment to not date for an entire year so that I could get my life right with God. I really had no pressing concern with my spiritual life that warranted such a dramatic act, but it sure did take the pressure off whilst trying to explain to others and myself as to why I wasn't dating anyone.
The journey since then has been an interesting one with ups and downs, falling in love, falling out of love, heart break, etc. But I wouldn't change my orientation for the world. When I realized that summer night in 2003 that I was gay, my life finally made sense to me. I could retrace my childhood and realize that the really weird butterfly feelings that I had felt for certain babysitters and girl friends were crushes, and not a reaction to something I had just eaten. My fear of marriage and my complete disinterest in dating quickly evaporated as well. I am currently enrolled in a Master's program at the University of Indianapolis. There I study sociology and hope to someday create and present research that will benefit human rights. I greatly appreciate the individuals who started up cedarvilleout.org. Not being accepted and feeling alone and isolated is a common reality to those who are gay - I think this website is a great way to reach out to others that are struggling to let them know that they are okay and that there is nothing wrong to being gay. The only thing wrong about homosexuality is the refusal to accept it.