My name is Samantha and I am queer. I am a Christian, a feminist, and a graduate from Cedarville University. I grew up in a conservative Baptist home in Saint Cloud, Florida. I have always been one to ask the questions that got me into trouble. "Why are boys allowed to be boys?" or "Why is it always white old men who make decisions?" or "Why can't two girls get married" were just samples of questions I asked. My parents were good about most of the questions, except, as you can imagine, that last one. I received that typical 'gay is wrong and a choice and gross and evil, but we have to love people who live that lifestyle'. It was the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' mentality which has always felt dehumanizing to me. You love someone but hate who they are? It never seemed to connect to me.
I was a typical tomboy growing up. I just wanted to keep playing Pokemon and basketball and wear cool cargo pants to carry my Gameboy in. I was awesome! However, in middle school, because of my tomboyishness, I was abused tremendously and labeled as a lesbian at ten. (This was based on society's binary gender norms, which of course aren't really how humans interact. And what someone likes does not determine their gender or their sexuality.) To me, at the time, that was the worst thing to me. I kept hearing in my head, people laughing and calling me a lesbian. I always heard it in my head every day. Why does this hurt me so much? I shouldn't care. But I did.
As I got older, I began to realize my attraction to women. I had conservative parents and was scared that I would lose them if I was even honest with myself. My mom told me that she would always love me no matter what. The only thing she couldn't take would be if I was gay.
I went to a community college my last two years of high school. After that, I transferred to Cedarville University in the spring of 2010. My first semester was terrible, trying to deny my sexuality to myself. The fall semester of my junior year, I came back to school, focused on my studies and focused on killing the part of me that was gay. That was until I fell in love with a girl that very semester. I didn't understand it. I was so frustrated. Finally, one night, I was so tired of fighting and so tired of caring that I was gay. I sat up in my bed and whispered to myself, smiling, "I'm gay. Alright. Let's do this." That year was filled with coming to terms with myself, coming out to friends I could trust, and really just being me. It was a grand year, my favorite year at Cedarville. I didn't allow the pressures of Cedarville and "gay is evil" to influence me. God still loves me and He always loves everyone. I don't find it to be a sin. I find it to be just another way to love. I honestly do.
Was my time at Cedarville hard? It was. My senior year consisted of me trying to have others see that people are people and to stop judging them, specifally people in the LGBTQ community. And I tried every day to avoid judging those who judge me. But it is hard. It's so hard.
But you have to keep fighting. I will keep fighting. I will keep getting myself into trouble by asking questions. I found my right answer from God, not other people. God was directing my life with certain questions and certain experiences for a reason. One day, I hope to be a voice for the LGBTQ community and speak on behalf of my experiences and God.
Oh. Spoilers, it does get better.
It really does.