As I read The Explorer this week, I was moved and saddened by the letter from Mr. Ely. You see, I was one of the haters. I was taught that gays are an abomination to God and that they were going to hell, that they chose a lifestyle that defies nature and is not normal, therefore did not deserve common decency, respect or civility that everyone else deserved. They sure were not allowed to enjoy the benefits of “normal” people; including drunk, drug addicted, abusive or neglectful parents and married couples.
This coming from a family that is filled with hate, looks for horrible things in others to point out and exploit and from a non-existent father, mostly in jail my entire life and a mother that was way beyond abusive and neglectful.
My entire first 18 years I was abused in every way possible, neglected, put in state care where I was abused even more. I was bullied and beat up in school every year and no one stood up for me. My wrong doing? My mother was very strictly protestant and would beat me in the name of religion, quoting the Bible “spare the rod, spoil the child” I contemplated suicide many times.
I still have demons I deal with, I have nightmares almost every night, I have social issues, PTSD and social anxiety.
The reason I am sharing this with you is because, after reading your letter, I realized that religion has been used to commit horrendous atrocities against others and no one is immune. As a gay person, you have had to deal with abuse that no one should have to ever endure; because of the person you choose to bring in to your life.
Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It brought back memories I would rather forget, but most importantly, a light bulb went off and I feel so horrible for every anti gay thing I have ever said, any mistreatment I have ever inflicted (I have never been physical, I was just mean) I am so sorry to you and all other gay Americans. You deserve the same respect and rights as every other American and I sincerely apologize on behalf of all the other haters, even if they have not realized they are discriminating haters.