Story Navigation
Notable Individuals

Mark Tobey (1890-1976),

famous artist, dedicated and devout Baha'i, was gay. His life and work were commemorated.. More

Powered by Squarespace
« New Zealand Lesbian story | Main | I might as well be honest. »

Grieving for the Community I Knew

I am a gay woman, and believe me, the realisation that I was gay wasn't a pleasant one. When I was a teenager I wanted to be happy in the way I thought the Teachings said would make me happiest. I sobbed and repressed with every ounce of energy I had my desire for other women and focused myself on men.

No matter what I did, how many times I cut myself for "bad thoughts" or having "bad" dreams, no matter how hard I prayed and begged God for help, I couldn't make myself stop. I wanted so badly to want a boy, but the first time I kissed another woman, it felt very right. I'd made myself kiss boys, even sleep with them to prove to myself that I could enjoy heterosexual sex and it was alright... but just kissing another woman, just holding her was something else entirely. I felt disconnected with men, like I was made of paper and I felt nothing but a discomfort and "ugh" feeling inside no matter how considerate they were, but with another woman I felt whole and fulfilled.

I stayed in the closet until I was eighteen. Then I tried again to date a man. He was a gay man who was struggling with the same issues as me. We did everything we could to make it work, but the fact was that we were both trying to be something we weren't. When I told my Baha'i parents what I was, they told me that I didn't know what I was and that I should just try harder. To say that it was crushing cannot encapsulate how I felt. I'd tried since I was eleven years old. I have scars up and down the insides of my legs, I prayed for hours, I tried all the methods in the books you can buy. Name it, I've tried it, and it nearly killed me.

I tried to committ suicide two months ago because I was so full of self-hatred. If it were true that we could overcome this with prayers, I would be a saint by now. I did everything humanly possible, and in the end, looking into my girlfriend's eyes and kissing her mouth feels as right to me as praying to God for wisdom and purity.

I haven't been back to my Baha'i community because I know they would never accept me. I miss the community I once had, but I can't pretend that I'm straight. My community welcomed the birth of a child to an unwed young teenaged Baha'i (as they should have!) with love and welcoming, but the way they talked about homosexuals lets me know everything I need to know.

But I'm sure the community would rather I succeeded in my suicide attempt than if I found a woman who loved me in return. I regretfully will not attend services and will let myself be classified as "inactive". They wouldn't care about the years and years of suffering, self-hatred and pain I've experienced, because according to their minds any love I have that makes me feel that life is worth living is dirty and disgusting.

I wish bitterly I were straight. I would do anything if it would magically happen, but I've come to accept that it won't happen because there's something wrong with them--not with me. I have to let what I know inside to guide me, and the 'right'-ness I feel when I look into my girlfriend's eyes or hold her hand lets me know that I won't be able to return to a community who would have never accepted me in the first place if they knew what I was from Day One. Is that love? No.

a lonely tree

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend