This is a long story and I would truly appreciate your patience as you read my words.
Where to start..? I am a Western woman who identifies as pansexual; I have since my early 20s, I now realize. I love, and am attracted to, people of both sexes, with more emphasis on the *soul* of the person than their gender, hence I identify as "pansexual." Due to my lack of courage at the time, I would not admit this to another soul. I was ashamed and felt like there was something "wrong" with me, so I kept it to myself and suffered deeply because of it in many ways, for two decades of my life.
I became Baha'i around the same time, without a full understanding of how conservative the Baha'i institutions are. I resigned from the faith after 20 years as a Baha'i, with great sadness AND relief, not because I love Bahá'u'lláh any less, but because, bottom line, I will no longer be a member of a community which is so blatantly prejudiced against me and my LGBT sisters and brothers.
There were other factors involved in my resigning from the faith. These included a marriage to a very conservative Persian Baha'i, which has since disintegrated, and an overall realization that while I will always love the Wisdom behind the Baha'i principles, I cannot reconcile many, many of the decisions made by the Baha'i institutions and the overall lack of compassion and openness (in my experience) in local Baha'i communities.
It was a barb stuck deep in my heart to realize that I surely would be expelled from the community for loving a woman, if I happened to fall in love with a female and ((actually wanted to be honest about it)). I could not reconcile being treated like this with the message of love that abounds in the Baha'i writings and, as such, I chose to opt-out, period.
I am avidly pro human rights and pro civil rights. It saddens me to know of persecution of ANY kind, based on religion, gender, nationality, culture, sexuality, race, ethnicity, etc. I find it is terribly ironic that while Baha'is in various countries face persecution due to their faith, their own institutions themselves practice persecution against "sexual minorities" within the Baha'i community. This is a huge contradiction which I do not expect I will ever be able to reconcile.
I am grateful to have found this site, to have a place to relate my experience and learn about other people's, too. [It saddens me to not be able to disclose my name here ((yet)), but I am in the middle of an ugly divorce and do not want to "add fuel to the fire..."]
Many Bright Blessings to all of you,