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So for a while I've been thinking of submitting my story. But then I thought, why? I'm at a good place in my life. By not being active in the Bahai community, it has opened up so many new opportunities for me to truly help society. My only concern is for those who are still suffering inside the Bahai community. The vulnerable who still believe that they have some disease that they need to overcome. Unfortunately a few very loud individuals inside the Bahai community are trying to portray a happy place for multitudes of celibate gays or gays who are in happy hetero marriages. This is a far cry from the truth. The multitudes are miserable and the majority have probably left a community that does not want them. So instead of telling my story, I want to share the stories of many (including myself) that I gleaned from the following petition site (if a name is shown it is because the individual knowingly decided to share their name on the site, therefore it is public):

I hope the world can see the true hurt that the Bahai community has caused to me and so many others. I have gained many wonderful things from the Faith and I am still in my heart a Bahai, but I can't sugar-coat the hurt that the Bahai community has caused and continues to cause to LGBT people within its ranks. So read the stories of gay Bahais, ex-Bahais and gay seekers:

2:14 am PDT, Apr 19, Eva Buer, Norway
The scripts and law is discrimitating and not a practice that unite mankind. The sanctions are about insolating homosexuals which is inhuman. What is also frightening is that the "friends" and members of the local essembly agree on the scrips without questening at all, like they are brainwashed. Some say that I can leave the Faith and that the Faith is not for everybody.... , but it is my Faith and my connection to God and not easy to leave.
I have been a Bahai since 1990, 20 years. The last year I have been in a lespian relationship, with deep love. For the first time. I am totally shocked and disappointed when I now read the Bahai scrips on this issue and experience the practice.

4:47 pm PST, Jan 27, Name not displayed, Illinois
For the Bahai New year, March 21st 2010. Bahais around the world should seek to address and consider this matter. 10-15% of people in this world statistically are gay. 10-20% are their friends family and supporters. So your telling me that 35% of the Bahai Faith should be denied? They have been rejected by their family and every institution to man. And bahais proclaim unity and the erradication of predjudice? As the prophets of the faith state to not fear the truth no matter martydom or hatred by others to reaveal the truth. Fellow Bahais need to practice what they preach. I will continue to fight for the truth and unity of all our people. As that is my promise to the faith as the promise of Gods Eternal Covenant to me. Being gay is by nature not choice and is no longer considered a "handicap" or "mental disorder". To consider science as relavent..and being gay myself...i know that being gay is not a choice and not a mental condition. It cannot be changed. In nature everything is not black and white, and are things that cannot be explained. It is a rare, though not uncommon flower in the garden of humanity, being gay. Becuase Gays have been outcasted by all institutions and authorites, there is a illness that grows in them that leads them to sex, drugs, materialism, aids, and party life. Becuase they are looking for the love and acceptance in the wrong places. You need to accept them to heal them. Not that all gays are like that, however, many use these examples as a way to outcast them, or appear as sinners. But this is societies issue, because they are turning them away from God, by not accepting them. We cannot unite the people of the world with these prejudices. Please change this, i will pray for it and protest.
I am a Gay Baha'i
8:34 pm PST, Nov 21, Name not displayed, Texas
I am a gay man. I came to the Faith because it spoke to me. God spoke to me through his revelations. This is a faith that unifies science and religion, people of all nations and creeds, but most importantly, one that unifies God and mankind. The idea that homoxesuality is wrong and something to be fixed is in many ways contrary to these ideas. Though I am disturbed by this intolerance, I am firm in my faith, and I am, and shall remain a Baha'i.
Yes. I am a man, a child, a person, a follower of God, Adam, Moses, Abraham, Christ, the Buddha, Krishna, the Bab, and Baha'u'llah

12:34 am PDT, Jul 7, Jozef A Blazej, California
because homosexuality is not a changable part of a person, and even if it were, the Baha'i faith should still respect people for who they are- does Baha'i not teach that all mankind is one?
i would be if only they accepted LGBT folks...

:43 pm PDT, Apr 19, Name not displayed, Oregon
I have all but renounced my Baha'i beliefs because I can not be who I am and be a Baha�i. While I believe in the teachings of Baha�u�llah, I can not spread the faith in good conscious knowing that I am actively oppressing other individuals like myself. I believe that the answer lies in progressive revelation. The Universal House of Justice bears the responsibility of leading the world in to the new world order and maintaining the integrity of the writings not only to the believers, but to the people of the world. It will be impossible to carry out that momentous of a task without sincere veracity on all levels. I will continue to practice equality in all aspects of my life because it is my belief that that is what God and Baha�u�llah would want. It saddens me that I will have to do this without the support of the faith. I applaud all those who stand up for who we are. After all, we are all seekers of the truth and we have found our truth.

9:02 pm PDT, Apr 5, Melissa Flory, South Carolina
As a lesbian Baha'i this issue is of incredible importance to me. The Baha'i mandate is of unity and equality, to discriminate against not only against some of their own members and their community is against everything a Baha'i stands for and it is wrong.

Feb 26, 2009, Chara Riegel, Massachusetts
my girlfriend is Baha'i and she has gone through so much sadness and pain as a result of the religion's discrimination of lgbtq people. The love of people in same-sex relationoships is of God and should be recognized as such.

Feb 25, 2009, Anonymous, Massachusetts
I was raised Baha'i and hope I can practice again once the Faith accepts me and my same-sex partner. I feel outcasted from the most accepting religion in the world; the religion I love the most. I feel like what God really cares about is that I be kind, compassionate, that I do no harm, and do god work. I don't think God cares about the gender of the person I'm intimate with, which happens to be a loving, gentle, spiritual, caring, woman.
I was raised Baha'i and hope I can practice again once the faith accepts me and my same-sex partner.

Feb 9, 2009, Anonymous, Canada
My family is Bahai, and Ive lived most of my childhood through sunday schools, bahai functions and praying. For me to have to choose between finding love in your life and being able to express it, and my religion. Its not only disappointing, but hurtful.
I have not signed my card, and although I still follow the beliefs of the Bahai faith, not being allowed to fully participate, does not bring religion any closer to ones life, but rather makes it very easy to push it away

Feb 3, 2009, MJ Kelley, Texas
I am a lesbian Baha'i in a committed relationship raising four Baha'i children. partner, children and I are Bahai's.

Jan 1, 2009, Anonymous, Washington
I am a 19 yr old lesbian who was raised Bahai. It hurts me to think I have to seperate my wonderful Bahai community and myself to be who I am. I was born this way, and I do not think being gay is a disease.
I was a Bahai

Dec 24, 2008, Michael Zargarov, Texas
As a Baha'i I was consistently and often asked IF I was a homosexual. Although I was practicing the prescribed celibacy of an unmarried individual, my mannerisms told the ignorant that I MUST be gay. I was called before administrative bodies on numerous occasions, and was even told that I was denied service at Haifa because I was struggling against homosexuality.
I became a Baha'i in 1980. I pioneered and travel taught in more than 40 countries. I paid the Huququllah. I sang in the 400 voice chorus at the 2nd baha'i World Congress, in 1992. I resigned from a cultishly governed sect which no longer welcomed the diversity it espoused.

Nov 27, 2008, Anonymous, Georgia
My son, his wife and children are Baha'is. They are decent, honorable people. My daughter and her spouse are gay. They also are decent, honorable people. They all treat each other with kindness but this doctrine is a permanent barrier between them; it does harm to them all.
I am not religious in any way. I believe that my children are caught up in the ideas of persons who lived in the ignorant past. Those who follow these teachings today are unable to escape this darkness because they believe these teachings are divinely inspired. I hope that the Baha'i faith, which has many noble precepts, can find its way to a better justice than it now asserts, but I am not optimistic. The division it has created in my family beaks my heart.

Nov 27, 2008, Robin Kemp, Georgia
My brother is a Bahaí convert and my nieces and nephews are being taught that their aunts (I and my partner) are sexual perverts who just need to "have babies/meet the right men to get "cured." This is insulting, divisive, and thoroughly false. There is nothing proper or ethical in promoting such bigoted misinformation as divine law.
No, and I never will be. I was raised to defend human rights, not to trample them in the name of God.

Aug 16, 2008, Anonymous, California
I am a Baha'i, and I am ashamed of the Faith. No one at my work treats me and my husband like the Faith does... its very sad for the Faith. We look like dinosaurs... so many good people run out of the Faith, I pray that one day we will be brave as my Methodist and Jewish colleagues and others in being a welcoming group.
Are you a Baha'i? yes, and my non-Baha'i husband & I just got married here in California... I wanted a Baha'i ceremony but alas we settled for a Catholic blessing...

Aug 8, 2008, Evelyn Thomas, Florida
I believe God does not approve of the actions taken by the Baha'i administrative bodies (at various levels) toward LGBTI individuals. It is the responsibility of the House of Justice to take the lead role to inform themselves about the reality that current medical science now understands about human sexuality which differs greatly from that which was understood at the time of Shoghi Effendi.
Are you a Baha'i? I was enrolled in 1971 and remained active for ten years. I withdrew from the faith after "counseling" for my relationship with another woman. I re-enrolled two years ago but after many meetings with the LSA of Pinellas County and their anti-gay Chairman and assuring him that my current living arrangement is no longer sexual (although it is emotional and financial) my enrollment request was referred to National and they have been informed that I will not be admitted to enrollment into the faith because of my belief that my homosexuality is not an aberration nor a "problem" to be overcome. I am a women who was married and loved a man and bore five children. I have four living children and four beautiful grandchildren. I have loved three women since divorcing in 1977. The first woman became Baha'i and then left the faith in early 1980's. The second woman became Baha'i and also left the faith with me in early 1980's. We lived happily and monagamously for 13 years. My children love her dearly and she will always be a part of our family. My current partner is a Northern Baptist and doesn't want any part of Baha'i having witnessed unChristian behavior in the Baha'i community. We've been together for the past 13 years and she doesn't understand why I'd want to belong to a religion that discriminates against gays. I'm hoping and praying and trying to participate to the degree that I am able to promote a peaceful, loving world for my children and grandchildren and well as those of the House of Justice and the world.

Jul 21, 2008, Meredith Dodge, California
I don't want young Baha'is who are questioning their sexuality to repress themselves in the name of maintaining their religious identity. This is harmful to the soul. It hurt me, and I want it to stop hurting others.
I left the Baha'i Faith when I came out as a Lesbian.

Jun 12, 2008, David McLaren, Florida
I am a Baha'i who was born into a Pioneering family. I dream about a Baha'i community growing and nuturing all of the peoples of the world...ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD! The only place where I ever felt this inside the Baha'i community was at BNASAA!
I am a Baha'i!

Jun 11, 2008, Peyam Barghassa, North Carolina
I'm generations Bahai, so this issue affects ALL Bahais. It's not a western thing, it's not a liberal thing, it's a Bahai thing. It's time to move on. If Catholic congregations can open up their communities regardless of the Vatican, then why aren't Bahais changing at the grass roots level? I don't have the energy or time to fight in it, but I hope one day it will change and I will go back.

Apr 15, 2008, Bonnie Collup, Arizona
I studied the Baha'i two years ago, attended meetings in their homes, and was enthralled with this inclusive religion. I was very interested in becoming actively involved in their organization, which has many beautiful tenets. One day that I asked to interview one of the members for my 'World Religions' college class. I was APPALLED to find that they openly condemn any form of non-heterosexual relations. My awe was shattered. They speak of inclusiveness, but they disappointed me with their discrimination. My sexuality is NOT a spiritual "handicap."

Apr 10, 2008, Elizabeth Ryan, Ireland
I am bi-sexual and i thank the divine that i have the right to say that without injury. I only wish it were the same for everyone but that day is coming. If you do not personally condone homosexuality then lead by your own example and do not practice it. Beyond that no further action should be taken to condemn it.
I am not and nor would i ever be a devotee of any faith that requires the denouncement of another path.

Apr 6, 2008, Elizabeth Respess, North Carolina
Elizabeth Respess - I used to be a Baha'i, but resigned several years ago because of this exact issue. Since then, my life has opened up in wonderful ways and I am so happy and relieved to finally be living a life closer to my true beliefs. Thanks for putting this out for people to discuss.


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