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Mark Tobey (1890-1976),

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

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For the love of God, people - wake up!

I don't have much hope that this will be posted, but I feel moved to write this if only to reach the person who is vetting these stories. Please - please - it is so painful to read the first-person accounts on this site. Painful because I have been a closeted gay religious person, and now know the freedom *from* the religious mind-set which makes these accounts so heartbreaking. The shame and secrecy and hidden defiance of the posters on this site breaks my heart, because I understand how unnecessary this whole sturm-und-drang is. Look, you're gay. That's FINE. The religions that are telling you this is a problem ARE THEMSELVES THE PROBLEM. The first person I ever came out to was a Baha'i woman who was my main contact with the Faith when I came across it at a county fair when I was 13 years old. I loved everything about the Baha'i religion at the time, and I wanted so badly to be part of it and to be able to be myself, as a gay person. She did the best that she could do, as she was a believing Baha'i in the mid-1980s when the culture was so repressive and backward compared to today - she was "tolerant" and sympathetic to my plight, but made it clear that the Faith could never allow for a true expression of my sexuality and what I then and now understood to be my essential personhood. I stuck with it for a couple of years, but fell away as my religious interests went further afield towards a more tolerant/expansive model of human sexuality and morality. I am sympathetic towards both my Baha'i friend and toward my younger, would-be Baha'i self. From my current perspective I am positively grieved at the whole mess that is religion and its guilt-inducing destructiveness. I beg of you to ponder just why it is that the community/beliefs you feel such allegiance to are a century behind the broader culture in terms of understanding and acceptance of homosexuality as a completely natural condition with no morally problematic component. It really is possible to live a guilt-free life of coherency and integrity, and I don't see how one can do this when you have to deal with the shame and ostracism inflicted by this particular religious community. Please see that something better is out there. Please.

(If this strikes you as arrogant or insensitive to the plight of a believing Baha'i, I truly do apologize. I wish you all the best and hope that the Baha'i community does come around on this issue. Again, I am only moved to write because there seems to be so much unnecessary suffering going on here.)

 

Zachary Ampersand

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