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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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We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

                          Joan Didion, title essay, The White Album (1979)


It's hard to express what's in my heart regarding my love for Baha'u'llah and how His community has evolved regarding the subject of gay and lesbian Baha'is. I've been a Baha'i for 38 years, served in many different capacities in the Baha'i community. Basically, the Faith was my life and the very breath of my soul. Coming out as a gay man after many years of suffering in silence was the second greatest liberating event in my life. Accepting Baha'u'llah as my Lord and Savior was the first. Baha'u'llah will always be my Lord, but I could no longer be associated with the prejudice and ignorance that runs rampant throughout the Baha'i community regarding homosexuality. Locked in a "1950's' mindset about this subject, I realized that no amount of reasoning, scientific research, or empirical evidence will ever convince the "Powers that be", that gay and lesbian Baha'is are loved by Baha'u'llah, should be accepted into His community just as they are, should be allowed to marry their life partners and be active participants in developing Baha'u'llah's Vision of a unified world based on love and compassion. With a very heavy heart I now realize that the healthiest thing for any gay and lesbian Baha'i to do is simply become inactive in the community. It will take a few more generations of Baha'is to finally make the change. Already, you can see that the young people of the world are demanding equal rights for their gay and lesbian friends. The young people of the world look upon all religious movements that don't accept gays and lesbians as out of touch, and living in the dark ages. Today, unlike when I was young, almost every young person knows gay people. They are their friends, relatives, parents, school teachers, and "American Idols". They embrace these people with love and equality, never questioning the validity of any gay persons right to "Be". My feeling is that until the Faith steps into the 21st Century regarding this subject, it will continue to be viewed by the non-Baha'i world as odd, strange, fringe, and hypocritical. A Faith that teaches the Oneness of Mankind and the Elimination of Prejudice and the Harmony of Science and Religion and yet believes that homosexuality is a defect that can be overcome with prayer and medical assistance? What??? That is a religion that seems to be speaking out of both sides of it's mouth. The young people can see right through it. And, without young people NO organization can last.


Resigned (but not resigned)

I'm resigned to the fact that I can not see a bridge back to The Faith for me. Still, I haven't resigned formally. I just drifted away...
I am a second generation Baha'i, now lapsed, but always haunted. At 42 I've been away from the Baha'i teachings for 17 years. It's just a natural progression for me, nothing I could stop. It was slow and gradual and ultimately complete. I still think of my dear departed mother, who was such a lover of Baha'u'llah. I remember my passionate love and aching for Baha'u'llah as a youth. I don't know what to do with those remembrances other than resign to the reality of what is: in my heart, I have no connection with the Baha'i world. even though The Faith was pivotal in informing my world view, my primary education, my youth. It helped my large and complicated family cope with adversity. It set me ablaze after I left home and was exploring the world on my own for the first time. A few years later it had become too big an inner conflict, since I couldn't stop wanting to be loved and to love - another man.
I now find it hard to not regard any religiosity as naive and silly, dismissible - even though I try to remain respectful. I'm totally lost in this world, trying, flailing in my attempts to make it through life with a sense of well-being, with a spouse. At 42 I've not found that spouse. I wonder if I'm psychologically set up to fail in love because of my experience being a Baha'i. I know I'm turning my back against "God" and so in a sense "He's" not on my side. I'm alone in the darkness. And I don't believe there really is any more "LIGHT" than I myself can see - in a world tearing itself apart with dysfunction and peril and relentless human frailty.
I went out and got drunk tonight. I'm trying to bounce back from another relationship that didn't work out. Down but not beaten. Arrrrr!!!
Thanks for reading. What a great project this is. It's important.


New Zealand Lesbian story

I have always been different... Whisperings in the nether regions of consciousness. I am Lesbian. In the bell shaped curve of intimate preference I am Lesbian. I am not a covenant breaker.
The faith for me was wonderful for 17 years.. during this time I was happy socially but miserable personally. I read everything and practiced well. I tried to do the heterosexual thing but it did not work well. I do not like the feel of men. It doesn't work. I have a soft personality that gets 'run over' by even the most well meaning of men.
I am Lesbian and to get here I have had to come through some major re-organising of my life. Firstly homophobia in myself, feeling of self disgust and shyness in the lesbian community... then I have had to leave my faith which was just as big as the former experience. You see to leave the faith.. one is leaving the covenant and this means I am out in the cold.. out in amongst the evil of the world. Do not think light of my experiences they make me shiver to understand the turmoil of choosing a womyn as a partner in the faith.
My partner fit..all the Abdul'baha's teachings..She still is a wonderful person some 14 years later...I was in love for the first time in my life at 38 years old.. I finally understood love..I wrote one letter to the LSA a copy to the Person for the protection of the faith and the NSA... I am an honest person. I wanted the faith to see how lovely my relationship was. I was hoping to get a letter that said well ..sort of yes we see you are happy ...we don't agree but be happy anyway and just continue in the faith.
I got a letter that took my voting rights away and condemned me to an unprotected insinuated that my life would be full disaster. It warned me that my actions if I continued would be disastrous.
I was very hurt and angry and walked away from all faiths spitting tacks and reasoning out that if the faith of unity of diversity did not include me as Lesbian and if God made me then there is something seriously wrong with the faith or there is not God.
Fourteen years to get over the anger the pain and the betrayal of it all...I have no Baha'i friends left. All those life long buddies left within the first 3 months of the letter. I went to a public baha'i meeting 9 years later and all I could do was cry..silly me. I am faced with no faith at this point knowing that I was a spiritual person..I tried Buddhism.
Currently..I have been going to a Christian church... which is fine... but with this has come a clear recognition that I am Baha'i. A Lesbian Baha'i. I need to have the faith in some form in my life. (Is this acceptable unto God I a covenant can I make this work??? and be honest) Funny thing is that if the faith included Gays then my Partner and I would be in boots and all.. She too is tuning into the principles and consciousness the faith is.
You see if you take human ability to give or speak or create comfort away from humans take away that which makes us Human.
It is the same with spirituality. I have to find it somewhere as it is built into my human make up. The strange thing is..which like some many other dilemmas I have around the faith and being Lesbian is that... we are meant to uphold diversity and here the faith has taken away a basic human right to spirituality and dehumanised me in the process as well as destroying the virtue of diverse inclusion it so strongly advocates.
It is painful still to write.. I am amazed at the emotions this has taken to write this... Please if you are in power in the faith consider the humanitarian implications to being excluded from the Baha'i faith. We are one section of the global community the Male scribes of the faith left out. Is this Unity and Diverstiy.. All we are is love