Before I get to my question I would like to give my sincere condolences for your mate, and I would like to say I know what it's like to lose someone you love. Also I am really looking forward to the furry book coming out, it is on my list of books to read, right up there with Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
Now onto my question, while looking for my fursona because I just found the fandom a few weeks ago I found something that I was suspicious about but not certain of, I was gay. I am still in the closet with my family but I told my friends because I trust them more than my family. I had told my mother about a year ago of my suspicions and I thought I could trust her but she went and told the rest of my family, including my grandmother who is a pastor. Next time I saw my grandmother she gave me biblical reasons as to why homosexuality is wrong, as a person who thinks Christianity is a bunch of poppycock and is questioning everything I have ever been taught I almost called her out on it but did not. My whole family is homophobic and they absolutely despise furries calling them freaks who need to be committed to a psych ward, so as a homosexual furry that is the worst place to be. What do I do?
* * *
Hello, and thanks for your patience. Thanks, too, for the good wishes.
It's fine that you respected your grandmother and her beliefs enough not to lash back at her homophobic stance.
Many people who espouse Christianity are very misled. Somehow, for many (but by no means all) Christians, it has become a testimony to their faith that they should hate certain people. Lately, that seems to mean it's okay to hate LGBT people.
I will say that I'm not a Christian (duh, right?), but I do believe in many things the Bible says and I believe that many of the things Jesus supposedly said are wonderful and should be followed by Christians and non-Christians alike (the Golden Rule being at the top of the list).
Jesus was about loving your fellow humans, even (and this cannot be stressed enough) your enemies. He was not about hatred, rejection, and prejudice. Pretty much everything about religion that goes beyond “treat other people nicely and love God” is extraneous, unimportant, and added by religions in order to give priests jobs, build elaborate churches, and start religious wars (to send hate mail, write to: Grubbs Grizzly, 555 Bear St., Getoveryourself, CA 90000).
So your grandmother the pastor gave you “biblical reasons” why being gay is against God and Christianity. You already disagree with her, but if you want some ammunition, here you go:
1. If she quotes Leviticus, you can point out that the Old Testament laws are overwritten by the New Testament (after all, that’s what Christianity is supposed to be about), and then continue by noting Leviticus if chock full of ridiculous rules (well, some might have been practical thousands of years ago, but are not now), including prohibition of eating rabbits or shrimp, prohibitions of growing crops next to each other or wearing linen and wool together, and prohibition of eating raw meat (no sushi for you!), among other things.
2. If she talks about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, saying the cities were punished for, among other things, gay sex. That’s not true. They were punished for being greedy people who treated others badly. Now, there is a scene where a bunch of Sodomites were coming to Lot’s house to have sex with the angels who were his guests. But this wasn’t sex for the purpose of fun; you see, back then, gang raping people was one form of punishing them through humiliation. Thus, the Sodomites were coming to brutalize and punish the angels, not have a fun gay orgy.
3. I defy your grandmother or anyone to find one single quote by Jesus in the Bible saying homosexuals are wrong or evil.
4. In fact, there is a story in Matthew in which a Roman centurion goes to Jesus for help. This is an important scene often cited by gay men to point out the true nature of Jesus and how the original Greek text is often mistranslated and misinterpreted. The centurion comes out of desperation to a Jewish religious leader (that he does so shows his desperation), Jesus, to cure his ailing young lover (a man he has purchased). In those days, it was quite common for older men of means to buy others as “slaves,” who were really bought for sex. Now, in many cases, these men were beloved by their purchasers. Many scholars have shown that the proper interpretation of the Greek text is that the young man whom Jesus shows no qualms in curing, is gay. Jesus would have known this, being a man of the times and familiar with Romans. Therefore, Jesus must not have had a problem with it. Why? Again, because God ain’t about hate!
I would like to suggest you visit the Gay Christians Network site at http://www.gaychristian.net/ and read up on what they have to say about talking to your family about being gay.
As for being furry—well, I would say it is more important to talk to them about being gay first, rather than tackling both things at once. I’ve talked about this issue many times on my website. You can also have the family watch a couple movies that are out there: Fursonas is a 90-minute documentary directed by Dominic Rodriguez, and Furry is a half-hour documentary by Eric Risher. Of the two, I rather prefer the shorter Furry because it takes less time to watch and doesn’t try too hard to convince people.
The bottom line is this: you can quote Bible verses and show people movies and give them all kinds of empirical evidence to support your case, but chances are you will not convince them because people don’t like their beliefs to be challenged or, worse, threatened, and they certainly don’t want to hear arguments from someone who is “only” 17 because parents and other elders “know better.”
My advice? Don’t try. A day will come very soon for you when you will be able to lead your own independent life the way you want to live it, and if that means that some—or even all—of your family will reject you, then so be it. Who wants family like that anyway? I want family who accepts me for who I am, don’t you? In the meantime, you are, likely, dependent on them, so lay low, don’t push your identity in their faces, and ride it out until you are free.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.