My best friend is gay

(TW: self-harm and suicide)

I write this letter in response to Phil who wrote a comment on an op-ed saying “People are killing themselves over this kind of direct spiritual shaming, Alaina. Did you know that? Have you ever actually talked to a queer person? Or are they too disgusting to you?” 

Phil, I did know this, and it saddens me deeply. When I was in high school, I believed that love was love. At Calvin, I really started to dive into the issue, and discovered that I could not believe it. I’m not going into the theology of it (because frankly we have all heard it), but I realized that one-man one-woman marriage was the only way I saw God endorsing marriage throughout the Bible. 

But Phil, I write to your point: do I know a queer person? Yes, my best friend of 3 years who attends Calvin with me is openly lesbian. She came to Calvin identifying as straight and wrestled with her sexuality all throughout her freshman fall before identifying as lesbian in December. She asked me to read a series of pro-LGBTQ books such as Torn. I read them. None of them changed my mind. I never forced her to have a conversation. I always told her that I loved her as a friend, and she was amazing the way she was. I answered honestly when she asked me what I thought, but when we talked, I tried to end each conversation by praying “God, please let Maria* feel your love. Please let her feel surrounded by people, so that she knows she is not alone.” Then we always told each other: your friends love you; God loves you; you need to love you. 

Phil, I went to Pine Rest with Maria two times over my three years at Calvin. I helped stop the bleeding on the cuts. I cleaned up the broken glass. I made the call to Pine Rest and to her mother. I paid for Ubers to and from the hospital. I dropped everything for midnight phone calls and supported her during her darkest hours. I was with Maria from day one, and through one year, 3 months and 29 days, I am with her as she remains self-harm free. 

See Phil, those of us who believe in one-man one-woman marriage still love you. Because that is what we are called to do. I don’t care that you hate my theological views. But do not EVER say that we don’t talk to queer people. You don’t know our lives, just like we shouldn’t assume to know yours.

*I have changed her name to honor her privacy. I have shared this story with her permission.

This story has been updated to include a trigger warning.