A Letter to a Homophobic Ex, by Andi Ybarra
Hi, it’s me. The girl you almost married. The one you tried to control within an inch of her life so my life could bend to fit yours. It was manipulative ‘you ask too much of me’ email after email for 2 whole years when I asked for basic human respect.
After you got home you requested we take a break, knowing I’d stay. How couldn’t you have known? I stayed through 2 years of bad emailing, you knew I’d be a patient, loyal, subservient woman during a break for however long you wanted. But that break broke me.
I questioned it all, I questioned my ability to receive revelation for myself. I questioned my ability to sit through church on Sunday. I questioned my ability to even have faith.
There were a few things I did know though, the first being that I am Pansexual. I spent so much time consumed with this secret side of me that I knew I couldn’t keep it under wraps for very much longer. I wanted to live as myself in the church home I found for myself.
I also knew that coming out would be scary.
After 3 months ‘on a break’ (do you think you are Ross Geller?), we reconvened at my parents house for a date. During that date you planned my finances for me. A budget so I could move closer to you and you could control me more. After I drove you home that night, I sat in the car tears streaming down my face as I came out to you.
You simply smiled and said it was okay.
And that was that. We ended up going our separate ways in an amicable breakup, a 10 minute phone call, and it was over. I felt free for the first time in a long time.
And for the first time since our break, I felt good around someone else. That someone else, my current partner, Trevor. Trevor is everything you were not. He pays attention to me and I feel important to him, which I never felt to you.
Fast forward several months to Pride. I was happy, I was out, and living my best life at the parade through the streets of Portland. I posted a picture of me with my sign that read, “Hug a Disfellowshipped Queer Mormon”, with a caption pleading for the church to start reflecting the unconditional Christlike love I knew it was capable of.
And, my nice nod from you in December turned into a homophobic and hatefilled comment. I rolled over the words in my mind, wondering how you could change from accepting to rude.
Your words kept playing in my mind, fantastical quotes such as,
“We should accept and love everyone, but there is a difference between that and condoning choices. We all make choices in our lives and those choices have consequences - whether good or bad.”
“As for why the Bishop didn’t suggest you marry Travis, you should know and understand. None of this is to say we shouldn’t love and respect you or anyone else, but it doesn’t mean that the church or it’s members should condone or support behavior denounce by God, even if that makes someone uncomfortable.”
“I have been silent for some time because I believe people can make their own choices, but I felt the need to defend the Lord’s church. I apologize if I have offended anyone, but this is how I feel.”
How you feel caused me to have nightmares for months. How you feel didn’t represent what I have come to learn about my God. How you feel was communicated condescendingly and rudely.
But mostly what hurt was the implication that I was loved less by God for being purely, 100%, myself.
The way I saw it, was that God the Father and God the Mother created me this way, and if I wasn’t living this way it would hurt them that I wasn’t living to my expectations.
But you spoke so condescendingly that I knew you felt like you had it right, and would trample over me to prove it in whatever way you could. Then came the nightmares, I would stay awake every night until exhaustion 5 to avoid them. I couldn’t work. I could barely function because of lack of sleep. I lost my job.
I had lots of time to think about it, a lot of nights spent awake, a lot of days spent crying and here is what I’ve determined.
We don’t have the same God.
My God is loving and that love is unconditional. Unconditionally loving each and every child for who they are. They are the Godly Parents of each of us. They are authors of diversity, they want us to be ourselves.
I know they love my love for my trans man. They are happy I am in love with someone who loves and respects me. They are happy I fall asleep next to him, that I feel safe and warm each morning groggily rolling over to kiss him good morning.
I am unfamiliar with your God. But between you and me, I am grateful for that. I don’t fit into his neat white boxes.
I will forever be grateful I am not a servant to your idol of straight, cis, manhood, who gives his love based on conditions I can’t meet.