by Dan Savage
on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM
A straight Catholic man met tons of screwed up gay priests and seminarians when he trained to be a priest—messy, self-hating gay men who confirmed the prejudices he held about gay people—reflects on the life experiences that helped him get over his homophobia:
Then, things changed for me. Well, two things changed actually. First, I started to meet happy gay people. They were happy to be gay, happy to be in relationships, happy with their lives. That made a powerful impression on me, and made me realize that there were possibilities other than the often tortured gay men I met in the context of the Catholic priesthood. You could be gay and be normal. And if you can be gay and be normal, why shouldn't they be allowed to be normal in society? And even in the church?
The other thing that happened was a simple thought experiment. In retrospect, it is insane that this didn't occur to me earlier, but it didn't until about a year ago. The thought experiment is a simple one: I have a son or daughter who comes to me and tells me that they are gay. Am I really willing to give the approved speech that I love them but hate the sin of being gay? Am I really willing to tell them that I expect them to be alone for the rest of their lives without a partner? It was unambiguously clear to me from the moment I thought about it that I would never be willing to give that speech to my children. Instead, I would love them as they are and want them to be happy. But, if I knew I couldn't give the speech to my children, why was I willing to give that speech to other people's children?