I am so grateful for such a wonderful forum where I am surrounded by those who also believe that all people have the right of being protected from religious, political, and social persecution. It has been a long time coming, but I am so glad that its here...I hope all who have suffered from the ignorance of others will find this place, as I have.
Being from the deep south, ignorance, intolerance, and religious persecution and oppression is almost an everyday fact of life. In the very rural parts of the south, it is highly dangerous to be openly glbt. There have been cases in the past where houses have been burned, beloved pets being killed, and other acts of violence made towards anyone who the local hate groups consider "sinful", "unnatural", and "against god". Where I live there are still antebellum era hate groups marching the streets, waving their banners, and spewing hatred in the name of GOD. These displays of hatred cause many local glbt to hide who they are and live a lifetime full of shame and fear. Local churches hold rallies where they spew forth more hatred and shame by declaring that "all homosexuals and perverts" are an abomination and should be driven from the "flock". I have heard these sermons, as I believe most of us have, all my life. It left me feeling alone, depressed, and on occassion suicidal, but I read Stranger at the Gate...and for the first time I heard that God loved me, I was not an abomination, and I was not something to be feared or loathed. I think this book saved my spiritual life and physical one because I had the knowlegde that I was not alone and God had never really left me, and I could still have faith and be a lesbian at the same time. I did not have to make a choice anymore...Stranger at the Gate had finally lifted that veil of shame from my face and wiped the tears of utter depression from my eyes. With those of us who join to try to change the tyranny of religious oppression this forum is just another tool to help bring Light to those who live in the darkness of shame fear and oppression.[/FONT]