There was a time when the opinions of others mattered to me, when I would run away from a group of "thugged" out boys from fear of being clocked as gay and enduring their homophobic insults.
There was a time when my mother's acceptance of my "lifestyle" meant everything to me and getting through a sermon at church without having my soul damned to hell was an instant gift from God that didn't require fasting or excessive prayer.
I'm not sure if there was an event that occured in my life that changed my thinking about being a Black gay man, but one day I just decided not to give a damn ! In life we all have choices, sexual orientation not being one of them, I decided to choose life and living to me was learning how to be honest with myself and walking in truth.
Was it easy? Hell No ! Did I try to pray my way through it? I had no choice I was in Alabama and church didn't end for me and my family after the benediction on Sundays.
So often we expect for others to accept us when we have yet to fully accept ourselves. In a world where our existence as gay and lesbian people is reduced to the like of murderers, prostitutes, and child molesters, if you don't know your worth then it's easy to accept the labels that are projected onto you.
It's becoming painfully obvious the more visibility we gain as same gender loving people the more we open ourselves up to attacks not only physically but spiritually and emotionally as well.
I believe it takes a brave individual to be who God designed them to be contrary to popular opinion. Is it always going to be easy? No. Will loved ones hurt and disown you? Possibly. Will people judge you before they even take the step to get to know you? Most likely. But what will you tell yourself when you look in the mirror and that beautiful black, white, or brown gay reflection is looking back at you?
In the words of Dr. Seuss, "those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter".