Churchgirlgonegay’s Blog











This week has been a heavy week after the Orlando massacre. It’s been also interesting to watch the reactions on FB, especially amongst my straight Christian friends. Many came out as allies. Many voiced their condolences and sadness (but not necessarily support for the LGBTQI community). A number were silent. And a few put up something like this Duck Dynasty guy.

duckdynasty

This statement from the “wise and respectable” Duck Dynasty guy is a huge oversimplification in regards to the LGBTQI community. I’m assuming this was meant in response to Orlando since it was posted shortly after and this person did not say anything else about the massacre. However oversimplified Mr. Duck Dynasty’s statement is, I want to address the idea of loving someone and being compassionate towards them but not agreeing with their lifestyle (1st of all, don’t call it that. Going forward, I will be calling it “their life,” as that is what the meaning intended but without all the baggage and stereotypes/generalization). When you tell someone that you love them but think that they are going to hell because of their life and who they are as a person, let me tell ya, that person will feel absolutely no love from you.

Let’s take this hypothetical example. Let’s say you are a mom of an adopted child. You’ve tried to no avail to have your own kids for yrs. Those years were full of heartache, disappointment, and frustration. But you knew in your heart that you were made to be a mother. Then, finally, you were able to adopt a beautiful baby boy – your calling and desire to be a mother felt fulfilled and gave you even more joy than imaginable.

In your joy of discovering a deeper identity as a mother, I tell you that I don’t believe that adoption is right. I tell you that raising someone else’s child is a sin and unnatural. I tell you that because you cannot have children of your own, that you are not meant to be a mother and, in fact, you don’t deserve to be a mother. Then I tell you that because you’ve adopted your son, that your being a mother is a sin because it isn’t natural and that you must get rid of your son if you want to go to heaven. But then, I tell you I love you and I’m telling you these things because I have compassion for your soul and don’t want you to go to hell.

Do you feel loved by me? Can you feel my compassion for you? Or do you think I’m just being an asshole who doesn’t know what she’s talking about because I didn’t bother to ask YOU about your experience and identity as a mother? Probably the latter.

In the same way, the LGBTQI community struggle when coming out. They face heartache, despair, and frustration when sorting out their sexual identity. Then, when they are able to understand, accept, and thrive in their sexual identity – part of the core of their whole identity – you tell them that they will go to hell and do not deserve a full, intimate relationship with God (and some will say they don’t deserve to even live). But then you tell them you love them and that you are just being compassionate because you don’t want them to go to hell. They will not feel loved because that is not love. That is not compassion. That is bigotry and hate.

If you don’t “agree” with the LGBTQI community, it is most likely that you do not understand them. So how can you show that you actually love people you don’t understand?  Talk to them. Ask about their experiences. It doesn’t mean you have to lose faith. It doesn’t mean that you have to attend a Pride parade and wave a rainbow flag. It just means that you sit down and LISTEN. Hear their stories – because they are heartbreaking. Wipe their tears – because there are many. See their hearts – because they are lovely.

 

Advertisements


Back on June 1, 2013, I gave my testimony at our amazing church in NYC: Church of the Village.  It was a pride testimony for pride month but also an Asian American testimony for Asian American month in May.  I have been wanting to put up my testimony on my blog.  If anything, it’s a good summary of what has happened in the past and if you want to go into more detail, you can read my older posts.

My Pride/Asian American testimony from June 1, 2013:

I grew up in the Bay Area and am an only child of two pastors.  My dad is the senior pastors of one of the largest Chinese churches in the Bay Area and my mom was a therapist.  When I was 15, my mom stopped working as a therapist and began working full time with my dad, partnering with him in ministry.  They run the church and its 7 congregations as well as an orphanage and school in China for special needs kids and they also teach inner healing and deliverance conferences internationally.

Growing up, I was the perfect Asian kid.  I got straight A’s (although to be fair, I had a B+ once in freshman yr French and was devastated).  I took classical piano lessons from age 5 to 17 and participated in countless recitals, certificates of merit, and other performances.  I was on the varsity basketball team.  I had a part time job.  I was involved with every other club in my high school and even started the first Asian club at my predominantly white high school.  Most importantly, I was on leadership at our church’s youth group from 7th grade until high school graduation.  I did all these things because I wanted to.  I never felt pressured to do them.  I was always motivated to do my best.  I knew that parents at our church would tell their kids to be like me.  I was a source of pride for my parents (and other parents at the church). I was never a cause for concern or worry for anyone, let alone my parents.

It wasn’t until I was 28 that I began to disappoint and shame my parents.  At 28, I first came out to my parents.  I say “first” because it didn’t take initially.  They shoved me back into the closet and said that if I didn’t pray and repent at that moment, then dad would have to resign from the church and they would sell the house in CA and move to NY to help me not be gay.

I’ve never disappointed my parents before.  And now, as a full-fledged, financially independent adult, I experienced what it was like to be the bad Asian kid – the bad Asian PK, no less!  I didn’t realize how much it would hurt to feel guilt and shame from my parents.  I heard a lot of painful things from my parents in their desperation to save my soul from eternal damnation.  Things like: “If Jesus comes back tomorrow, you’re going to hell.” Or “You’re committing suicide because if you get sick, God won’t heal you and you will die.”  And also, “Mom got ovarian cancer because of you.  Gay people all get cancer as punishment from God and mom took the bullet for you.”  Even though these things were hard to hear, they were not the most painful thing I heard from them.  The most painful by far was when my dad emailed me about my domestic partnership to my now wife.  He wrote, “Your greatest pride is my deepest shame;” me, the perfect Asian kid, causing my parents deep shame.  It was such a foreign concept to me because I had always brought them pride (and joy).  The worst thing for an Asian kid to do is to bring shame to his or her family.

Through the support of my friends and family and ironically, through my parents’ upbringing in teaching me to be a strong, independent woman, I have been able to look past the guilt and shame my parents projected onto me.  I have been able to see that I am a child of God who is also gay.  And I am loved by God and my community.

3 weeks ago, I married my wife and it was the best wedding I had ever been to!  Our guests told me that as well, but I think they’re just being nice!  My mother’s brother and his wife and my dad’s sister were the only aunts and uncles of mine to come.  My parents have a total of 13 siblings.  After the wedding, my cousin told me that my mom’s brother said to my dad’s sister: “Well, we’ve done it now!  We’ll be ostracized from the family for coming to this wedding!”  My dad’s sister responded simply, “It was worth it!”  Sticking to my guns and standing my ground against my parents’ pressure to be the perfect (heterosexual) Asian PK has not been easy, nor will it get any easier any time soon.  But I know, in my heart, that it will all be worth it.



This past weekend I attended the Gay Christian Network Conference for the first time.  This was their 11th yr doing this.  I wish I knew about it sooner but I’m grateful to have learned about it in time to attend this year.  There were about 1500 attendees, their biggest conference yet (but I’m positive that record won’t hold very long – Jesus is here and more and more ppl will hear about it).  As I’m sitting on a plane leaving PDX, I’m full of different emotions as I process this weekend (like a good lesbian).  There are two main things I’m taking with me from GCN Conference 2015.  The first thing I’m taking with me is healing.

The moment I stepped onto the Oregon Convention Center grounds where GCN Conference took place, I immediately felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I was so quickly overwhelmed by the spirit of healing in the place that my eyes already started brimming with tears (and would basically stay that way the entire weekend – crying came VERY easily).  What struck me was not just that I would be receiving healing, but that 1500 other people would also be receiving healing as well.  I always knew I wasn’t alone as a gay person hurt by the church.  But this was the first time I was in a place where we were all gathered together to receive healing together.  And it was powerful.  When Pastor Danny Cortez, representing other pastors and the Church as well as other parents, apologized for the hurt he and the Church has caused, you could hear tears flowing and feel burdens lifting and hearts restoring.  A few hours later at the “Ex-Gay Ministry: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” workshop (side note: I went to the workshop to find out what the “good” was, considering I already knew what the bad and the ugly were.  The “good” is that Ex-Gay Ministry opened the door to dialogue and conversation about homosexuality in the Church whereas before it was a taboo topic that was hidden and secreted away), one of the attendees remarked that hearing Pastor Danny apologize was what he had been waiting to hear for a long time.

As most of us at the conference are LGBTQ folks who were raised Christian and identify as Christians with a relationship with Jesus, many of us have a shared experience of having our faith, relationship with Jesus, or connection with our faith community stripped from us when we came out.  Never once when I came out did I think that I had to sever my relationship with Jesus b/c I’m gay.  My parents, other people, and Church institutions told me that I had to.  Many of us were told that we didn’t deserve to have a relationship with Christ.  They ripped from us a piece of our hearts that we had for Christ and the Church.  When Pastor Danny spoke the words of apology, God used his words to begin to fill our hearts again.  I didn’t realize that I had this large of a hole in my heart until God began filling it again this weekend.  I realize now that I had been trying to fill that space that was ripped out with other things – distraction, anger, bitterness.  Most likely, many of my fellow gay brothers and sisters were experiencing the same thing this weekend.  After Pastor Danny spoke, a group of parents went to the front to be available for hugs for those whose parents weren’t ready to embrace them and their whole selves.  This, also, was extremely powerful and healing for those of us (many of us) who have been rejected by our parents and find ourselves orphaned and in need of love and support.

In addition to his apology, Pastor Danny spoke about grace.  This is the second thing that I took from this conference.  Prior to this weekend, I always thought of grace as something being extended to me – especially as an LGBT person.  I would pray that my parents would extend grace to me and hopefully one day accept me.  However, Pastor Danny didn’t speak about grace in that context.  He spoke about extending grace to those in the body of Christ that have not accepted us yet.  Even though the Church has rejected us, they are still part of the Body of Christ – the same Body that we are a part of.  We shouldn’t reject those who reject us but we should extend grace to them, even if they have not extended grace to us.  It’s a powerful thought.  It’s a powerful statement.

As I leave the conference and head back home, I’m reminded of how I felt after leaving my youth church retreats.  There’s a sense of dread in returning to reality and leaving the mountain.  But there’s also a sense of renewal and of purpose.  After this weekend, I’m emotionally exhausted but I am spiritually reenergized.  I leave the GCN Conference and continue on my path of healing and calling.  I will definitely return to GCN Conference next year.  And I encourage others (gay or straight allies) to attend as well.



{April 4, 2013}   Accidental Activist

Mawwige.  Mawwige is what bwings us togever today.  Or, it’s what brings us apart.  It seems like marriage has been a hot topic in the country lately with SCOTUS hearing arguments regarding Prop 8 and DOMA.  It has also been a hot topic in my house as my fiancée and I will be getting married in a little over a month.  In the midst of the excitement and joy in wedding planing and having our loved ones come together to celebrate with us, there is a small dark cloud in the back of my mind knowing that this marriage is what is bringing my parents and me apart.  For those unfamiliar with my story, please see here. When I initially told my mom on the phone that I am marrying M (and we had put money down for a deposit on a venue – money = serious!), she immediately told me that I do NOT have her permission to marry M and that I must “promise mommy” (her words) to not do this.  After that conversation I was scared to even send an invitation, but I wanted to at least extend the invitation because you just never know.  I received the below response from my dad a week later:

Dearest daughter,

This is with the heaviest of heart that I write this to you. We are not going to be at the wedding because it is an abomination to the Lord. You are declaring war to God and we are very concerned with your state of being and well being. I don’t understand why the happiest day of your life could become the saddest moment of our married life.

According to Leviticus 30:3-5, I hereby annul all your vows to M in May. You have brought the greatest shame on us as parents and we cannot be proud of what you do as you go against God’s heart. Please repent and return, we are here for you always. We are always your parents and nothing you do can erase the fact. God’s heart grieves for you, please go back to His bosom and let Him meet all your needs.

Love you very much,

Dad, with Mom

Coincidentally, the day before I received this email from my dad, I had the honor and privilege of going to a memorial service for Jeanne Mamford, founder of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) at Church of the Village (COTV).  PFLAG held its first meeting at COTV (back then known as Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church), where M and I attend church every Sunday.  I have to admit I didn’t know anything about Jeanne Manford before this memorial service.  I was struck to learn how Mrs. Manford started PFLAG when she marched in the 1972 NYC Pride March alongside her gay son, Morty.  She simply carried a sign that read “Parents of Gays unite in support for our children.”  She didn’t have a huge group with her.  She didn’t organize a bunch of parents.  It was just her publically loving and supporting her son.  As she marched, gays and lesbians ran up to her for hugs and begged her to speak with their parents.  Her simple act of love and support all of a sudden became revolutionary.  I was inspired to hear Jeanne Manford’s story of how she didn’t just stop there but continued to build one of the largest and most important LGBT support groups.  PFLAG has been instrumental in educating and supporting parents of LGBT children and in helping to change society’s acceptance and affirmation of the LGBT community. 

I am starting to realize that it doesn’t take much to be revolutionary, but that a simple act of revolutionary love and support can bring a tremendous amount of healing for others.  When SCOTUS heard arguments regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, Facebook and social media glowed a bright gay of red as people who stood on the side of marriage equality changed their profile picture to a red HRC equals sign to show their support.  I somewhat expected most of my gay friends to change their profile pictures.  I was blown away by how many of my straight friends changed their profile pictures.  Out of my 1200~ Facebook friends, about 120 friends changed their pictures.  A little over half of those friends are straight – over half!  I was riding a bus home when I saw the first of my straight friends change his profile picture.  My heart beat a little faster and a tear started to form in my eye.  By the time I arrived home at least 20 of my straight friends had changed their picture and I was a complete mess.  Clearly, SCOTUS does not see us change our Facebook profile picture.  What you do on Facebook won’t have much weight on the decision SCOTUS makes.  However, it meant the world to me to know that my friends and family stand with me.  Their simple act of love and support became revolutionary. 

Straight allies have always been very important to me, especially as I have struggled with my parents.  But it wasn’t until I saw Facebook light up red that I realized how important they are to my healing from the harsh words I have heard from my parents.  Knowing that my friends and family stand with me (either through their profile pic or through personal messages) brings healing to my life and makes me all the more stronger.  It also shrinks the dark cloud in the back of my mind more and more.  So thank you, straight allies and beloved friends and family, for your simple acts of love and support that has made you all revolutionists. 



{July 26, 2012}   a mother’s response

my parents received my letter yesterday evening (EST) (the letter: is in my previous post) and my mom called me right as i sat down to eat dinner.  i’m not sure how long after reading the letter it was that she called but my guess is that it was within the hour.  

she started off the call with asking for forgiveness for hurting me.  she didn’t realize that they had been hurting me so deeply.  she then asked for us to have a mutual respect for each other’s convictions.  i read that as “agreeing to disagree.”  she said she would respect my convictions and would not try and change me (and, in turn, i would not try and change them).  this is definitely a step forward for us.  i think my mom wanted to go this route because she saw that staying on the same course would ruin whatever strained relationship we had left.  i give my mom a lot of credit for going in this direction.  it isn’t her considering to reconsider, but at least it’s her stopping her present behaviour.  

she made references to some things in the letter that seemed to irk her (ie. that she didn’t really have friends or peers anymore and that dad lied to me about his reasons for leaving the church) but she didn’t seem to want to get into those things too deeply.  at this point, i think she just doesn’t want to cause more waves.  i suppose we really are chinese, through and through.  

an interesting thing happened at the end of our conversation.  she told me i should call dad and talk with him.  i was surprised she said that because i had assumed he was right next to her.  when i asked if he was elsewhere, she said, “oh, he’s somewhere in the house.”  mind you, we don’t live in a mansion…it’s not like he was so far that a simple yell wouldn’t have brought him to wherever she was.  that’s when i realized that i was only talking to my mom – i wasn’t talking to my parents.  one great thing i’ve learned from my relationship with my partner is that we are individuals that make a great couple, but in the end, we are still individuals.  i am starting to really see that with my parents.  when i think back to my interactions with my parents in the past few years, my parents can say very different things when they are not together.  i’m starting to see that my mom may be a bit more open than my dad – not to villianize my dad, though.  he has his own process.  plus, my mom processes outloud and my dad is much more of an introvert.  who knows what he’s thinking. 

i told my mom that i would wait for dad to call/contact me.  i was the one who wrote the letter.  the ball is in his court.  hopefully, my next post will be “a father’s response.”  and hopefully it will be a step forward, rather than a painful step backwards. 



it’s been ages since my last post.  i think ever post begins with that, but i think this is the largest stretch.  i wanted to share a letter i wrote to my parents.  i am praying that they will actualy read and absorb what i’ve written.  since i came out the 2nd time in the summer of 2010, i feel like i have been holding back from saying what i’ve been thinking and saying.  now, however, i feel like it’s time to start talking about how i feel.  

 *************

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’ve been wanting to write to the both of you for a while now.  Please forgive me for not doing this sooner.  I know you do not appreciate my lack of response to your emails and I apologize for that and do not mean to do that to hurt you in any way.  I seem to have a hard time finding the right words to say to you to communicate how I feel and how I’ve been hurt these past few months.  I, in no way, want to accuse you or blame you or hurt you.  I understand that communicating to you through this medium may not be the best (the best being in person, or at the very least, on the phone) as tone and intention can easily be misinterpreted. 

I suppose I can start by responding to dad’s email he sent on April 12th regarding his announcement of retirement/resignation when he said that “this is the worst thing to happen to our family and our church.”  It was very hurtful for me to read that.  In your email, dad, you had said that you were planning on stepping down from church – contingent on what I was planning on doing about my relationship with M.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounded like if I were to stay with M that you would resign from the church.  That felt like you were blaming me for leaving the church.  However a few weeks later, mom called me to tell me that you were not resigning, per se, but you were announcing your retirement, which is a completely different connotation.  And, in fact, mom said you were doing so to set a precedent for other pastors to retire from  the Church at age 65 as well.  After your announcement, mom also told me that you had, in fact, “promoted” yourself to “founding pastor.” I’m assuming you made no mention of my situation (“the worst thing to happen to our family and our church”).  I’m not sure if you are aware of how this sounds from my position.

From my position, it sounded like you were saying two completely different things.  To me, there was blame and guilt – indicating that because I have partnered myself with M, you were forced to resign from the church in shame.  However, to the church, there was a celebration of your departure, and, in turn, growth for the Church as it stepped into a new phase in its life (which, I believe your leaving should be anyway).  Those are very contrasting reasons for leaving the church.  Dad, you made no mention to me about the latter reason that you told the church.  It comes off to me that you’re lying to either me or to the church.  Had I written back to you immediately, I would have told you that I have no intention on leaving my relationship with M and that I would hope that you will be honest with  the Church and tell them exactly the reason why you are leaving the church (which at that time, was b/c of my relationship).  It was hurtful for me to feel the blame and guilt you directed towards me.  It was even more hurtful to find out that you were telling the church something else entirely.

Mom had said that you did want to distance yourself from  the Church b/c of me.  What I don’t understand is how you would only want to distance yourself from  the Church but not your other ministries – specifically the ones that pray against homosexuality.  Wouldn’t you want to distance yourself the most from those ministries when your own daughter is gay herself?  It just seemed inconsistent to me to blame me for leaving  the Church, yet you would continue in anti-gay ministry. 

You have always taught me that God neither blames nor uses guilt with those He loves, yet I find that your emails have been full of both.  In your second email, dad, you said: Your greatest pride is my deepest shame!  I’m not even sure why you said that.  It was beyond hurtful.  I thank God for the supportive church that I have found here.  God confirmed to me that this church is where I am supposed to be at this point in my life because the Sunday following those hurtful words was a healing service (they have one once a month) where everyone can receive healing prayer.  It was timely and provided some healing for me. 

So what do your words mean, dad?  “Your greatest pride is my deepest shame.”  Does that mean that all the happiness and joy I will find in my life will bring shame to you?  I reject that.  You and mom have always taught that words can be used as curses.  I have found that I have had to reject many curses you have placed on me.  I understand that a lot of your reactions have been based out of love and desperation because you truly believe I am damning myself to hell.  But, telling me that I am committing suicide?  That is a curse that I reject.  Telling me that God will not heal me when I am sick?  That is a curse that I reject.  Telling me that mom had cancer because of me?  That is a curse that I reject.  Telling me that I am going to hell?  That is a curse I reject.  Telling me that I will not be able to find a permanent job?  That is a curse I reject.  Telling me that the only reason why God protects me is because you pray for me?  That is a curse that I reject.  God will always protect me – I am My beloved and He is mine.  There will be nothing that will change that!

It has been very difficult for me to talk with you guys since summer 2010.  It seems that whenever I do you hurt me (and I hurt you in some way as well).  Mom, the last time we spoke on the phone I felt distance from you.  I have become aware that I need to protect myself from the hurtful things that you both have said to me.  I suppose it’s a self-defense mechanism at this point.  Please don’t mistake whatever coldness you may feel from me as me not loving you.  I love you two very much. 

I feel like you make no efforts in seeing where I am coming from.  I understand that I am your daughter – but I am your GROWN daughter.  At this point in your life, you were already married, had me, and started  the Church.  It seems to me that you two have come to a place where you are no longer surrounded by peers or mentors.  I may totally be wrong in this, but over the decades I have noticed that you have less friends and more church people in your lives.  Have you even told your siblings about me?  That is a hypothetical question because I know you haven’t.  I know because I have talked to them and to my cousins about my journey and our journey together.  Mom, when I was growing up I remembered you having friends outside of church – fun white lady friends that I never hear about anymore.  When was the last time you spent time with someone outside of church or with someone not involved with ministry?  Over the years it seems like you both have slowly surrounded yourselves with people who follow you and listen to everything you say.  I’ve worked with you in ministry – everyone, for the most part, is scared to say anything contrary to you.  And when they do, you ostracize them or demonize them (actually that is probably the same thing).  Please do not get me wrong – I am proud of what you have done with  the Church, your healing ministries, and especially with LSV.  I am always happy to tell people what my parents do and tell them with great pride. 

However it seems that you have come to a place where you do not accept any other viewpoints other than your own.  I am not sure why I first came out to you when I was 28 when we were in Miami.  I don’t know why I thought you would act differently.  Perhaps I was hoping that you would explore things with me.  Along with this letter, I’ve enclosed a DVD of the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So.”  I would ask that you at least watch this DVD for me – at least once.  I am grateful every day for how you have raised me to be a strong, independent, vocal woman of God who thinks for herself.  If it were not for this, my story might very well have ended up like Anna, whose mother is Mary Ann Wallner.  I would ask that you at least watch this DVD and not throw it away like you did with the books I asked you to read so we could discuss. 

Mom, you said that you wanted to only hear about certain parts of my life – work and my health.  But that you did not want to hear about M or any of “that” part of my life.  We are soon coming to a crossroads where this will no longer be acceptable for me.  just like you cannot pick and choose in the Bible, you cannot pick and choose parts of me.  As painful as it is for you to hear, M and I are domestic partners and we have plans to get married next year.  She is an amazing child of God who has shown me unconditional love and support.  I am truly blessed to be a part of her life.  We plan on having children together soon and I would want you to be a part of our lives.  However, that won’t be possible if you do not come to accept M.  Mom, you said that the house in Los Gatos is also my home, but I do not feel that to be the case any longer.  You told me specifically that M is not welcome to the house.  If she is not welcome, then neither am I.  We will be staying with my friend when we come for my cousin’s wedding.  Even if I come home without M, I do not plan on staying at the house. 

I want you to understand that this is very hard for me to do.  I want you to be a part of my life – my WHOLE life.  But this does not seem acceptable to you right now so I don’t see how this is possible.  I will be quickly approaching some large life events (marriage, children) and I would want you to be a part of those things as well.  It saddens my heart knowing that those life events will only bring shame to you.  I hope you will reconsider, or, at the very least, consider to reconsider.

I love you both with my whole heart.



{October 28, 2010}   “It gets better”…I hope

I’ve been putting off this update for several reasons. A lot has been going on for the past 5 months, but mainly I’ve just been processing what has happened. I had another talk with both my parents after the talk I had with my mom that I wrote about in my last post. I knew that if I were to blog about this second, more intense talk, I would have cast my parents in a very negative light – and that’s not the point of this blog.

The first talk with my mom, even though difficult in subject matter, was at least calmly delivered and received. This second talk with both my parents was filled with tears, yelling, and desperation – primarily on my parents’ part. To sum up, these were the main points they made to me (in bullet point form b/c, if I had my way, I would write everything in bullet points):

-I am committing suicide b/c I’m on a path of destruction, on which if I continue, I will be out of God’s favor and die (ie. if I get sick, God won’t heal me). And if I die (or if Jesus comes back tomorrow), I will go to Hell b/c I’m one of the “unrighteous” and have lost my salvation (this is where they brought up specific Scripture). Additionally, I have had a “hard” life b/c I’ve “chosen” to be gay and this is why I’ve been laid off twice (b/c the economy has NOTHING to do with it and only sinners get laid off).

-My mom claimed she bore the brunt of my “punishment” by getting cancer, which apparently was meant for me. She also believes that the ovarian cancer was symbolic b/c it was the Enemy attacking their “seed” – meaning me.

– I have a demon in me and have grown calloused and have a hard heart. They stated that I have a different Gospel than them and a different God. But then they said that I’m making myself God (most likely meaning that I’m making my own rules).

– All homosexuals are narcissists (which I kind of laughed at b/c I believe EVERYONE is a narcissist). So, being a narcissistic homosexual, I am selfish. I don’t care about them. I put them on my lowest priority. I use them. They are disappointed in me. I hurt them like no one else has been able to hurt them. I have destroyed them.

They said a lot of hurtful things – which they emphasized was because they love me. Love was not quite what I felt when my mom stared at me with crazy eyes repeatedly demanding that I get on my knees and repent and to “BEG FOR MERCY!” Of course, I understand that she was desperate b/c they really believe that I am heading towards the fiery pits of Hell. However, I think the most hurtful thing was the last bullet point. It hurts me deeply to think that my parents don’t see that I love them and care for them above anyone else. I moved back to CA specifically for them and to share my life with them. After this talk, however, it was plain to me that staying with them was not an option.

When I informed them that I will move back to NY, they said if it was to be with my new girlfriend (whom they were aware of) then dad would resign from the church, they would sell the house, and they would move to NY. Sound familiar? The only way they would bless my return to NY was if I got a job there. Needless to say, I was online until 7:30 am looking for NY jobs.

The entire experience was emotionally draining and physically taxing. I had great anxiety and had trouble breathing at times. Had it not been for my friends, family (I was able to come out to more of my extended family and was blessed with their support), and my girlfriend at the time things would have been VERY bleak for me. They refueled and recharged me and loved me for who I am.

So now I’m out. There’s no confusion or vagueness. My parents know without a doubt that I am gay (and will stay that way – couldn’t resist a rhyme). As I mentioned before I came out to some extended family. I told a few more cousins and I told my uncle (who’s a blabber mouth and did me a favor and told the entire side of my mom’s family for me – but I love him for it). I still want to be sensitive to my parents and be careful with who at their church knows but in general, I am out and PROUD. Tim Gunn told me it gets better. I want to believe him.

However, the following months after that conversation have been difficult. I moved back to NY and felt like I didn’t really have a home to go back to anymore. My new love didn’t work out. Specifics of which I will not give. I took a risk. I loved and lost. But I wouldn’t change anything and I will always be grateful for whatever time that I did have with an amazing woman. It was a rough time and I got very depressed. But a hard couple of weeks/months is still just that – a couple of weeks/months. Out of the darkness, there is light – there is hope. I will pick myself up and focus on my rebirth – new job, new apartment, new goals. Will my parents come around? That’s not up to me and I can’t make that my life mission. But there is hope – that it gets better.



It’s been almost a year since my last post. Within that year, I’ve broken up with my girlfriend and moved back to the SF Bay Area only to meet my new and greatest love days before I left NYC. I summed up a whole crapload of drama in one sentence. But what I want to share about is the reason why I moved home (and thereby putting an entire country between myself and a burgeoning relationship). After 5 years in NYC, I felt like it was time to focus my energy on my parents. I’ve already talked about the first time I came out to my parents (3 yrs ago). It didn’t go so well. But I’ve also grown since then and am confident in who I am and where I want to be. I didn’t want to live in the closet anymore with my parents. All my close friends and some of my family knew about who I really am. I wanted my parents to be on the same page as well. So I packed up a truck and left my life in NYC to go back to SF and make it my home again.

After taking about a month to settle in, I knew it was time to have the talk with my parents again. I wanted to start with my mom. I caught her in a good moment – the cleaning ladies had just cleaned the house, my mom had just eaten lunch and taken a nap and dad was still asleep. She was sitting on the couch about to read and i came up to her. I said I wanted to talk and put my head in her lap and laid down next to her. I was pretty nervous about just bringing it up. She said I could talk about anything with her. So in short, I told her that I see myself with a woman, not a man. I spoke to her in a way that I was informing her – this wasn’t a debatable topic. What I really wanted to know was if I would be able to talk to her and dad about my life as a gay woman or if we would be like a typical Chinese family and not talk about issues that caused strife or conflict.

What came next wasn’t unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful or scary. My mom told me that we used to be on the same path, but somewhere I’ve chosen a different path. Now that I’m on that different path, we would no longer be able to dialogue and we would always be in conflict. She said that she loves me unconditionally as her biological daughter but that I’m of a different spirit. In her opinion, which she says is God’s opinion, women can have deep connections with each other – deeper than with a man. But once that connection turns sexual, it becomes a “perversion” (I use quotations b/c that’s the exact word she used). And, in fact, any act of climax that isn’t between a man and a woman in a married context is a “perversion” (so basically anyone who is promiscuous, gay, or who masturbates – that’s a lot of perverts running around…).

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my mom thinks that I’m “struggling with this particular issue” because she and my dad have been thrust into ministering to those with “sexual sins” and freeing them from their bondage to such sins as homosexuality. Meaning that I’m being attacked by the gay demons b/c those are the exact same ones my parents are fighting against. Additionally she mentioned something about the repercussions of my sins. And by that slight mention, I knew she was referring to what she had talked to me about years ago – that gay people get cancer (as a punishment for their sins). I asked her if that was what she was referring to. She said, well YOU didn’t get cancer – I did (last year she battled ovarian cancer – which also sparked my desire to return back home). She was basically implying that she got cancer again b/c of ME. She said that I’ve basically been protected all these years because she and my dad have been praying for me and my protection.

She also informed me that she and dad have not stopped praying for me (to be straight) and will not stop. It’s always been a comfort knowing that my parents pray for me everyday, but now, knowing that their prayers are specifically asking for me to not be myself, I’m not so comforted anymore.

So like I said before – not totally unexpected, but still very hard to hear. I came home to get my parents on the same page as me. Well, I suppose what I did accomplish was showing them what page I was on. I don’t know if we’ll ever be on the same page. But this brings up a new question: How can I live with someone who thinks I’m living in sin when I know in my heart and by what I’ve learned from the Bible that I’m not? Our perspectives are just too different. I would have to shift so many paradigms for them to see me for me and not some demon possessed child. My heart is heavy because I feel like I have no more home here. I feel like I’m losing my parents because I don’t have their support. I know I’ll always have their love – but how loved can I truly feel when they don’t accept me for who I am and think of me only as a biological daughter? People say: give them time, they’ll come around. Those people have never met my parents. I know in my heart that they’ll never come around.

So even though I moved forward and came out to my parents (again), I feel like I took a step back because they haven’t moved with me. Even though I JUST moved back to the Bay Area, I know it won’t be long until I have to leave again. I can’t think of a reason to stay. It’s time to move forward.



{September 28, 2009}   love casts out fear

So as usual, I’ve been meaning to update. Last I left off, I was seriously praying about coming out to my parents…again. But given my mom’s health and my god-grandmother’s funeral, I wasn’t sure if it would be the right timing when I went home for a wedding on Labor Day weekend. I flew home a bit anxious, but leaning more on the side of at least starting the conversation again. I wasn’t even sure how to bring it up and was praying that something would happen naturally. God is good to me, b/c He gave me a good opportunity to start the conversation. On Sunday, my mom and I played hookey from church (I had enough of answering people’s questions about my mom’s health at the wedding the prior day). My mom was relaxing in bed around 9am and I joined her. We were lounging in bed and watching the US Open and chitchatting. Our conversation wandered to a mutual friend we know and my mom told me that he’s struggled with homosexuality (which was news to me at the time). I saw my door, and I took it. I told her that it upsets me that the church condemns homosexuals and forces them into dark closets where they may end up doing dangerous and/or damaging things to themselves and loved ones. We discussed homosexuality and the church for a bit (she talked a bit about how God’s standard is for a man and a woman to be together and anything altered from that (homosexuality, divorce, single parent homes, single people) occurred after the fall and isn’t God’s standard but isn’t necessarily a sin/wrong. This conversation was so different from the first time we spoke about it. My mom wasn’t giving me black or white answers. In fact, she refused to. It was almost like she didn’t want to take a complete, firm stand.

Then my mom said that she and my dad just want me to be happy. They want to see me married and happy. I asked her if they’d be happy if I married someone they didn’t like. She said, “as long as you’re happy.” Then I asked, “What if I wanted to marry a woman?” That’s when my mom curled up in a ball into the covers and said (sort of cutely), “I’m not ready to talk about that.” I asked her if we’re going to be like a typical Chinese family and not talk about major issues and ignore them to keep the peace. She said, “no…I’m just not ready yet.” So instead, we continued the conversation about homosexuality and God and the Church w/o directly talking about me and what I’m dealing with. I know I need to respect my mom’s space and what she’s ready for. The last thing I want to do is dump the gay bag on her and run away leaving her and dad to deal with everything on their own. I love them and want them in my life for as long as possible. The conversation ended without any tension or controversy and was a GREAT way to open the door to more discussion.

While I was at home I really wanted to speak with an auntie from church that I grew up with. I respect her opinions and wisdom and I know she loves both me and my parents. She would be the first parental like authority figure I tell from home (other than my parents obviously). I loved that when I told her she didn’t even bat an eye. No judgment from her. She listened while I told her everything – EVERYTHING! Including about my girlfriend. She suggested that I tell my parents as soon as I could but we also spoke about homosexuality and Christianity. She has the same views as my parents (which isn’t surprising since she goes to our church and my parents teach there). She brought up and interesting comparison. She said she has 2 different hand blenders with 2 different sets of blades. Each set of blades are made for that particular hand blender but it’s possible to mix and match. However, if you do, they tend not to work as well. It’ll work, but not as good as when they’re used with the hand blender they’re made for. I think what bothers me most about this whole “God’s standard is for a man and a woman to be together” is that if that was the case – Christians should condemn divorce, single parents, and people who choose to be single/never marry (which – wouldn’t priests/nuns/monks be in this category as well??) just as much as homosexuals b/c they’re also not fulfilling God’s standard. My point isn’t that those things are wrong – but that the Bible has been interpreted so differently over the centuries. Depending on what time period you live in, the Bible was used to validate what it as used to condemn a century before. I’m getting off topic here, though I’ll talk about this in another post – which will probably be in another friggin month.

After talking to my auntie, I was just mentally exhausted (I spoke to her the same day I spoke with my mom). I didn’t get to talk with my dad, but I assume that my mom probably talked to him (I wouldn’t assume the same if I talked to my dad, though). We didn’t talk about it again for the rest of my short trip home. A few days later, back in NY, my mom emails me (cc’s my dad). She said she was glad we had our talk but then mentioned that her old college roommate (who’s white) dated a black guy in college. And the gist of this story was that she dated him to be rebellious against her father and to be different. I responded and said that I don’t know her that well, but from what I know of her, she doesn’t seem like the type of person to do that. And, in any case, if she brought up her story to compare to me, I told her that I am not the way I am to rebel against her or God and that I’m certainly not doing it to be different. For goodness sake! I would prefer to be straight just b/c everything is easier! I’m already different enough being a woman of color – I don’t need another thing to add to my card. I asked her if I could send her and dad some books that I’ve been reading about being gay and Christian. I respect their authority and wisdom. I know that they’ve studied at seminary and know more about the Bible than I probably do. So I want to see what they think when they read these books that say that homosexuality is not a sin. A week or so later I get a call from her. She just wanted to just chitchat but I eventually asked her if she got my email. She got strangely sheepish again and said, “I like how our relationship is now. I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.” I told her that if we love and respect each other that we should be able to be open and honest with each other w/o judgment or condemnation. She agreed with me. I asked again if I could send her books and she was very receptive to the idea and almost welcomed them.

I sent her 3 books – all of which I’ll talk about in future posts. So I’m glad that the conversation has started but I’m certainly not going to rush things. I sensed that my mom was scared to lose our close relationship again. At least one question is answered: no matter what, my parents will love me – so no disowning will occur…I feel like my mom (and hopefully this means dad, too) is more open to what I’m feeling. I feel like they’ve fully released me to God and aren’t trying to control me and my every move. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I feel less scared and the tunnel looks a little less dark. Love truly does cast out all fear.



{August 19, 2009}   My Dad’s No Dick

It’s been a while…so this is long…you’ve been forewarned

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. It all started when I got a call from my mom. A week prior, she found a lump in her pelvic area that she had not noticed before while she was in Vancouver helping her sister with some stuff. Thankfully she was coming home to San Jose before heading back to China to work at the orphanage. She had her doctor check out the lump and the doctor said it was most likely ovarian cancer. 15 years ago, my mom had breast cancer and had a mastectomy and chemo but has been cancer free since then. So the news that she may have cancer again was a bit alarming. A few days later, she met with the surgeon and found out that she had a massive tumor of almost 6 in in size. A few days after that discovery, she had the tumor removed and a complete hysterectomy done. I flew home the night before the surgery to help with her recovery in the hospital (she stayed for 4 days) and to help my dad, who also wasn’t feeling 100% well. The good news is the surgery went well, all the cancer was removed, and, after chemo, she has 100% chance of a full recovery.

The bad news was how torn I felt when I was there. As I was preparing to go back home, my girlfriend and I couldn’t help but think perhaps this would be an opportunity for me to come out to them. The reasoning being that I RARELY go home and it’s even rarer to be home with them at the same time. Since Christmas, I’ve seen them 2 times before (Christmas – for my dad’s mom’s 80th bday family cruise – and for my mom’s 60th birthday). Of course, it wasn’t the right timing. My parents obviously had to handle the cancer situation and I was there to help – not make things even more difficult. But while I was at home, I hated feeling like I was keeping something from them and that they only know half my story. I would sit by my mom’s bed in the hospital and hold her hand while she was still loopy from the drugs. Every so often I’d lean over and kiss her forehead and she’d stir and see me. I had to hold back my tears. I love her and my dad so incredibly much but I felt like my heart was breaking b/c I am scared that I’ll lose them in order to stay true to myself.

I’m scared b/c I’ve come out before. About 3 years ago, I wanted to come out to my parents. I’m not sure what compelled me – I think it was b/c I felt like I was lying to them and I wanted them to know about a very important aspect of my life. We are very close as I’m the only child and my parents are pretty freaking cool. Since we rarely are in the same city at the same time I asked if we could do a family vaca in a neutral location. If you know my parents and me, we NEVER take vacations. I think the last one we took as a whole family, I may have still been in elementary school. Don’t get me wrong – we travel…A LOT. But it’s mainly to do ministry. They preach, I lead worship. It’s a family business and we work well together. We’ve been all over the country and world together – but never for vacation. My mom’s pretty perceptive (Christians would call it discerning or prophetic). She could tell I wanted to tell them something b/c I requested to have some time together. We met in Miami. For the first 2 days or so I was so dang nervous. I knew everything would change once I tell them and I had no idea how. I’m not sure WHAT I was thinking…that my parents would be fine with me being gay?? I didn’t have much of a game plan, but the days were passing by. On the second to the last night, we have a nice dinner and my mom asks me straight out – so what’s up? Why did you want us to go away together? So I proceed to tell them that I like girls (quickly adding that I like boys as well – but I just haven’t met any I liked as more than a friend). I specifically did NOT mention my girlfriend at the time. I’m not sure if it was b/c we were in a nice restaurant or if my parents were just in shock, but they don’t really say much. There was no yelling, no crying, just a few questions here and there. I honestly don’t remember the entire conversation. I remember going to bed that night thinking, “wow, that went well. Maybe they WILL be ok with it.” I’m an idiot.

The next morning I wake up and my parents were already up and out of the room (yes, we were sharing a room). I wasn’t surprised b/c they wake up early to read the Bible and pray together every day (when they’re in the same city). I remember getting dressed and heading downstairs to grab some breakfast. I saw my mom through a window walking quickly through the alleyway by the hotel and I saw my dad following her. They looked upset. I headed back to the room after eating and found them in the room. My mom suggested going to the beach and lying out for a bit (which is WEIRD…my parents never do stuff like that – walk along the beach – yes, sit on a towel and just sit – no). We head down to the beach and sit on our own towels in a row. My dad starts off the conversation and says “Serena, I’m not Dick Cheney. I can’t be in ministry while you live a gay lifestyle. If you don’t pray and repent with us before we leave, I will retire from the church, mom and I will sell the house, and we will move to New York to help you through this.” I just about shat in my bikini bottoms right there. I was completely blindsided and speechless. Then my mom continues and asks me point blank if I had a girlfriend. See! My mom is so freggin perceptive. I think she noticed that I was texting and talking on the phone regularly. I couldn’t lie so I said yes. She asked me if I was in love with her, if we have sex, if I climax with her – VERY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. To be fair, if you knew my parents and what sort of ministry they’re in (healing and deliverance), you’ll know that these questions are necessary for the healing and deliverance process. So even though I didn’t want to answer her questions, I wasn’t completely taken aback by them. My mom added that I must break up with my girlfriend when I return to New York. By the time my parents laid all this out to me, I felt cornered – literally. I was on a tiny corner of my towel and they had moved in on me with 2.5 towels behind them. I wanted to run into the ocean and never come back. I had NO idea what to do. I NEVER would’ve imagined that they would go to such desperate measures to keep me from being gay. Of course, I realized (through the help of my friend back at home whom I called afterwards desperate for help) that this is all my parents know to do. They saw that my soul was in jeopardy and their only course of action is to make me pray.

So what did I do? I ended up praying the most insincere prayer in my life. I think that was the first (and only) time I did it. After I flew back to NYC, I did not all of a sudden become straight and I did not break up with my girlfriend. How would it look as a 28 year old telling my girlfriend I had to break up with her b/c my mommy told me to? Pre-Miami, I was concerned about lying to my parents by hiding from them. Post-Miami, I was overtly lying to their faces. I felt like I put myself in a worse position.

This is mostly why I have been scared to resurface from the closet that my parents so abruptly shoved me back into. But as I approach my 31st birthday and I want to marry the love of my life, coming out to them is becoming more and more necessary. But when? And how? What will happen?? Will they follow through with their initial threat? A wise friend told me that perhaps it’s not such a terrible idea that they come out to NYC – b/c then they can see how my life is now and really get to know me – ALL of me. And, plus, maybe they need to slow down as both of them are having health issues. I’m just afraid I’ll make their health worse. Although, maybe the first blow is really the hardest and the second time I come out it won’t be the same.

Even as I type, I really don’t know how to go about coming out again. I hate how much fear i feel. If I come out, I’m afraid of what my parents will say/do. I’m afraid of what the church and the thousands of people my parents minister to will do – will they no longer respect my parents? Am I opening room for them to be attacked in their community? But if I don’t come out, I’m afraid of either having to live a lie for the rest of my life or having to hide and be miserable. I want my parents to know me – ALL of me. I want us to be close again.

On the second day that my mom was in the hospital, one of the pastors from our church and his wife came to visit. My mom was still pretty out of it, but they prayed words over her that were prayed during a prayer session with other intercessors. Some of the words were also for me and my dad. One thing that stuck out was “Love conquers all fear. Let there be no fear in you.” I don’t know if my parents will move to follow me to NY to help me pray the gay away or if they’ll disown me. But I know that they will always love me and I know that God has, does and will ALWAYS love me. God hasn’t forsaken me, so I know in my heart my parents won’t. At least I hope they won’t.

To prepare for my second coming out, I’ve been researching about being gay and christian. I’ll save what I’ve learned for other posts as this one has gotten insanely long. If you pray, please pray for me. If you don’t pray, please send good thoughts (and cookies – they always make me feel better).



et cetera