by Zoe Pollock

Diane Silver draws a parallel between self-defense karate style and the constant self-defense of "an out lesbian and a non-Christian living in nation where more than 75 percent of the people are Christian:"

Intellectually, I know every Christian isn't anti-gay or disrespectful of other people's religious beliefs, but my little girl self doesn't live in the land of logic. My little girl self wants to hurt them as much as they've hurt me. I can be the closest of friends with Christians if I know they don't seek my destruction. I can accept their theology, and support their worship. However, I also feel powerless to withstand what feels like a continuous assault from a portion of Christianity. My smallest, most frightened self is too scared to wait to determine if an individual Christian is friend or foe; I just want to verbally attack the instant I meet one.

But here's a fact about powerlessness that's surprising. I learned two lessons that day in karate. I learned that my anger is fueled by feelings of helplessness, but I also learned that my feelings distort my perception. My hapless practice partner was much smaller than I could see at first. What am I missing in my great tussle with Christians? What am I unable to see about them?

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