Notes

First Drafts, Conversations, Stories in Progress

Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction at a Christian School
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Readers share their personal stories of grappling with stigma and shame on campus. Email hello@theatlantic.com with your own experience.

Show 3 Newer Notes

'So Many of the Celibate Gay Christians Are Cruel'

Most of the threats to free speech on campus these days are coming from the activist left, but here’s a reminder that the Christian right has its own problem at certain schools. A reader at a Southern Baptist college in Mississippi shares her frustrations living as a lesbian:

If any of this is useful to you, please preserve my anonymity. I work as a graduate assistant, and I’m not sure whether I’d be fired or not, so I’d just prefer to play it safe.

I am one of few gay students who openly accepts my sexuality, as many of us are pressured by our peers to “pray it away” in order to make friends and for administration to allow us to serve in student positions. We are not allowed to have any sort of LGBT-friendly student organization, publish anything in the school newspaper that could be read as pro-gay rights, or participate in other ways. For example, my college compiles a literary magazine every year, but I was warned not to submit any poetry that “mentioned lesbians,” since it would be immediately discarded, regardless of any literary merit. This is just one example of the limitations on our free speech.

After reading David R. Wheeler’s piece for us on the “LGBT politics of Christian colleges,” a reader in Georgia shares his own story:

I went to a Christian college in a southern city from 1975 to 1978. I am a bisexual male, though I didn’t fully recognize my homosexual side; I just knew that naked guys interested me at least as much as naked women, and in my dorm there were plenty of opportunities to see men in the flesh. A great experience, though I had to work hard to keep from seeming overly interested, if you know what I mean.

The college administration banned any sort of sexual activity, but it strongly encouraged male/female romances. The college president was famous for saying in chapel when he announced one of the college-sponsored socials, “You might meet your future wife!”