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From In Newsweekly By James A. Lopata, October 27, 2005 An open letter to Love Won attendees: The New England GLBT community welcomes all Love Won Out participants to Boston, Mass., the shining City on a Hill where our forebears settled in order to know and worship a God freely, according to their consciences. We who are openly gay understand, as few can, the pain of grappling with a sexual orientation that is not embraced by the majority of the population. We who have come out - sometimes painfully and slowly, sometimes quickly and exuberantly - understand the dis-ease of living with secret sexual attractions. Our dis-ease is not homosexuality. Our dis-ease results from the tension between who we are (who God made us) and the societal messages that tell us that who we are (what God created us as) is wrong. Many gay people are people of deep faith, many of whom count Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Gay people of faith - perhaps better than most others - understand that personal peace and salvation comes from faith in God alone and not in the trappings and doctrines of religion. Before most of us came out of the closet, the last thing we wanted was to be attracted to someone of the same sex. We grew up in a world that told us it was sinful and wrong. In light of those cultural taboos, many of us attempted to deal with our unexplained attractions to the same sex by pleading with God to have these overwhelming desires removed. Or we tried to play various mind games to convince ourselves that these attractions were nefarious thoughts that we needed to will away. Some of us continued to deny our honest feelings, building a fortress in our denial, causing ourselves greater and greater pain, without our even realizing it, and then unwittingly inflicting our self-loathing on unsuspecting others. Some of us, in vain attempts to remove the unwanted feelings, engaged in mortifications. When God did not answer our prayers to make us straight, some of us chose suicide rather than have to live with the animosity from the world around us. For when we were completely honest with God and ourselves, we understood that our attractions were so intimately bound with our core being, that the only recourse for extinguishing that desire was to extinguish our very lives. The alternative was to accept the desires fully, as a primary essence of who God made us, but the penalties that society would extract for that acceptance seemed too high - a living death. For those of us who finally overcame that extraordinary hurdle, we felt freedom as we had never felt before. Some credited God's grace and mercy with that feeling, but more often than not, since the God that we were taught of seemed to hate us so, we turned from the God of our society, the God of our oppressors. After all, was it not the people of God who had made the obstacles for acceptance of self so incredibly and life-threateningly great? All of us who live as openly gay people ultimately had to embrace a spirit of freedom, proclaiming the glory of who we had been created with our very bodies. Some of us glorified our newfound homosexual identity in celibate ways; many gay people are called to this gift, including many lesbians and gay men - many of whom are clergy who offer up their gift of sexuality to God. But not all gay people are called to that life. The gift of celibacy is no more bestowed upon a gay individual than it is on a straight individual. The gift of heterosexuality finds its rightful consummation in heterosexual sex no more or less than the gift of homosexuality finds its rightful consummation in homosexual sex. Consequently, many of us found great joy in monogamous commitments with one other beloved. Others of us found solace in the sexual company of many, many others. The uses of the gifts of a homosexual orientation are as varied as the number of gay people in existence. We hope that the Love Won Out conference offers an opportunity for those struggling with questions of sexual orientation to find the unique sexual identity that has been bestowed upon them, not to have an unnatural sexual identity forced on them. If the individual is gay, let them be gay. If the person is straight, let them be straight. If the person is bisexual or transgender, or whoever they are, let them be whoever that person is. Please. We've lost too many souls already, let's not lose any more. Once discerned we hope that Love Won Out will help individuals to express themselves sexually in ways that are healthy for the individual concerned and not in ways that others - whether gay, or Christian, secular or religious - see fit. It is only in that way that any of us will truly be able to claim that "Love Won Out." Amen. Original Source: click here