I was very young when I became aware of my queerness. Obviously, at that point in my life, I did not have the vocabulary to articulate it to the outside world, but it was there and it felt natural. I experienced attraction to men, and I was drawn towards feminine external expressions. I used to wear my security blanket like a skirt, and I would sneak into my grandmother's make up and try on different shades and colors. Young Franklyn was bold and queer and curious.
Unfortunately, due to being heavily involved with the Evangelical Christian world, it was made clear to me that, at least in the eyes of that part of the church, it was irreconcilable to be queer and to be Christian. I became singularly obsessed with purging myself of my queerness, and I pushed away the few voices that came my way that identified as queer and christian. I did not want to be "tempted" in any way.
I was forced to take a long and difficult look at my pursuit of straightness due to a deepening shame-filled depression and eventual emotional breakdown due to my inability to purge myself of queerness. The sense of failure that I felt was staggering and overwhelming. Every closed door and unfulfilled dream would point back at that failure and add more failure on top of it. Added onto that were layers of denial about what it meant to not be straight, and still be attracted to men. I realized that I could never be in a relationship, and never enjoy partnership with someone whom I loved. As I realized that was actually something that I wanted, I realized that, along with the shame and the depression, my current course was unsustainable. I needed to learn to love myself in my entirety if i was to survive.
My most vital resources have been people. Sure, I have read a lot of the same books on reclaiming the Bible that many others have read, and they have been helpful. But it is the people, both queer and allied, who have relentlessly and insistently proclaimed G-d's love for ALL of me, and stayed with me through my worst seasons that have been incredibly vital to me being able to learn to stand strong in my affirmation.
I am on a journey of FINALLY becoming all that I have always supposed to have been. It has been a difficult journey, but as I stick with it each day, the renewing of my mind and my heart sinks in a little deeper. I am learning how to be proud to be queer, and proud to be devoted to Jesus, the Lord and Love of queers like me.