The more I listen to people who struggle with the same-sex community, the more I hear similar stories. They are disgusted. It doesn’t make sense to them. They don’t understand how someone could possibly do those things to someone of the same gender. And yet, so many of their issues seem to come back to sex or sexual acts. If I respond with, “My relationship and love go so far beyond sex,” they seem confused. Isn’t my identity as a lesbian just about choosing one body part over another?
Loving With My Whole Heart
I love Jen. I love her like I never knew my heart could feel love. Imagine with me for a second—that hard workday you’ve had where the weight on your shoulders just feels so heavy. You walk through the front door of your home, drop your bags to the floor without care, kick off your shoes, and amble over to your couch where you collapse. And then you feel that momentary bliss of being held on that couch and the goodness of finally doing nothing. For those moments, the weight has lifted. That is what Jen feels like to my soul.
“Couldn’t you just find that with a man then?”
Perhaps. Could you also find that respite with someone of the same sex? Perhaps. Would it be okay, though, if we were both allowed to fulfill that final piece of physical attraction that we feel towards another? Could we both have permission to be with the person who fills our hearts completely and fully, rather than just 90% of the way?
Seeing Us For Our Whole Love
Let me put this another way. If there are 100 things that I put on a list about why I love Jen, the overwhelming majority of them would have nothing to do with sex. My list would be filled with notes about her sharp intelligence, her gentle heart, her goofy humor, and how she tears up at every commercial involving puppies or Josh Allen.
There are so many facets to her. I tell her that I find a new way to love her every single day, whether it’s the fact that she refuses to kill spiders (even though she’s scared of them), or the fact that she randomly puts on a record of Simon and Garfunkel while we’re cooking together in the kitchen and it just makes me feel happy inside.
There are also the pieces I find physically attractive about her-- wildly, insanely attractive features. And here is the point that I guess some people miss… I am a lesbian. I am attracted to women (but not ALL women, just to clarify that confusion for some) and I finally love that part of me.
What Is A Homosexual?
When I meet someone who is sharing that they don’t support or “believe in” homosexuality, I wonder what they do believe. Do they see us as people who actually have heterosexual attraction, but are choosing to defy social norms? Do they see us as people who actually do experience same-sex attraction… but then what would that say about how we were created? Truly. I would love to know.
To speak from my own lived experience, I’m not a woman who wishes she was attracted to men (though I was that person for many years). Nor am I a straight woman who is attempting to just be devious or defiant. If that were true, I would be devious and defiant in many more aspects of my life than just who I choose to have coffee with in the morning.
I’m a lesbian. I’m a brunette. I’m a mom. I have a corny sense of humor. I love French onion soup and wearing sweatpants and watching documentaries. These are all just pieces of who I am, and I no longer have shame around any of them (with the exception of my jokes that reach extreme-corn level).
Brings Our Whole Self to Our Relationships
Once I owed my identity, I was better able to bring my full self to a relationship. And Jen had done her own work in self-love over the years. We found each other as two whole people who knew we could stand alone, but are grateful every day for the fact that we can stand by each other’s side. Owning my identity also allowed me to show up as a more whole person in other relationships as well.
It’s not fair to stay in a relationship when we’re only bringing part of ourselves to it, hoping that the other person is like the missing puzzle piece that completes us. And it doesn’t feel good to take on that role for someone else either. If someone completes you, they can also crumble you. If you’re their fixer, then when you start doing something for yourself, it feels like a wound to them.
The book A Course In Miracles sums it up well, “You are not simply two people coming together to offset each other’s emptiness. You are God discovering yourself through your beloved.” (Cohen, 2015).
 Cohen, A., 2015. A course in miracles made easy. 1st ed. Hay House, p.61.
Walk A Day in My Converse
What does it feel like when someone tells me that they find my relationship “disgusting” or says, “well, I could never do that!”? Not great, obviously. When these comments are made it means that they’ve allowed their mind to force itself into an illusion of my bedroom. It feels like an invasion of privacy.
We don’t do that for most couples of different genders. When my brother announced his new girlfriend, nobody’s mind went to their intimate moments. Nobody felt it necessary to announce their approval or comfort at the mere thought of them displaying affection toward each other. It’s absurd. It feels weird. We all just see them for who they are, two people who are happy to have found each other.
I want nothing more than for my love for Jen to be viewed in the same light. And while I don’t like to paint broad strokes as an unofficial spokesgay for the LGBTQ+, I would venture to bet that many queer couples are simply seeking the same. See us for our whole person. Acknowledge our love as a whole love.
How Do You Want to Feel?
If you want to truly understand me, then you need to see my whole humanity and not just the label of “lesbian.” There is a lot going on in our society now and it’s bringing up a lot of fear and anger in people. This isn’t just related to people’s perception of the LGBTQ+.
When I have these hard feelings arise, I ask myself:
- Do I want to feel this way?
- Does it benefit me to feel this way?
Generally, the answer is “no” and it means I have a lesson to learn or something to work through.
I said in a recent podcast, “I truly believe that nobody wants to hate me.” The reality is that I cannot change anyone’s feelings. And I no longer take on the heavy burden of feeling like it’s my responsibility to do so.
I can only share more of who I am so that they can fill in those dark spaces of uncertainty with the truth. That’s why I choose to hold space for these hard conversations and difficult feelings.
Small shift by small shift, we can all move closer to love.