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The Wicker Chronicles: Essays, Poetry, Short Fiction
Monday, 16 May 2005

I very nearly lost my life toward the end of my first year of college. In some ways, I did lose it that day, and it would be many years before I would find it again.

It was about a month before the end of my second semester, and I had just turned 19. I had chosen to go to a private Christian university, one that many family members had also attended. It was a family thing, and I had been so excited to come and continue that tradition.

I was just coming to terms, and not well, with the undeniable fact that I was gay. I had grown up in a Christian home, so I knew from countless years of Sunday school and youth groups that homosexuals were going to burn in Hell. It's just the way things were. There wasn't any nice way around it.

But I wasn't like any of the gay people I saw on TV, or read about in the newspaper or in magazines. I was Christian, and this just couldn't be happening! I would pray and pray that somehow one morning I'd wake up and everything would be normal. I would fantasize about what it would be like to be straight, to be attracted to girls like all of the other guys, to go on and get married, have kids, etc. But I was me, and those were other people; I just couldn?t quite imagine what it would be like. Not really. I would lie in my bed at night and would whisper "Oh fuck, I'm gay"... What else could I do?

I grew increasingly inward as that first academic year passed. I just couldn't tell anyone else, any of my friends, family... it was just too big. I was too ashamed and scared. If anything, I felt like I was in constant danger of someone discovering my secret. Of someone noticing that I was different, and then figuring out why.

I finally had to talk to somebody about it, or go crazy. I opened up to a trusted professor, the only adult I felt safe with at the time. She was very empathetic and wise, and was a listening ear when that is what I needed most. But she also thought that it would help me if I spoke to the campus counselor. Someone who was a professional and who would be better equipped and trained to offer me advice. I agreed, because I wanted to believe that things were going to be ok. I was desperate for someone to tell me that I?d get through this, that it wasn?t the end of the world.

I visited the campus counselor several times. We talked about my family life, about why I was feeling so down, about how I thought I was gay. After what would be our last session, he proclaimed that he thought my primary problem was that I was depressed, and that he would like to put me on some trial anti-depressants. In his opinion, that would definitely clear matters up. But as he wasn't a medical doctor, he couldn't actually prescribe them to me himself. So he referred me to the campus doctor to fill the prescription.

I walked directly over to the campus doctor's office, energized to finally be doing something constructive about the way I felt. I was nervous, but I was happy too. Here I had worried that people would freak out, that I?d be rejected. But instead, my professor and the campus counselor had both been really kind and helpful. I walked into the doctor?s office distracted, my mind full of all the things that I would do when I felt better. Because I wanted to feel better. I wanted more than anything just to feel normal again.

I was shown to a little room by the receptionist, an older woman, and waited for the doctor. The receptionist had seemed, I don?t know, edgy when I?d said who I was and that I had an appointment. I didn?t think anything of it at the time. When the doctor came in, I shook his hand and we both sat down.

He said that he had received a call from the counselor, and had fit me in right away. He said this in a careful, precise way, each word enunciated very clearly. It?s how people speak when they want to be understood the first time, so they don?t have to repeat themselves. He looked me directly in the eyes and said, "I will only prescribe these anti-depressants to you if you promise me one thing."

"Okay, what's that?" I said.

"That you not come back to this school next semester. This school and community is no place for students like you, with... your problem." He emphasized the words "your problem" as if they were particularly loathsome and he could hardly bring himself to even refer to the "problem" I had. He was obviously referring to the fact that I was a homosexual.

He looked at me with cold, cold eyes, and then he turned and busied himself at a cabinet. He shoved a handful of sample packets at me, enough for a month or so, and a prescription for when those ran out. The economy of his movements, his terse words; he was mechanical and detached.

?Are we understood?? He said.

I was stunned, I didn?t know, didn?t know how to think, what to say.

?Yes,? I replied quietly.

"Good," he said.

He left the room quickly and didn't look back. The receptionist stared at me on the way out, like one would at a circus freak or a car accident. She didn't say goodbye either.

I stepped out into the bright sun. It was a beautiful Spring day, but I didn't feel alive inside anymore. I walked and walked, too numb to think or cry, just replaying in my mind's eye how he and the receptionist had looked at me. How I was disgusting, a human-shaped bag full of dirt masquerading as a Christian, just pretending to be like everyone else. But they had found me out. His words had peeled away what little hope I had, the thin skin that I wore that kept me going.

I walked instinctively to one of my favorite places, a wooded area with railroad tracks running along a raised bed of grey gravel. I walked along the tracks, kicking stones, listening to the quiet, peaceful hum of bees and flies, the click and thrum of grasshoppers. I ambled about a half a mile, until I came to a part of the tracks that passed over a quiet road. I stopped in the middle of the bridge and stood there, feeling the wind and the sun, just being and feeling nothing.

Then the tracks started to vibrate, very quietly. The steel started to sing. It always sang when there was a train coming. You could feel it before you could hear it, soft trenors up through the soles of your shoes, the distant train running swiftly along the tracks. The unusual thing about this section of track though, was that the train comes around a tight bend right before the trestle, so if there's something on the tracks, it can't stop. It can't blow its horn. It can't slow down. It erupts from around the bend, a great bellowing wall of steel, all thunder and muscle. I could smell the creosote and tar from the railroad ties, the rusty tang of the hot steel in the sun, and now I could hear it coming. It was right there, around the bend. I could feel the deep vibrations in the air all around me.

But I just stood there, because nothing mattered anymore. I wasn't human. I was gay. What did it matter?

Then I saw the train, and something inside me snapped. A seal broke and instinct sprinted through me and I ran, RAN without thought, my cells reacting where my mind could not, would not. I don't know how, I don't remember clearly, but suddenly I was in the dust and gravel at the end of the trestle, beside the tracks, when the train thundered by, so loud that it blotted out the entire world. There was only train and thunder and hot, angry wind.

Then as suddenly as it came, it was gone. The steel tracks gently sang, softer and softer, a quickly fading lullaby after the storm. I was still there. Dusty and coughing and scared, but still alive. I looked at where I had been standing, off in the middle of the trestle, and I don't know how I had made it here in time. It didn't seem possible. But I did. Somehow.

At the time, this was small consolation. Now there was no one I could trust. No one was safe. I would never tell anyone else about this, about the doctor, about the anti-depressants, about my... problem. I would wait out these last few weeks of school as if nothing had ever happened, and then I would leave and never return. I would act more normal than the most normal of students. I would be perfect and happy and more Christian than ever before, but inside I was dead.

Posted by blog/wicker_chronicles at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 May 2005 1:23 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (26) | Permalink | Share This Post

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 9:29 AM CDT

Name: MMM
Home Page:

i am sorry this happened to you.

but i am glad and grateful to god that you got off the tracks.

if it seems good to you, come visit my blog.

i don't care what you think you are, you're someone God died for.

and here's a cyber hug, if you're willing to accept it.


Friday, 27 May 2005 - 10:39 AM CDT

Name: jeremy
Home Page:

Finding your way to God, and being Gay is something I have battled with for years, but God Loves you... Don't let any one ever tel you differently.

This story is familiar...

Blessings on your head.


Friday, 27 May 2005 - 10:43 AM CDT

Name: susan
Home Page:

wow. I watched a gay friend who worked on the music staff of my church suffer in a similar way. Hypocrisy is such a shadow over the church in our country. Where there is love, there is acceptance, and where there is love, there is no fear. Personally, I think it's time our country take back Christianity from the fundamentalists, and place it in an environment where it belongs... where there is LOVE.

You're a gifted man. I'm so glad RLP linked to your site!

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 11:08 AM CDT

Name: renee
Home Page:

thank you for this.
I am so sorry for your pain.
There are no excuses.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 11:23 AM CDT

Name: timsamoff
Home Page:

Came here from RLP -- I'm sure a lot of people will.

Yours is an amazing and powerful story and I'm glad you're still here with us.

May God's peace be with you. May it guide you towards him rather than those who will not and cannot love.

Thank you.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 12:28 PM CDT

Name: Diana
Home Page:

What a sad story. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I don't think I'll ever understand why people can be so cruel. I'm so glad that whatever it was inside of you, made you move off of those tracks.

I also write at http;//, but, you'd have to register to leave comments. So, I just signed up at this new one today.

Maybe that something in you was hope. To live in this world and especially through trials you must have to face everyday, to me is a great sign of courage in you.

Thank you for sharing this.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 2:23 PM CDT

Name: Lori

I'm so glad you changed your mind and decided to share this. I promise you it will be a gift--not only to you, unearthing love and acceptance from your fellow Christians, but to others to whom it will give courage and be light on their own paths. God bless, and bless rlp for linking to it.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 3:28 PM CDT

Name: Danny
Home Page:

Thank you for your story. I know that it will help others tell their own stories.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 3:54 PM CDT

Name: J

I know how you feel all too well. I went through a period where I felt I was gay and had a very difficult time dealing with it. My family is Christian as well and had made threats about what they'd do if I ever ended up being gay, homosexuals were mocked constantly in my private Christian school (especially by teachers), and I grew up around so much intolerance and hate. I don't think anyone can really blame me for stepping away from the church. I lost my faith a long time ago. I don't think I'll ever get it back in quite the same way again.

A little bit later, I found that for myself, I was just scared of women due to a really abusive relationship I was in for three years with my first girlfriend. It's something I had to reconcile with myself and now I feel comfortable around women again. Yet, I realize it's not that way for everyone. And I also know that, deep down inside, I am not - and never will be - the "typical guy." I'm gentle and sensitive and tend to be more like most women I know than men. But that's just who I am. And if anyone has an issue with that, they can do sit on a tack. It's really not my problem, as long as I don't allow it to be.

You just have to be yourself, man. You need to find your own way. Christianity today has become a very ugly thing that seems to only be a hiding place for people who are afraid of various things. It was never meant to be like that and it's not something Jesus intended. Sometimes, I say the prayer, "Lord, please save me from your followers." I just try to remember that it's not the Bible itself that caused these problems, it was man's own misuse and abuse of the scriptures that perpetuates this hate. It's something that lies within all men and this is how it becomes manifested within the religion.

I'm sorry that you had to go through what you did. But I'm sure that it made you a stronger person. I wish you the best in whatever life path that you choose and I hope that, one day, you're able to fully forgive them for what they did to you. Forgiveness is more for our own benefit than for the people who hurt us. I think that's something Jesus was trying to say, but unfortunately.. as with most of what he said and did.. nobody really paid attention to what it really meant, even two thousand years later.

Just keep on with the keeping on, friend.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 7:35 PM CDT

Name: KQ

Thanks for telling your story. While I am a straight female, I've read dozens of tales similar to yours (though perhaps not as well written!) It is what helped me decide to work for justice within a church which so abuses God's gay and lesbian children.

Of course, I don't know where you are on your walk right now, but if you haven't already read Stranger At The Gate by Mel White, I promise you will appreciate what he has to say. His organization is at ~ also well worth a look for all who are concerned about spiritual violence against LGBT people.

You have not said here if you still believe in God, but I do know that God believes in you. May you be blessed on your journey.

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 8:57 PM CDT

Name: drifter
Home Page:


Thanks for sharing your story. Your courage inspires me to someday tell more of my own. My story is different and yet the same. You’re not alone. I hope that brings some degree of comfort, however small. Blessings.


Friday, 27 May 2005 - 9:02 PM CDT

Name: Maryann

Wow, you have no idea how familiar this story is for me. I also came here from RLP, and I'm glad I did. I have just finished my first year at a community college; I passed up a four-year school for my freshman year because I was just beginning to deal with the fact that I knew I am gay, and I was terrified to go away to a Catholic school and have to deal with myself and possibly others finding out. I know how impossible it can be to make your orientation and your religion fit together in your one life. I haven't even ironed out the half of it yet. But, I must say that with time comes understanding. Each day we learn a little more about ourselves, others, and how to cope with both. I can't believe I'm off to an ivy league Catholic U for Sept., but I hope I can make it through without my previous fears becoming reality. What I have hope in is that this school suprisingly has an open GLBT community, with special interest housing and all. I think they're deserving of me, and vice versa. Obviously the school that asked you not to return for the fall is completely underseving of your presence. I hope you will find a school that can welcome all of you, religion, orientation, and everything else that makes you who you are. I can relate to your home life a little too, I guess. I told my parents I thought I was gay this past October. Since that day, they have not spoken a word about it since. Everything gay, from TV to books to movies is taboo. But let me assure you, you are in no way alone in this, so I'm am especially glad that you got the hell out of the way of that train, because how else would we have been able to connect like this? I'm here for ya, you and I and many others are all in this together. You know where you can reach me if you want to.

Saturday, 28 May 2005 - 3:03 AM CDT

Name: Tina
Home Page:

This was a horrible breach of trust. What a heartbreaking story, to hear that you finally reached out for help and understanding, and got nothing but rejection. And these people dare to call themselves Christians ? I wonder what their definition of "Christian" is. Because their behavior was anything but Christ-like. I am so sorry this happened to you, but I am glad that you were able to write about it. Tina

Saturday, 28 May 2005 - 3:03 AM CDT

Name: Tina
Home Page:

This was a horrible breach of trust. What a heartbreaking story, to hear that you finally reached out for help and understanding, and got nothing but rejection. And these people dare to call themselves Christians ? I wonder what their definition of "Christian" is. Because their behavior was anything but Christ-like. I am so sorry this happened to you, but I am glad that you were able to write about it. Tina

Saturday, 28 May 2005 - 10:10 PM CDT

Name: anne
Home Page:

your words are beautiful. i am so sorry they have sprung from such pain.

Sunday, 29 May 2005 - 3:52 AM CDT

Name: Susie
Home Page:

I must read more of your blog, to hopefully find how you came alive again, how you learned that Christian and "dead inside" don't, can't, go together.

I am sorry for the way professing Christians treated you. We do all have our own ideas about what claiming that label means, don't we? I give thanks for your life.

All blessings to you, in the name of the One who loves us right off the tracks.

Sunday, 29 May 2005 - 11:16 PM CDT

Name: Janine

Dear G: You have no idea how much you have touched and moved and saddened me with this story. This issue above all else makes me ashamed of Christianity as so many practice it in this country, in this world. And this has always been, for me, the biggest struggle within my own walk with Christ. I am straight but have had gay family members and friends and for this reason this subject, this stupid rejection/judgement/vilification makes me so angry, when people elevate gender and sexuality [what's the big deal?] above the [actual] terrible things in the world, the suffering of billions, the ruination of the planet, wars, injustice, the mendacity of our current administration, etc. I have never believed God cared one hoot whether we were gay, straight, bi, transgendered, only that you live a conscious life of love and service to one another. That doing unto others was what mattered. I also don't believe in original sin, just original blessing, so I guess that makes me a very strange sort of Christian. But this should not be about me - it's about my response to this and to your beautiful, tender poems and your obviously deep faith. I am so very sorry that some who call themselves Christian have treated you so shamefully. They are wrong in every sense of the word! Please know you have brothers & sisters in Christ who support you as you are, who you are, unconditionally. Period. Remember:
"You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees & the stars.
You have a right to be here."
Thank you, G, for living so bravely. I admire you tremendously. Your words give me courage to continue to choose the more difficult path. May all your days be blessed...

Monday, 30 May 2005 - 12:25 PM CDT

Name: scapegoat
Home Page:

This is beautiful. It reminds me of a time in my own life where hope and tragedy collided, life and death were in the balance, and something much greater than myself somehow was there to get me through.
I am not gay. But I have tasted brief bouts of religious wrath, and from them have at least a small understanding and appreciation for what you must go through on a very regular basis. I have more respect for gay Christian men than I do for any other "category" of people I know. Anyone who has faith in a religion whose followers hate them so much has more faith than I. I wish the church knew how much it needed to have gay men as part of it.

I came here from RLP, and I will be passing this along. There are many who need to hear it.

Monday, 30 May 2005 - 8:18 PM CDT

Name: Daniel Kansas

Wicker, How are things? You know Jesus spoke to the woman at the well with revelation into her life and she knew she was caught even though He did not impose condemnation on her. God lets us know, you know, that homosexuality is wrong as with adultery, fornication, and so on and so forth. This is what we all work through to never ending carnal sanctification. You may never be free from your homosexual feelings or thoughts any more than an alcoholic is free from the desire for just a little sip. I have always beleived that repentence is turning from trying to quit sinning to doing love. It's like you're already on the straight and narrow but you are walking backwards tripping over every little thing (especially fleshly desires) the devil has conspired for us all to trip over. And it is not until we turn around face Jesus walk towards him and let Him watch our backs that we can experience freedom. Yes homosexuality is an issue that has usurped adultery in recent times and you will probably face more persecution from other Christians, but who is the One that loves you? Thats right, Jesus.

Monday, 30 May 2005 - 10:16 PM CDT

Name: Jason
Home Page:

There is a visceral anger that wells up inside me as I read your story. Sadness walks close by keeping it company, fueling its flames...

but there in the midst of it, burns the one hope that finds its home in this kind of reaction...

that hope comes from the fact that you were here to write this story, and that I was hear to read it...

For me, it is a hope like that that changes the world, and views of all who see it. Thank you for bearing that burden for the rest of us, and most of all thank you for allowing us the opportunity to help you bear it further down the road that you are taking...

grace and peace

Tuesday, 31 May 2005 - 2:45 PM CDT

Name: Mark

God bless you, Mr. G.

Wow, can I ever relate to your experience. I did not have the horrifying experience of a counselor and medical doctor acting so unprofessional, but the early college memories of trying to deal with being a gay man are still very vivid. Including contemplating possible ways to kill myself.

I am grateful to God that both of us are still alive. God is good, even if some of His people are dreadful to some of His other people sometimes.

If you haven't already, I hope you'll check out RLP's writings about homosexuality. His bluntness and honesty are refreshing in this age of neocons and the "American Taliban."

God's peace be with you.


Tuesday, 31 May 2005 - 3:04 PM CDT

Name: Mark

Mr. Kansas,

I respectfully disagree with you. I am gay. And in my innermost heart and conscience, I do not find that God has a problem with my sexual orientation (even though some of His people do). But here is my testimony:

I am a child of God by His grace. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. This is not because of anything I did or didn't do, but because God in His love graciously reached out to me and made me His dear child. My daily prayer is "Lord, what would you have me do?"

This is my faith, which itself is a gift of God. God owes us nothing; we owe God everything. And God does not wave that fact in our faces as if He were a moneylender. God loves us all. His Holy Spirit guides us each day to know Him more.

Lord Jesus, come soon! Amen.


Tuesday, 31 May 2005 - 4:21 PM CDT

Name: Meguey

I just spent the weekend as an advisor at a church youth conference with 150 youth ages 14-21. Included in the workshops was one on Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans/Queer/Questioning Issues, and also one on Being GLBTQQ & Spirituality. Stories like yours make me sad that they are so common, and glad that, at least in some small way, I am working to make them less so. Thank God and your own remarkable spirit that deep down you loved yourself enough to run for your life on that trestle. Blessings.

Wednesday, 1 June 2005 - 12:37 AM CDT

Name: Anna

I'm so sorry you were treated cruely.

For other reasons, I was rejected by the church and the Christian friends I grew up with. You're right - it's like losing your life.

Only now, six years later, am I beginning to look again at the faith I felt rejected by, and realizing - it was not the faith that rejected me but the fundamentalists who have twisted and altered it, in such an ugly way.

I hope you find peace.

Thursday, 2 June 2005 - 1:01 PM CDT

Name: Bob
Home Page:

It's faint comfort, I know, but not all Christians automatically dismiss and shun a person simply for being gay. Our church has been "loosed" (a cute euphemism for kicked out) from our greater conference for being openly accepting, regardless of sexual orientation.

I'd feel shame for (some) other Christians after reading this very moving piece, if the shame wasn't so completely supplanted by anger at having seen this before and knowing I will see it again.

Words don't do justice.

Monday, 6 June 2005 - 2:45 AM CDT

Name: Lorian

Dear G,

I came to your story from RLP. I am saddened beyond belief at the ways we can hurt one another. Dear Brother, the Lord is the only one who can bring us peace, and however faithless His children may be, He is not. That which was meant for evil He can turn to good. You are a very talented and powerful writer. Psalm 37 and 103 saw me through some very tough patches in my life, as well as RO 8:38-39. Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you. God bless you.

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