by Megan Andelloux
Hopping into a cab to catch a train into New York, I noticed a post on the cab driver’s dashboard that stated “Remember, God is in Control”. I braced myself for it…and yes, it came. “Do you love Jesus?”
Ugh. This was not the cab in which I wanted to be.
My driver spoke to me about God’s love and the blessings he had received in the past week. He told me about how tough life is, but that God has a plan for us all.
Most likely due to the silence he was receiving on my end, resulting from my complete lack of interest in the conversation, he changed topics. He posed the question: “Do you have a job?” I replied, “Yes, I own my own business.” He seemed excited and asked me what I did for work. And, I said it folks, I told the religious cab driver that I worked as a sexuality educator.
There was silence. Clearly he was not expecting this answer. It’s understandable, most people don’t, and every day I make a conscious decision to disclose my line of work. Why shouldn’t I? I’ have pride in what I do, and I’m happy to show people the variety of career choices available to them.
He nodded his head and asked if I had heard about that “boy who killed himself” after photos of him were released of him kissing another man. I informed him that I had, and then the conversation took a swooping downward turn.
He stated, “Now, it’s unfortunate that he died, and those kids should be arrested for what they did, but it wasn’t the publishing the pictures that caused him to die. It was pride. He should’ve just repented to God, asked for his forgiveness, and made an oath that he would never do that again. It was PRIDE that killed him.”
I felt like I had been struck. I’ve heard ignorant answers before, but never that one. Rage, sadness, disgust, and a desire to convert him towards peace and tolerance flooded through me. Did he really think it was pride that killed this boy? He did. He really, really did.
He went on to tell me that even though he was bringing up this topic, he wasn’t gay nor would he ever be with a man. It was just a tragedy that he thought I might be interested in.
Thank you, good to know who you aren’t sleeping with. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for pointing out that you cannot even talk about an epidemic without assuring me that you “don’t even know anyone who’s gay.”
Well, surprise, surprise. He does know someone who is gay and he, along with his spouting of nonsense, is part of the reason that this boy, along with all the other five teenagers who killed themselves this month, is dead. These youth died of a fear of being outed, frustration with being teased and tormented, and despair of being told that they were living a life filled with sin. They certainly did NOT die of PRIDE.
They died because of the tragedy of ignorance, the lack of acceptance, and the holier–than-thou attitude that prevails amongst so many individuals due, in large part, to high status societal figures.
When highly respected leaders speak, many listen. After hearing this man’s intolerant religious beliefs, and his statement that if the boy had just repented to God for his sins, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that his belief that the boy died of gay pride was a direct result of an intolerant church leader preaching on the topic, I’m talking about the type of church leader that dictates the cherry-picked morals they think should be upheld. I suppose teasing, tormenting and shaming is better than being gay in their eyes.