|Larry Wise (left) and Larry Little|
I was born and raised a Kansan in the Baptist heritage of Rev. Jerry Falwell. In fact, I attended the same religious college he did. I left due to the restrictive atmosphere ther. I married and was a Deacon and taught Sunday School in a Southern Baptist Church. I was divorced 12 years later; when my wife wanted to experience what she did not get growing up as a conservative preacher’s daughter. I had my first homosexual encounter 3 years later. It left me confused. I attended an out-of-town Homosexual Anonymous group for about 1 year. I was even more confused. I have been in a committed same-sex relationship for 5 1/2 years. My birth-family has rejected me.
I want to go to Lynchburg, Virginia, to show any I come in contact with that we are not all the godless deviates we are pictured to be. I can understand how they feel as they – I have been there. Yet, I also understand the people believe what they are told by their pastor. And he or she can be in error. I have believed the "Sin of Sodom" was sexual. But after reading the Bible for myself, I no longer feel that way. The sin was the lack of Hospitality; and that has a very familiar ring to what we are experiencing today from the Religious Right.
I was born and raised most of my life in the middle of the Midwest. From the time I was old enough to understand subtleties, I was aware of my family’s aggravation and disappointment that I was not like my brothers or the neighborhood boys. I grew up hating myself because I’d let everyone down. I had very few friends because everyone sensed my differentness and didn’t want to be guilty by association. Being ignored can hurt as bad as a gay bashing.
Growing up gay in a family which is constantly bombarded with anti-gay rhetoric from pulpits, experts, and the media assures you thatyou become unwanted. It’s never overt. It’s very subtle in the way you’re not pushed forward with parental pride when the family is being introduced to new people. In the way your father never has time for Father and Son functions. In the aggravated way your mother shooes you out of the room when she’s talking to her women friends (a group you find non-threatening), with "Don’t always hang around us women. Go find someone to play with!" (Fat chance! No one wants to play with a sissy.) Knowing you’re not wanted is a lifelong heartache.