Greetings from Dallas, Texas!
It has been nearly 20 years since this native Kentuckian was a student at Asbury College. Although I spent most of my first year there trying to fit in and going through the motions of trying to be straight (casually dating young women, etc.) I had known since puberty that I was attracted to other males. After meeting some fellow students who were gay or gay friendly, I began to accept my orientation as a gift from God and to love myself as one of God’s children. I poured myself into my Elementary Education studies, achieved a high GPA, and made some wonderful friends.
Toward the end of my senior year, I was outed by my roommate’s girlfriend. My advisor met with me and, after interrogating me, swore that if he ever could prove that I was a "practicing homosexual" that he "would do everything in (his) power to make sure that (I) never taught again!" Needless to say, I was devastated beyond words. I wanted to teach more than anything in the world, and at that moment I truly felt that everything I had worked so hard to achieve was being ripped from me.
My supervising teacher was informed of the "situation" and tried to talk me out of becoming a teacher. I’ll never forget her questions: "Wouldn’t you rather be an interior designer or a hairdresser?" (It sounds funny now, but at the time it was demoralizing.) When she couldn’t talk me out of becoming a teacher, she lowered my grade to a "C" ( I had a cumulative 3.5 GPA at the time) and would not sign off on the paperwork recommending me to the teaching profession. I fell into a deep depression that spiraled downward until, in a moment of utter helplessness, I took an near deadly overdose of sleeping pills and passed out on the floor of my dorm room. Thank God a dear friend, who realized how upset I was, came to my rescue literally breaking into my room and rushing me to the emergency room where my stomach was pumped and I came to.
I managed somehow to graduate and moved to Florida. After ten years as a classroom teacher (including two years as Teacher of the Year), I was asked to serve as a Curriculum Specialist at the district level. I thoroughly enjoyed the next two years coaching new teachers and working to rewrite the district’s curriculum. At that time, I was approached by the educational publishing industry to work as a consultant. This great opportunity involved a move to the Lone Star State and starting a new life in Dallas. That was nearly eight years ago, and today I am blessed to be a highly successful sales representative for the world’s largest educational publisher. I am very active in The Episcopal Church where I met my life partner. We have shared seven wonderful years together and look forward to many more to come. Being in a Christ-centered, monogamous, caring, gay relationship may not be something that most "Christians" understand or accept, but I look forward to the day when all of God’s children can learn to love and accept each other regardless of religion, race, age, or gender orientation.
Although that nearly fateful night when I hit rock bottom seems several lifetimes ago, I still care a silent reminder of what fear and self-hatred can do to someone in a moment of weakness: a slight heart murmur. Each year during my annual physical my doctor reminds me of this physical condition which in turn reminds me of my experience at Asbury College and a time in my life when I almost believed that God had made a mistake when God created me! Today I know beyond any doubt that I am NOT a mistake, but a Child of God who is loved and who has so much of
God’s love to share with others.
Seldon Paul Short III
Class of ’87