I am a lesbian student at Oklahoma Baptist University. For the past three years, I have lived and gone to school in an environment that teaches that I am less than, that I should want to be straight and work to become that through reparative therapy and ex-gay ministries. I am told that if I fail to change my orientation it is because I didn’t pray enough, didn’t try hard enough, or didn’t have enough commitment to God.
I managed to avoid being expelled through isolating myself and staying away from campus as much as possible. I felt that I couldn’t get close to people or join in school activities in fear that the wrong person would find out.
When I learned of the Soulforce Equality Ride’s plan to stop at OBU, I felt I could exhale for the first time in almost three years. Finally, someone had the ability to talk about the truths of sexual orientation at OBU without the fear of losing family, education, or financial support.
During their stop at OBU, I was compelled and empowered to finally stand up for myself and the other LGBT students on my campus. I came out in Newsweek’s April issue and told of my experiences as a lesbian at OBU.
Now, in May, I am still waiting to hear what the consequences will be of my public self-acceptance. For the first time, I feel unconditionally validated and supported. I regularly receive calls and emails from Equality Riders who are still a tremendous source of support.