The Soulforce Equality Ride 2006 visited my place of education, Azusa Pacific University within days of the four year anniversary in which my mom came out to me. I had spent the prior four years living in silence and shame concerning my mom’s non-heterosexual identity, telling less than a handful of people and encouraging her greatly to continue with her journey of trying to be an ex-gay with the help of Exodus International. Her and I shared a belief that her same-sex attraction was shamefully sinful, and because of this belief, my mom found it among the most difficult of tasks to love herself and to believe that God could love her.
The day that the Equality Riders so bravely walked onto APU’s campus and spoke with such conviction and experience that God loves and affirms people of all sexual orientations goes down in my personal history book as the day that my life was transformed from shame to freedom. Their message shed light onto a truth that had been concealed from me my whole life with deceptive doctrines of God’s exclusive love. Though my mind over the issue did not completely change that day, it was with the words that were imparted to me by the Equality Riders that I began a rigorous journey of theological research with a great hope that what they said was true.
Through my research, conversations with numerous of people, and the inspiration of God, I am now a firm believer that God does love and affirm people of all sexual orientations. With this knowledge, I have received the gift of freedom to love more deeply and to accept people more fully. Perhaps the most beautiful part of my story is that I was able to share my newfound freedom with my mom, and through that she was able to release her shame and allow herself to be who she is. She is now in a relationship with a woman who brings so much of God’s love and joy to her life and to life of our family.
Not only did the message of the Equality Riders liberate mine and my mom’s shame regarding her own sexuality, but it also revealed itself to be a crucial tool in reconciliation of spirituality and sexuality as some of my dear friends starting to come out (one of which came out to me the day that the Equality Ride came to our school), and as I myself started to question my sexuality. As it stands I am in a beautiful two-year relationship with an astonishing woman that may not have been possible if it weren’t for the good news that the Equality Ride brought to my life.