For Malaysian Gay Christians, Is there Hope?
For Malaysian Gay Christians, is there Hope?

 

 

(For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth."
Psalm 71:5

From “For Malaysian gays, hope for a better tomorrow” by Pang Khee Teik, the True Malaysian Story No. 3 taken from Fridae.com, is a testimony of Pang of how he tried and be active in Church as a way for God to hear his desperate cry in his struggle with being gay. He talks of his time with Church of Our Saviour/Choices and finally after 12 years of denial coming to a stage to stop living a lie and live an authentic life, authentic to others and to Himself as who God has created him as. It is a call for Gay Christians not to live our lives in somebody else shoes, to live a life according to what others mistakenly call as sin. It is a mistake for them, an error in bible interpretation clouded by their own homophobia, but a life lost for us following endless rainbows with no ending.

He reminds us the seriousness of it all, that gay teenagers have a six times higher suicide due to the condemnation by society, church, and family, to be put in a closet and to be denied their innate sexual orientation. Pang Teik is very brave to stand up for in standing up he is speaking to the thousands of gay youths that they are OK. It is message they need to hear and what we do need to preach in our inclusive churches. For if the mainstream churches talk against it more than we affirmed it, we have failed the community that God has set us apart for.

The Appeal 3 was so heartfelt, to imagine “teenagers growing up with such profound loneliness, confusion, fear, guilt, self-hatred …. afraid we will lose our jobs, our friends, our families. Imagine the cruelty of being forced to live this way”.

We have lived through such a cruel life, to be crucified in the fears and religious lies and rhetoric of others, yet  still grounded and affirmed in the love of Christ that never fails us. It is a molding ground of faith, having left with nothing – even our very faith and who we are challenged. Pang tells us that more than 6 times the suicide rates for gays, perhaps the retention rates for Gays as Christians is far worst. They are leaving or have left the church in droves.

 How does one accepts himself/herself. It is to allow God to have His own way in our lives. He has created us a gay person, and it is not for us to deny it whether through religious, emotional or intellectual means. There is a contentment and acceptance of that which is innate coupled by a trust in God that is deep and certain that God will make the way good in our lives despite of it all, for God is a good God. God is indeed doing a miracle through Rev O Young and the new GSMCC church in Malaysia. The seed is planted. Now it is time for the Word to grow and we to fan the flames of revival.

It is indeed ironic that those who have gone through anti-gay groups such as the Church of Our Saviour - Choices are now the greatest champions of gay rights. God indeed has a good sense of humour.

 

Six times more likely – Pang Khee Teik

True Malaysian Story No 3: For 12 years of my life, I stopped myself from falling in love with men. From the age of 14 till I was 26, I tried to go straight. I took an active part in church, I led fellowships, I wrote church musicals. I prayed and fasted and went for church camps. I sang the loudest during worship - I was so annoying! - and desperate for God to hear me! Nothing worked. 

Now, all of us recall bouts of depression during our teenage years. For LGBTs, (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders) our teen years appear like one long nightmarish bout from which we never wake. Statistically, we are six times more likely to kill ourselves than our straight peers. 

Trust me, it is that bad, and then some. Most gays realise we are attracted to the same sex even before puberty and in our teens, we soon discover we are unlike our peers. We are also told we are 'freaks', 'criminals', 'monsters', 'sinners', 'abominations' and deserve to be punished, rejected and beaten up. 

We are confused - we didn't choose to feel this way, and we certainly don't want to be so freakish, but the feelings won't go away. We believe something might be fundamentally wrong with us. Frightened of being an outcast, we conform to social demands. We learn to hide our sexuality, resigned to a life pretending to be what we are not. 

Before we know it, we are adults and it gets a little harder to stop the act. The game gets more complex, the web of deception so elaborate we cannot risk breaking one thread without compromising everything we have worked for. 

We marry, we have kids, we get promoted, we take on a same-sex lover on the side, maybe find a quick relief with anonymous encounters, a masseur, an escort. Our lives choreographed between two realities, one in which we please everyone else, and one in which we please our inner heart. And we pray that these worlds never collide. 

But one day, we get careless and we are found out. Secrets, lies, guilt, shame. The picture is ugly. It is a morally unjustifiable scenario, and this is largely the perception of homosexuality for the rest of the world.

A dirty, shameful affair. Nobody thinks back to how as children, we were first taught that in order to survive, it is better to pretend.

Appeal No 3: Imagine what it is like. Imagine children or teenagers growing up with such profound loneliness, confusion, fear, guilt, self-hatred. Imagine living everyday of our lives being afraid we will lose our jobs, our friends, our families, our homes, our very lives, should someone find out who we really are. Imagine the cruelty of being forced to live this way.

 

Let me love

Then there are those who would rather not pretend. They try for a cure. At one point, I joined a Christian support group that promised to help gay men 'recover' from homosexuality.

A few of the men in the group have now married to women and have children. But they also told me they never completely got rid of their attraction to men. They just learned to just suppress it, as they now have a family to think of. For most of us, the desires don't go away. I don't wish to end up like them.

After 12 years of long lonely nights, I asked myself: What is wrong with a man loving another man? Nobody could give me a satisfactory answer. Is it unnatural? So are nylon, plastic surgery and antibiotics but there are no laws against them. Is it uncommon? So is being albino, but they receive equal rights. Is it sinful? So is living a lie, being a hypocrite. So I decided for myself that 12 years of misery is enough.

I will not marry a woman and pretend to love her and shut up my heart. I will not sacrifice the rest of my life because others are unable to accept my choice for happiness. If your happiness depends on my unhappiness, then I will no longer trust your judgment. I will not live my life according to what someone else thinks is a sin for him.

 

Appeal No 4: If my relationship doesn't hurt anyone, doesn't take advantage of anyone, doesn't deprive someone else of his or her rights, why does everyone want to take it away from me? If my loving someone doesn't prevent you from loving who you love, then please let me love. Nobody is forcing you to be gay, so don't be forcing me to be straight.

Appeal No 5: So stop blaming LGBTs for breaking up families with our 'selfish choices'. What choice? Nobody chooses a life of stigma and discrimination! And what are we breaking up apart from our parents' equally selfish expectations? 

Parents of previous generations used to expect children to take on certain approved career choices, marry spouses of certain ethnicity, give birth to children of certain sex. Our parents have defied some of these expectations themselves. Have they forgotten what it was like? Is it not enough for children to be happy, independent and productive? 

 

 Taken From Fridae "For Malaysian gays, hope for a better tomorrow” by Pang Khee Teik....

 

 

 

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