Monday, September 26, 2011

Roommate Roulette

College roommates. Many people live with people they know, friends they've made in classes, or roommates of years past that they have at least grown to tolerate. Some people I know could really care less about where they live or who it's with, because they spend more time in the library than they do at home anyway. This semester I, like many other students, played a little game of Roommate Roulette. This is where I pick a place I want to live and let chance fill in the other spots. I don't really require much, just the basics: a bed, a shower, and a closet with no door (so I can't get stuck in it again).

In the past, this has worked out for me. Like every other encounter you have with people there are likely to be a few bumps at least, but for the most part it has been good. I've been able to get close to a lot of different kinds of people and learn and grow as a person because of it. I also hope that these people walked away having learned something from me. This last year was the first year that I was outright open with my roommates about my sexuality. There were times when it did become an issue, but nothing that we couldn't ever sit down and talk about. Roommates can sometimes be awkward and painful, but they can provide really great friendships when it works...

This past summer I moved in with some friends who previously knew all about my being a lesbian and loved me for it. We could talk and joke about it all the time and for a short time I was able to find that balance between all the different parts that make up me. I was able to feel like I could embrace this side of myself without it being the part that I used to define who I was. It was an amazing summer.

Coming off of this entire year of feeling free to be me, I was quite optimistic about playing another round of roulette for the fall semester. I decided to not even try to hide who I was. In the past I have found that hiding, or even feeling like I need to, just leaves me feeling ashamed and scared even if I know there is no reason to be. I was just going to be me, and tell them when it came up (after all, they don't have to come out as straight to me). But this time the internet beat me to it. I am in a book a friend wrote called "Gay Mormons?" and when you Google my name you can read my chapter online. They knew I was lesbian before I even moved in...they never really took the time to get to know anything else about me. Within the first day they were already ignoring me around the apartment and reporting me to various BYU administration offices in an attempt to force me to do something. I'm still not quite sure what they were expecting. It didn't help that parents became involved and were disgusted that their daughter would be put in that kind of situation (living with someone who was same-gender attracted) at BYU. It wasn't a matter of not seeing eye to eye, they just hated who I was. For the first time in a while I felt genuinely ashamed of who I was, and there was absolutely no real reason for it, but that's how they treated me.

I have always been a very emotional person. I really tend to feel and react to the attitudes and behaviors of the people around me. Being in this situation where I was surrounded by hate really shows the effect that hate can have on a person. It was toxic to be in my own apartment. It became an environment where I couldn't be happy--not because I had done anything wrong, but because of the way they acted toward me. These girls were supposed to represent Christ and yet it was so hard for me to feel any sort of spirit or peace. It really tore me apart.

Long story short, I moved. Things worked out and I was able to go live with some of the same roommates I had over the summer. I've got a few new roommates even now, and I've told them I'm a lesbian and they are okay, because they see me for all of me. I'm doing much better now, and slowly recovering from those first three weeks. I've had such a range of responses from people I've come out to, but never before like this. I just hope that if any of you were to meet, let alone live with, people who are still so ignorant and choose to act in a way that (I think) is very un-Christ-like, you will remember that there are so many more people out there who will love you for everything you are.

My dad always says there are two kinds of people in this world: those you want to be like, and those you don't. You can learn from both, and in this case I have learned a lot. Life is too short to bother with trying to please everyone. I'm not going to try to hide who I am or change for anyone.

~Bridey J

1 comment:

  1. It's not very Christian of me to want to find those people and destroy them, yell at them, tear them down as people, etc., so I'm glad that you dealt with the situation in a more Christian way than I would have done. Mostly, I'm just glad you moved, and if I ever find those people or their parents...grr.