We’re all made in God’s image

I recently stormed out of a friendship because the friend described me as “openly homosexual”, to which I responded: “How come I don’t have a problem with your being openly heterosexual?” I left that relationship because I love myself enough to know I don’t need permission to embrace the fullness and enoughness of self.

I am a writer, a biotechnologist-turned-talent-acquisition-specialist; I am now a sustainability specialist in the making. I am a speaker, friend, sibling, a daughter and colleague — and a soul on a journey of fulfilling purpose. I am also a woman who is interested in other women romantically. Now, with such a diverse, magnificent soul, I would be a fool to let a part of me be the all of me, or to seek a mere mortal who is on his own journey to affirm me.

We should learn that one cannot give what one does not have. If you have peace you will give peace; if there is pain within your soul, you will speak pain to life. Until one is full of love within, one cannot love another.

We make the mistake of confusing pastors and priests with God. Priests are also on their journey of self-actualisation and, in the process, they will make mistakes like everyone else — and they will need forgiveness and understanding.

We should, however, help the world to heal by healing ourselves. We should embrace ourselves and love ourselves enough that we are not homophobic ourselves. I never realised how limiting my conception of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community was until I read Eusebius McKaiser’s book, A Bantu in My Bathroom. In it there is a chapter about opening up to his father, which struck a chord with me.

I realised I was robbing myself and the world of diversity by trying to protect everyone else from the fullness of me.

When someone sees that their favourite doctor, lawyer, chef, pastor, gynaecologist, neighbour, sports anchor or child is homosexual, their attitude changes. This is because engagement, coming from a strong place of love, challenges the limited perceptions of the mind.

We need to be so gay that no fear will ever surround gayness. We need to move away from meaningless parades — how I used to loathe Pride, where the media would capture a guy with yellow underpants and a purple fascinator talking about the need for acceptance of gay people. I felt that that picture perpetuated the craziness stigma that people associate with being homosexual.

I couldn’t understand why we would want to paint that picture of ourselves for the media to capture. Are there no better and more meaningful ways to help to socialise people, teach our family, friends, colleagues about us? To build communities of love within our sphere of influence?

Tough as it might be at times, this remains part of our purpose in life.

Take those who weep at racism. We cannot desire people to value us if we don’t value ourselves. One is only a victim if one chooses to accept such a fate.

Let’s take ourselves seriously. Let’s be assertive and self-assured in our fullness and the universe will support us in that movement. Let’s shine with excellence and diligence and let no pain or darkness of hate dim that light. Let’s be love and peace in a place where people see rape as a worthy solution.

The universe bleeds for peace and love, and if priests can’t be agents of peace and love nothing prevents us from taking up the baton and leading them on this journey. If we are made in the image of God, then God is male, female, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. God exists within us all and she is the allness we are.

Lesego Setou is a writer dealing with life, love and leadership

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