I’m Lizzy Moscinski. I want to share my story with you.
Growing up, I was very much a typical kid in the Midwest. I went to a private Lutheran elementary and middle school and was a member of its Lutheran church. I was part of a conservative, Christian family and I really loved my God. I prayed before meals, I slept with my blankie, I was a Scooby-Doo freak; I had friends, I played outside, I liked Beanie Babies and action figures, I loved climbing trees and Juicy-Juice. I guess I always knew I was different though. I hated anything that had to do with the girl’s side of the department stores and the color pink. I begged to play a boy’s part in school plays. And when I started developing crushes, they weren’t on the boys in my class.
When I had my first crush on the new girl in the third grade, I told my mother about it. I told her that this was really weird since she was a girl too. My mom told me not to worry about it and that probably a lot of girls felt that way about her too. I felt relieved and didn’t think about it much. As I got older, I continued to refuse any article of girl’s clothing. For a period of time in school I was often referred to as “The Gay One,” or “It,” because I dressed like the other 5th grade boys and not the girls. For the first time I was ashamed of the way I looked. I started to understand why being called gay was such an insult. I started to focus more and more on who I was having crushes on and began my self-loathing at an early age. I never admitted that I was gay though. In my understanding, gay people were not actually gay people. They were basically potential heterosexuals who chose to do gay things. They were not Christians. They were unnatural. And I could not be one of them. The thought made me sick. I loved Jesus! How could I be like that?!
Upon entering middle school, I had one of my girl friends help me look like a girl. I grew out my crew cut hair and had to be taught how to put it up in a ponytail. I wore girl’s clothing. I then started to journal and would write about all the boys I had “crushes” on. The whole thing was preposterous because those were all my friends, not anyone I could ever imagine holding hands with or kissing. Sometimes I would write on a page that I knew why I was so upset all the time and it was because I liked other girls (never using the word gay). I would then rip up those pages and burn them. I prayed every night and every day to be normal. I prayed desperately to like boys. “God, please! Make me like a BOY!” Soon, I began self-injury. My legs, my arms, my hips, my ankles, my fingers, my ribs all became scar-ridden flesh canvases to paint my pain on in my own blood. I hated myself. I hated that I couldn’t just like a boy. Why was that so hard for me? Not one other person I knew was gay. Not that I would even call myself gay. I just liked other girls. That’s all.
In high school I became a member of the Covenant church where I became increasingly involved. I went to church every Sunday and attended every youth group event I could. I stopped thinking about my girl-likes-girl plight and dated boys. I never had any reason to seriously admit my sexuality because of those hetero-affirming relationships, but they were unfulfilling and lacked everything I thought a relationship was supposed to have. I hated that I never felt right in them. I hated myself for the crushes I had on other girls. I hated myself for being such a terrible Christian, for being “unnatural.” I spent countless nights fearing the hell that I was certainly doomed for, feeling repulsive and desperation to be anyone else. As high school came to a close, I started seriously thinking about my sexuality and starting to own what was true of me. So I prayed. I prayed so fervently. “God, guide me. I don’t know what to do. But if I am going to be straight, then I’m trusting that you will change me. If I am supposed to live a life of celibacy, then you will make me know that. I don’t know how to be anything. I don’t know how to let myself be gay. I don’t know how to force myself to be straight. I’m trusting you. I have to trust you.”
The more I prayed, the more I felt this overwhelming sense of grace and mercy. I read my Bible for guidance and one day, the first thing I flipped to was Romans 13:10, “Love does no wrong to others, therefore love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Interpret that how you will, but to me that says that honest love, the real kind of selfless love, cannot be wrong. If you can love then you should love, and it is good and it is holy. It is love. The gift of relationship is one of the greatest things we’ll ever know. I have never felt called to live a celibate life. I am a companion kind of person. I decided to come out at the beginning of my freshman year in college and faced a whole new set of issues. Issues with my church, and with my friends and family. I didn’t feel as welcome in my church and I noticed that people were wary around me. People who knew me inside and out became strangers. I no longer desired to go to church in the place that had been my home for years. Coming out wasn’t the happy parade I might have hoped. I was called an abomination by some. I was laughed at and told that what I decided to become was costing me my salvation. It was extremely difficult and hopeless at times. But my God saw me through every step. And I am forgiven. And I am me.
I think the hardest part for me was that homosexual people were never a legitimate group of people. A homosexual was never a description of a kind of person. It was a description of a sinful act. It made me feel so dirty. I think this kind of teaching leaves a whole group of people outside of God’s rules of relationships and leaves an entire group of people without hope. I didn’t have a community that would support me no matter who I was. I wasn’t able to talk to people about it. I lost my hope so many times along the way and became obsessed with suicide and attempted it on a few occasions. It seemed my only hope at peace. Going directly to God is what moved me. My God gave me hope, gave me grace, mercy, forgiveness, peace and love. And I am His child. Gay and all.