Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Christian Closet: Nick Scarantino

Name: Nick Scarantino
Age: 24
Gender: male
Sexual orientation: homosexual
Religious denomination: non-denominational Christian
Education: B.S. in Biblical Studies
Work: author | musician | blogger | Biblical scholar
Dreams/goals in life: to ensure nobody feels alone or unloved
Myers-Briggs type: INFP

When did you first realize you were homosexual?

Looking back, it was in elementary school. I wanted to spend more time with the boys than with the girls. Most of my friends were girls, but I could tell it was different than how the other boys wanted to spend time with them.

Are you out? If so, when, how, and/or why did you come out?

I am out now. After graduating from college, I slowly started to come out. I was working at a church at the time so it was a process starting with friends and coworkers (I was also working at Panera). But once I was fired from the church, I didn’t really care who knew anymore. I came out because I was tired of hiding who I was. But it was never a giant show. It was always just something I either let people figure out, or just casually mentioned something that they figured it out. Someone finding out your sexual preferences should be the same as them finding out your movie preferences -- organic and not a big deal.
"I came out because I was tired of hiding who I was."

How have Christians hurt you because of your sexuality?

I was forced to resign from a small-group leader position in college because I told some boys in a different group that I was “struggling” with homosexuality (as most Christians tend to phrase it). I told them because I could tell they were as well. I was also fired from my church job for reasons that are still not 100% clear, but lean towards my sexuality (even though they haven’t stated that outright).




What is one thing you wish straight cisgender Christians understood?

You can’t “love the sinner, hate the sin” when the “sin” is the very deepest part of the person.


What is the one sexuality question you're most tired of hearing?

While I know the question is meant to be affirming, it’s closet-homophobic: “who wears the pants in the relationship?” Obviously we both wear pants. And even in heterosexual relationships, this thinking is out-dated and misogynistic.


How does your family handle your sexuality/gender, if you're out to them?

We don’t really talk about it. I know they don’t 100% agree (my mom has admitted to hoping it’s a phase), but it’s not an issue.


What is your favorite thing about being a Christian LGBT?

I’m uniquely positioned to have an influence in two very different, and often conflicted, communities. I can challenge the Christians to be more accepting and loving with a basis in my own experience. And I can show the LGBT community that not all Christians hate. I have the opportunity to sit at both tables (even if both don’t really accept me completely) and create a link between the two.

"I’m uniquely positioned to have an influence in two very different, and often conflicted, communities. I can challenge the Christians to be more accepting and loving... And I can show the LGBT community that not all Christians hate."

What is your greatest fear about being a Christian LGBT?

Being alone forever. I’m going to spend a minute on this one cause it’s been on my heart lately. Dating is hard. I know heterosexual friends who have that issue. But I firmly believe it’s even harder in the gay community. Add my Christianity on top of it and it’s nearly impossible. I’ve literally had people tell me they didn’t even want to be my friend (let alone go on a date) because I’m a Christian. The LGBT community sees the word “Christian”, even when attached to one of their own, and can’t get over their pre-conceived notions of what that means (based, in part, on the actions of Christians).

I don’t really party. I don’t frequent bars every weekend. I don’t get hammered. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. Do you know how much of an outcast that tends to make me in the LGBT community? The bar is where you meet people. The bar is where people socialize. Me? I’d rather be at home watching a movie with some friends than out drinking surrounded by people I don’t know. But that’s not how most LGBT are. And this extensive social scene has a dangerous effect on the dating world.

"I don’t really party. I don’t frequent bars every weekend. I don’t get hammered. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. Do you know how much of an outcast that tends to make me in the LGBT community?"

Not only is it nearly impossible to meet anyone, but because everyone knows everyone it’s impossible to meet someone who isn’t somehow already connected to you by one, MAYBE two, persons. And while this isn’t always a bad thing, it can limit the dating pool if you hold to the friend code of not dating exes. Compound that with the fact that everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everyone's business and you have the biggest issue with dating in the LGBT community:

There’s no commitment. People are in it for the moment, but they know that next weekend they can find someone else and be with it in the moment for them as well. Growing up in a Christian household, though, I was taught that dating and relationships are the real deal. You don’t date someone just for fun, or to pass the time. You do it cause you’re committed to them and want to see what can happen. You try. You give your all. You know it takes work.




But that’s not how the majority of the LGBT community sees it. If it isn’t easy they quit, cause they know they can find something easy within a week. And this leads to disastrous emotional states for people like me who try. They give their all. They find someone they’re interested in and want to try things with them alone. But the other person isn’t that way because, why would they be? They can find three other people to have a fun time with so why commit to one person?

"Christian LGBT... don’t really fit into the LGBT community, but we don’t really fit into the Christian community either."

So at the end of the day, Christian LGBT are often left alone. We try harder than the others which pushes them away. We don’t really fit into the LGBT community, but we don’t really fit into the Christian community either. And we certainly will have just as hard a time finding a date in a church as in the LGBT community (if not harder). So we sit at home, wondering if it’s us that’s the problem, as we watch our friends go from fling to fling, allowing ourselves to be that fling for someone with the hope that we’re not. We feel like we’ll be alone forever because, to us, things are meant to last longer than a few weeks.

And because we’re hopeful and faithful people, and truly believe in others, we give others the benefit of the doubt. We hope beyond hope that this one will not be like the others. But we’re devastated when they are. And each time we pull deeper and deeper into solitude, wondering if it would be easier to be alone forever than to endure the pain, but knowing that would ultimately make us miserable as well. So we put on a smile, and try our best to pretend like everything's okay, when inside we’re screaming. Trying our hardest to fit in, even though we know we don’t, praying that we won’t end up alone -- but secretly feeling like we inevitably will.




Or maybe that’s just me….

[About Nick: Nick Scarantino is a man with many passions living in Birmingham, Alabama. Nick blogs about social- and faith-based issues through an often dissenting theological lens. He also writes fictional stories communicating universal truths in compelling ways, as well scholarly writings addressing common church issues with an emphasis on historical and literary accuracy. Nick also produces music for himself and is beginning to do so for others as well. For more from Nick, visit his website at http://scarytino.com ]

2 comments:

  1. Wow, that's rough. I'm genuinely sorry about your struggles. :(


    Alexa
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    ReplyDelete
  2. HELLO YES I AM A GIRL I WEAR PANTS WHAT ARE THESE OUTDATED IDIOMS I HEAR OF?

    Anyway, I sympathize with your pain in seeking a faithful relationship within the LGBT community. I've read another story that didn't come from a gay Christian, but rather a gay alcoholic who struggled with being part of the LGBT community once she decided to get clean. No matter why people make the personal choice not to drink/do drugs, I think it's really depressing that making that choice could potentially cut you off from THE community—whether one is looking for potential mates or just friends who get it. And, of course, that would be exacerbated by being a Christian... I'm sorry that being LGBT Christian entails those lonely times—I hope God brings meaningful people into your life who can honor your choices and beliefs.

    ReplyDelete

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