LGBT Feature: Eden’s Story
In our feature, the term gay refers only to the attractions and orientations of individuals and not to their sexual activity. The writers have left out any reference to positions on moral and political questions to avoid polarizing discussion.
For those of us who are not LGBT, we hope these stories provide a glimpse into the lives of some of our brothers and sisters at Calvin. For those of us who are LGBT, we want you to see that you are not alone, and the Calvin community cares deeply about you.
Many of the students who are LGBT have not experienced a supporting, caring community at Calvin, but after we hear stories and place a face on an issue, we may still take our differing positions, but we will refuse to do battle. Join us as we listen attentively, respond thoughtfully and love graciously.
Eden McCune is a senior from Odessa, Ukraine, studying film and social work. She is also involved with Sexuality and Gender Awareness (SAGA). After leaving Calvin, she plans to continue studies to get a master’s degree in social work and work for a non-profit organization.
I’ll start out by saying that writing this article has shown me how unsafe I feel as someone who is bisexual.
With every word I write, I fear that this could be a problem for my future job prospects or even for my boyfriend’s job prospects.
I fear that people outside of Calvin who I have not come out to will get a hold of this article and think poorly of me and my family.
However, despite these fears, and perhaps because of them, I feel that I need to tell my story so that perhaps future students at Calvin need not have these fears.
Fear is a debilitating thing. Fear is what I felt when I realized that I had a crush on one of my female friends junior year of high school.
Fear is what caused me to run headlong into an emotionally abusive relationship with a man to prove to myself and others that I was not attracted to women. Fear is what I felt about God, because how could he love such a broken being?
Fear has also wormed itself into my time at Calvin, as the topic of homosexuality has crept into many of my classes. Classmates have treated the topic as merely an academic argument to discuss and debate.
Classmates have called people like me unnatural. And, in a corner of the room where the professor can’t hear, classmates have called people like me fags. This has caused me to feel invisible, voiceless and unwanted.
Fear is not the only thing that I have felt, but also loneliness as a bi woman. There are very few openly gay or bi women on Calvin’s campus.
To give some perspective, in my entire time at Calvin (I am a senior) I have known of six gay and bi women at Calvin as opposed to at least 19 gay and bi men.
I have read several Christian books about homosexuality, but none of them from a female perspective. These things make me feel out of place at Calvin and in the Christian community.
Fortunately, fear and loneliness are not the only emotions that I have felt at Calvin. God has enveloped me into the safe pockets of Calvin College.
I have many people in my life who listen to me and support me as I struggle. My roommate freshman year took the time to listen and get to know me.
My parents have shown me love and are trying hard to understand me. My friends have gone out of their way to be there for me, and professors and chaplains here at Calvin have guided me and prayed for me.
These people have varying views on homosexuality, but they all have shown me love.
One of the most amazing things I have heard was when I told someone that I was planning on telling my pastor that I was bi.
We had been arguing about homosexuality up to this point, but then the person paused, and said, “If that conversation does not go well, come over to my house and my family and I will cry with you.”
I cannot express to you the immense warmth I felt from this offering. It was in that moment that I understood what community in Christ meant.
And that is what I want for the future of Calvin College — for us to listen to each other, understand each other and cry with each other. If that happens, the future LGBT students of Calvin College will feel — and be — welcome and safe.