By Daphne L. Kanellopoulos
In the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama asserted in his televised speech on May 1, 2011, “This is not a war against Islam.” I posted on Facebook how happy I was that the President said that and I got some responses voicing the opinion that it was unnecessary for him to have said that, and that I was completely ignoring the success of our brave men and women. There is a misconception that Islam encourages terrorism, and that is simply not true. What the President said was very important.
I was baptized Greek Orthodox and, despite my grandparents’ best efforts (which continue), I didn’t really feel that I needed to follow the Greek Orthodox faith. I learned at the age of 16 that boys are brought up to the altar during baptism and girls are not. Had I not already decided I didn’t follow the faith, I would at that point have refused to follow any religion so misogynistic.
This had nothing to do with my sexual orientation. At the time, I was sure I was straight. I identified as a pagan before I identified as a bisexual. For a while before and after I realized that I’m bisexual, I felt that the pagan community was the only community in which I could be safe and accepted.
Today, I still identify as pagan, and I have become more comfortable with people in mainstream religions knowing about my sexual orientation. It generally isn’t a problem. The truth of the matter is that most people just don’t give a s**t. They have their own lives to worry about. Also, even if a religion or a religious leader insists that homosexuality is a sin or abnormal, not all who identify with that religion ascribe to those beliefs. Many believe that people were made however God/Allah/The Universe intended. Not all practitioners of specific religions are anti-gay, and not all Greek Orthodox Christians are misogynistic.
It no longer makes sense to me to be against a specific religion.
Daphne runs a bisexual social support group at the Pride Center of New Jersey. She also submits articles to the Pride Center of New Jersey newsletter and Out In Jersey Magazine.