Reverend Jide Macaulay - Founding Pastor, House of Rainbow CIC
Q. What is it like ‘coming out’ as an LGBT person?
I came out as gay in 1994, it was terrifying and very lonely, I am Black African and from a very conservative Christian family, from Nigeria. I was afraid of losing everything. When I came out I was married to a woman and we just had a child. It was the most difficult decision I had to make and it broke me into many pieces. I felt like a failure but was also relieved that I am now able to speak the truth about who I am. I started my journey from that moment rebuilding my life based on my truth and I have not looked back.
Q. What advice would you give to other LGBT staff or students who may be facing difficulties as a result of their sexuality?
We have to be honest to ourselves first, concealing the truth about our sexual orientation and gender identity in environments that are burdensome takes the toll on our well-being. The best we can do is let our families and loved ones know about our challenges, educate them and also help them come to terms with the new information. Some of them might know already. Don’t engage in religious debates over your sexuality, it is most often more destructive, go along with your human instincts. Don’t isolate yourself, find friends from diverse cultures and background, look for LGBTQ support groups that may also include allies. Socialize and get involved in activities that keeps you grounded and safe.
Q. What is your experience of being LGBT with other identities?
Being gay, Black African, and Christian means that I lived in fear of all that I am for most of my life, I came out as gay when I was 27 years, I am now 53. Being black African, I have heard and been told that you cannot be black African and gay, that homosexuality is for white people and westernized disease. Imagine the confusion when I could do nothing about my same sex attractions. My parents would later vilify me for bringing shame to the culture and disrepute of the family name in Nigeria.
The relationship I had with the church and my faith became one of the most stressful and toxic, I was troubled in finding the best way to reconcile my sexuality, my faith in God and religion. I believed at a point that I was an abomination not just to my family, race and culture but also to God. It was later as I developed my own understanding of God, deep study of queer theology and my sexuality that I was able to fully reconcile. I often affirm, that I am a “Happy Holy Homosexual”. I believe that G.A.Y. means God Adores You, God Accepts You. We would all have different experiences but you must be willing to make adjustment for yourself and never to wallow in self-pity and doubts.