I'm from Driftwood | Nathan Manske | News

LGBT Stories: Coming Out But Keeping The Faith

Gabe Neitz TR



After coming out in high school, Gabriel found classmates and even the football players telling him how awesome he was. Other aspects of his life, however, were much less accepting.

“God was a huge, huge influence on my life. He still is. And that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t come to terms with who I was, and it took so long because I felt like a horrible person.”

Guilt from his mother, who is a minister, and fear of God forced Gabriel back in the closet. Somewhat ironically, it was Gabriel’s praying and evolved belief in what God wants that led him back out of the closet and to his own personal acceptance.

“I feel that all the nights I spent crying and really begging and pleading for God to take these feelings I have for men away...He didn’t. And I don’t believe God can sit up there and see this young boy crying and in so much pain and not do something about it. So I feel like God accepts me for who I am.”


Driftwood ***

Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee embarked on a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD. You can follow IFD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Coming Out in a Cuban Family [tr]
It's Okay to Be Gay in Montana[tr]
Teen Becomes More Popular After Coming Out in Conservative Town [tr]

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  1. I feel for Gabriel. I can only imagine what it might be like to believe that God doesn't love you.
    I believe in God and, although I don't "belong" to any religious denomination, I pray, often several times a day, and deeply feel the love of God and my love for Him.
    Sitting here and imagining the "feeling" of God not loving me is distressing and completely contrary to all my intuition, as well as my experiences of/with God as a "person of faith". It is so obvious to me that God loves us that I can only phrase it as something evil that would enter a person's heart and lead them to believe that they are alone and unloved by God.
    I wish Gabriel all the very best.

    Posted by: Chaq | Sep 29, 2011 8:56:25 AM

  2. Paul R to a religious person you are living an illusion. So live and let live. Your attitude is just as condescending to those that don't believe as you do, as those you bash.

    I agree both sides can be happy but that wasn't really the point of this man's story. It was how he came to terms with his beliefs and his sexuality. His story will resonate with lots of gay men who are held prisoner by homophobic religions. That was what he was hoping.

    Religion is not going away. If we can work to take the hate the gay out of it we will be uplifting the whole world.

    And, if you think atheist are any better, take a look at the thugs in Europe and Asia. Hate doesn't need a God.

    Posted by: Joey | Sep 29, 2011 9:20:00 AM

  3. WOW at some of the comments in this post. Way to be tolerant and accepting...

    Posted by: spider_orchid | Sep 30, 2011 12:32:49 PM

  4. @Joey: Religion is, as a matter of fact, going away, albeit slowly. Your comment about Europe and Asia kind of proves that, since at no time in recorded history has it been as acceptable to be an atheist.

    And to all the people who are criticizing the atheists on here for not being tolerant or accepting, let's be honest here. We're not exactly coming from the same place. It is not hypocritical to be intolerant of intolerance, and anyone who pretends that religion and intolerance aren't synonymous is fooling themselves.

    Posted by: Zell | Sep 30, 2011 10:28:02 PM

  5. I see the self destructive crowd are back, this time spitting hatred at our allies in the liberal church.
    Nothing new. They've been sabotaging our movement in a hundred ways for thirty years. How well I remember them in the early 80s saying that barebacking was more exciting than safer sex. Or was that also just five years ago? How I remember them screaming profanity at anyone who tried to talk about stopping the spread of hiv. Now they just ignore the problem, so maybe things have gotten better. Or maybe this new, self righteous pose is taking all of their evergy. They've always been laughable, but especially now: self proclaimed rationalists who don't know the rules of logic, who ignore mountains of evidence, and whose arguments are stuffed with circular rhetoric.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Oct 1, 2011 2:00:56 PM

  6. The assertion that individuals who believe in God (or some other form of the transcendent) are small minded or ignorant ignores the fact that there are countless intelligent, educated, liberal and self-aware people of faith. One only needs to look to the top educational institutions in the world - Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Chicago, Oxford University - to find many of these individuals, engaged in degree-granting programs within each institution's divinity school. These are people training to be religious professionals, who are compassionate and qualified individuals, progressive in their politics, and affirming of difference.

    Especially within minority communities like ours, which are so embattled from all sides, it would behoove us to stop throwing insults at each other. As a gay man I recognize the need to ban together with all LGBT people - whether atheist or of a particular faith tradition - to battle the adversity we all face. Insulting my faith tradition or that of Gabriel gets us no where; in fact, it only breeds isolation and exclusion.

    And to the people who point to events like the Holocaust as a mode of disproving the existence of God need to remember that the Shoah was perpetrated by humans, creatures endowed with free choice and the ability to uplift or degrade our neighbors. Only we have the ability to stop that kind of intolerance, starting here.

    Posted by: Steven P. | Oct 1, 2011 6:40:40 PM

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