Op-ed: When Chick-fil-A Shocks Your Facebook Feed

For many, the fight over Chick-fil-A has sparked long-postponed conversations. For Justin Michael, it was with his parents.

BY Justin Michael

August 03 2012 5:32 PM ET

A crowded drive-thru on "Appreciation Day"

I am a gay Christian.  This whole Chick-fil-A controversy meant nearly nothing to me until I saw a picture of my conservative parents (whom I love deeply) on Facebook yesterday proudly holding their Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

I broke down crying in front of my computer screen. And since I'm not good with speaking how I feel, I wrote my mother a Facebook message with my concerns about the photos.

She took them down and apologized for the insensitivity.  She was just supporting a man's right for "freedom of speech."

I told her I had thought she was further along with accepting who I was. But I don't think she is. That's my fault. I should have sat down with her and forced the subject.  

Until this Chick-fil-A debacle forced an uncomfortable conversation, we've always pushed it aside and just went on living life. Mom said she loved me and needed time to reply.  She's in a "bad place."  I can understand that.  We have a lot further to go with our relationship. 

I want my mother in my life.  We love each other unconditionally. They had no idea how their Chick-fil-A photos would affect me. I realized I hadn't told them about the countless times I sat crying in my bedroom, alone, from age 10, praying as hard as I  could for God to change who I was.  I wished and prayed, "Please God, change who I am.  I want to be normal." 

There were so many times I wished I was dead. It took me years, but I can now say proudly that I believe, I am a product of God.

Today, I walked past a  Chick-fil-A restaurant and the line was out the door.  I couldn't help but  thinking everyone in that line hated me — and then I thought of my parents.  

Did they hate me too?  Of course, some of these people were just hungry. Some of  them just wanted a piece of chicken or a delicious waffle fry, but I  looked at each one of them and I saw the faces of my parents.  I was devastated. 

I know everyone has a personal opinion of gays.  I'm a regular person.  I have feelings. I have a boyfriend whom I love. I love his family, and I would love for him to meet mine.  I don't go out and lead a promiscuous party life.  I like staying at home, watching a movie on the couch with him, enjoying a glass of wine. One day, I'd love to walk into church holding his hand with rings on our fingers.  

It's funny that a silly chicken restaurant made think so much about my life, but I'm glad it did. 

I know I'm normal.  I just wish the rest of the world  could see that too, especially my parents.

 

JUSTIN MICHAEL is a gay, Christian actor and singer living in New York City.

Tags: Commentary

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