Who am I? a lesbian? a Christian? black? Sam? Samantha? Who am I? There were so many voices who spoke into the answer, voices who made sure I knew what I could and couldn’t be. These voices not only told me my name, but defined my sexuality, my religiosity, and my culture. Whenever I saw a black woman in the mirror, there was someone always in the background to tell me how black, “I wasn’t” and to educate me on how much I wasn’t meeting cultural standards. Somehow my actions negated my slave heritage. I couldn’t just be who God told me I was. I had to wait for others to approve my status as an African American. For some reason, I had to earn permission. Similarly, when I became a Christian, the same voices returned. I was constantly attacked from the outside and inside with statements that said my allegiance to Christ was fraudulent. Statements that started as such, “ A real Christian would not ……”, “If you were truly a Christian , you would be ….” , “Does a real Christian struggle with ….” . Once again, I was told how much I wasn’t meeting the standards. Once again, I found myself waiting for the permission from others to be who I knew I wanted to be. I wasn’t allowed to just declare myself a Christian. I had to act like a Christian, wear clothes that were up to standard, develop the same hobbies a ‘true Christian’, and speak like a true Christian. If I wanted the approval of other Christians I had to earn it. My words simply were not good enough.
So naturally when I claimed that my homosexual desires were not a reflection of identity, my words were not valued. The same voices that told me I wasn’t black, that invalidated my Christian beliefs, made sure I knew that I was nothing more than a lesbian. These voices spoke with power listing reason after reason why ‘ lesbian” was the perfect name for me. Only a lesbian would hold romantic thoughts about the same sex. Only a lesbian desires to be married to another woman. Sam, you don’t fit the criteria for black and Christian but you are most definitely a lesbian , to call yourself any other name is outrageous . For years, I carried the label unable to escape , unable to wear the name I wanted to wear. In my heart , I knew I was a black Christian that struggled with same sex attraction but I wasn’t convincing anyone. I felt trapped and unredeemable.
Then in stepped Christ, and he read all the labels of who I was and wasn’t and with all His power. He gave me his approval. I was black because he created a beauty black baby girl and no one could subtract that from my identity , no matter the type of music I listened to or how I wore my hair. I was a Christian because John 1:12 told me “but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave right to become children of God.” Not only was I a Christian but I was a member of the family of God’ and I didn’t need anyone else’s approval but His and I had it. In His name, I was same sex attracted and not a lesbian because he declared me free from Sin . As declared by 1 Corinthians 10:13,"No temptation had overtaken me " Romans 8:1 declared Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. I was set free so ergo Sin could not define me. The world had tried to give me a name and failed and Christ succeeded .