(Note: Blue Babies Pink is like an audio book. Start with the Prologue, then Episode 1, Episode 2, etc.) For nearly a decade, Brett Trapp kept a secret journal of thoughts on being gay and Christian, knowing one day he'd shout the story he feared most. On a Wednesday morning in late 2016, he logge…
"My whole life, I'd been taught that God's design for the world was men and women getting married and making babies. This formed family units which were the building blocks of society. So it made sense that the institution of marriage would lead to great human flourishing."
"For the first time I began to wonder if this—all of this—was about more than sexuality. I began to wonder that maybe I'd been focused on the wrong thing all along. I began to wonder if this was more about the junk I'd been ignoring, than the one glaring thing that had consumed me for so long. And maybe—just maybe—if I could find some peace there, I could find peace everywhere..."
"When I understood that, I realized most of my stresses in life came from this subterranean sense of self-hate that I carried around with me each day. Being unaware of the self-hatred inside of you is like walking through life with a backpack full of dead skunks. The stink is coming from you, but you're convinced it's everyone else's problem."
"And I believed that, if God wanted to love me—to hug me—He'd do it through my community. His people would surround me. They'd carry me. They'd love and encourage me on hard days. They'd push me forward when I couldn't walk anymore. God uses community to sustain us when we can't sustain ourselves. I learned that then."
"Jesus was so kind to me that day. He was so kind to send me a friend like Kelly. He was so kind to prepare that moment and those biscuits and that gravy. It's easy to get caught up in the ways God has let us down. And then, His grace comes crashing down—kamikaze-style—right into our lives when we least expect it. It is a glorious explosion."
"I would have done anything to just not be alone, to have at least 1% of hope that I wouldn't feel like this forever. And people who have felt hopeless before know that 1% of hope is a whole lot of hope. That's all I needed, but the Bible was clear. I had to figure out life without it."
"And still other failures feel like brands seared deep into the soft flesh of our souls. After the initial pain, they scab over, then scar over. And looking at it each day, we get used to it. It begins to look more like a birthmark than a brand. And we may even forget that it was put on us. We may forget life before it. We may forget that failed moments aren't supposed to stay with us forever. After all, it was just a moment. And moments never last."
"Closets are dark, and when the gay child—or in my case, young professional—decides to stuff his soul in there, it has a warping effect. It forces you deeper inside yourself. You become a mapless soul in a haunted maze, and you lose your bearings on who you really are. You begin to furiously reshuffle your inner life to present to the world the parts they want to see..."
"Deep inside every workaholic man is a little boy who never felt big enough, strong enough, worthy enough. And that little boy can be very loud. He reminds the man of his lacking, of his lessness. Work is very noisy in the soul, so the workaholic uses that noise to drown out the little boy. Obsessive work can't deliver peace, but that's not the point. The point is that it's louder than the pain. This was me..."
"A lot of my friends got married in their mid-20s. And I began to notice a trend: When friends would get married, you wouldn't hear from them much anymore. This was new to me, because, before that, friends had always been portable. I could collect friends in elementary school and take them with me to middle school. I could collect a few more in middle and take them with me to high school. And then a lot of those stuck with me through college. Life before 22 was just moving from one single enclave to another. But not this time. This was different..."
"Yet while I was praying against it, I was simultaneously denying that same-sex attraction was a thing in my life. Back then, I denied that same-sex attraction was an intrinsic part of me. If anything, it was a clinger, a hanger-on, an invader, a tumor, a trespasser, a most unwelcome guest. It's like the 1986 movie Aliens, where Sigourney Weaver fights off a horde of alien invaders inside her spaceship. Same-sex attraction was like one of those aliens—not part of the ship—just freeloading, wreaking havoc, and ripping people apart. So it was simply a matter of beating it back into outer space. The problem with fighting same-sex attraction is that, unlike a 12-foot tall alien, it's invisible. You know it's there. You see its effects. But you can't touch it, can't punch it, can't roast it with your flame-thrower. You feel like a shirtless old man in whitey-tighties swinging wildly in the night at a ghost he swears he's heard a thousand times. And fighting an invisible enemy is something crazy people do. Being gay can make you feel crazy sometimes."
"I think I was like a lot of people in that I WANTED it to be a choice. If gay is a choice, I thought, then it makes the Christian theology of it so much simpler. Religion is hard, because it requires faith. It's mysterious and, at times, inscrutable. Faith is the bridge that gets us through the uncertainty, but it's tough to hang with faith sometimes. Because of this, people of faith love the parts of it that are certain and agreed upon by everyone. I know I do..."
"But those who have kept pet secrets know they are hard to keep caged. They thrash and bite and wiggle around inside of you. They aren't well behaved, and they have a life of their own. All that inner chaos had become too much for me. I couldn't keep hiding it, but I needed someone who I could trust 100 percent. I needed ironclad, lockdown, never-tell-a-soul, government-grade confidentiality. I'm talking Area 51 style secrecy. People with big secrets know there's a giant difference between someone you can 99% trust and someone you can 100% trust..."
"Maybe it was because that cat slept in my bed every night. I mean . . . my brothers aren't gay, and they DEFINITELY DIDN'T have a cat sleeping with them every night. Maybe it's because our family had small dogs. Maybe we should have had bigger, manlier dogs. idk. Maybe it was because dad never took me hunting when I was a kid . . . shooting wild animals might have made me straight."
"Because of its near universality, heterosexuality is one of the most unifying forces in all of humanity...Imagine missing that one key piece of your humanity and what that would feel like. It's a slow terror. And once you are gripped by that fear, a glowing red-hot brand ascends from the depths of the earth, up through rock and soil, and bursts forth to sear three black words right onto your heart . . . You. Are. Broken Part of being young and gay is the feeling of being broken, of being trapped inside a fleshy machine that is inexplicably flawed. And you have no idea why."
"One of the lesser known burdens of being gay is that you live a lot of your life in your head. At a young age, you start having little conversations with yourself. And you keep having them—over and over and over again. And the conversations evolve . . . they intensify. They're all about how you got this way, and what went wrong, and what if so-and-so finds out, and what if _________ or _________ or _________ happens. These conversations are led by fear, fueled by self-doubt, and they all end with the same urgent warning echoing around in my skull: "TELL NO ONE.” A beautiful world spins around us—wild with life—pulsating with the beats of festival-joy, and here we are, staring at a cracked mirror hung crooked on the concrete walls of our minds. And this constant internal chatter, this constantly bubbling brain babble is never-ending . . .It's time-consuming, stressful, exhausting. It's a unique prison. It's an on-ramp to narcissism. It's like a starving man diving into a feast and then discovering it's his own soul he's eating..."
"Part of me wonders if I was running back then, running from the very faint idea that just maybe this badness was inside of me, like a crocodile—waiting—nestled deep in cold mud at the bottom of a lake. Maybe sports was my attempt at misdirection—a front, a mask, a smokescreen. I don't know, really. I know I genuinely liked sports, and they were fun for me. I always felt very manly in high school, at least in the Southern traditional sense of the word. I didn't mind sweating or getting dirty. I've always liked being a man..."
"A few years earlier, in junior high, I first noticed that I looked at the boys more. It was very subtle and innocent. It was like I envied them...I wanted them to like me. It didn't feel like a sexual attraction back then, but they definitely caught my eye. It never crossed my mind that this could be ho-mo-sex-u-a-li-ty. But I knew what the "h" word was by then because the Christian culture had already schooled me in it. I knew allll about it..."
"For me church had always just been a very ho-hum thing. Pastor's kids can get jaded to it all because we're around church stuff so much. It's just another part of your life like school or sports or video games. That's how Christianity was to me. If Christianity was a football game, I'd just casually glance at it on the TV on Sunday afternoons. But I certainly wasn't on the field..."
"Being a preacher’s kid in a small town is a low form of southern royalty, and I was aware of this at an early age. As a kid I could basically wander the halls of our big old church at will, anytime, without interference. No one questioned a Trapp boy—not the organ player, or my Sunday School teachers, or the janitor...especially not the janitor."