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An Open Letter to Lil Nas X: A reflection on how the artist’s new song and music video is affecting queer communities.

Congratulations to you! I’m so glad to see your new song doing so well. Of course, we both know not everyone is as excited. It’s nice to see that you remain unbothered by the backlash, and can simply enjoy the art you’ve created.

I must admit, if Satan shoes or your music video had been released a few years ago, I would’ve been more than a little wary. I’m sure my high school would have even put together some kind of lecture addressing the impurity and danger of it all.

Like you, I grew up in the church, and in the closet. I was good at being a Christian too. I was even a school chaplain and worship leader for a while. And yet, where my friends could talk with me about difficulties in their faith, I knew if I shared how I struggled the response would be different.

During this time in my life, I sought help from a teacher at school. He became a mentor of mine, and in little to no time I was spending lunch periods with him to study how to stop my feelings of “same sex attraction”. This same man would shortly become the very man to tell me if I died any time soon I was probably not going to Heaven.

I’ve separated myself from the Christian faith at this point, but not before I had developed an incapacitating fear of Hell.

The work that you are doing through your music and platform is so important, and it’s obvious that you are aware of this. You know just how common it is for queer people of all ages to battle with this fear of God and damnation, and you found a way to change the narrative.

Your reclaiming of Hell is perceived by so many Christians as a testament to the dangerous and wicked lifestyle that comes along with queerness. However, your video has shown me the power that grows from accepting and loving who you are.

In a less than three minute video, you’ve made a powerful statement. Rejecting the paradise that is held over the heads of too many struggling queer folks is a reminder that shame is not the only option. Happiness, confidence, and fulfillment is attainable when we recognize that queerness is not a mistake,
is not dirty or shameful, and does not have to be dictated by those who find it to be such.

Thank you for using your voice to encourage our community in a real and necessary way.

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