To The Homophobic Pastor & My Gun-Toting Brother

Joel Kaskinen
3 min readOct 12, 2021

I’m standing right next to you. I know you see me. You can hear me. We’ve spoken hundreds of times. But never about anything real or meaningful. I don’t feel like you’ve ever given me the chance to get to know you, and honestly, I know you don’t want to know me.

I terrify you. I see the fear in your eyes. The judgment. You know that I’m not one of you. That scares you. The fear of the unknown, it’s an age old story.

I’m deeply hurt. In one moment, you took my breath away, brought me to tears, and left me with a bottle of Honey Whiskey and a friend I didn’t know I valued as greatly as I do.

In one moment, a crude inside joke that has been told thousands of times between us, was turned sour. You, of all people should know better. “Christians”. “People of faith”. What bullshit. True Christians and leaders aren’t people who judge and hate because of differences.

I stood right next to you, as you said that you don’t officiate same-sex weddings. I listened as my jaw dropped to the floor. I’ve heard you make hateful and judgmental comments before, but this one was the final straw.

I stood next to you, as you followed suit, and made this moment even more debilitating for me, by showing how much you’ve been brainwashed by the Church and their disgusting and problematic beliefs. You know me. You knw what I’ve been through and still chose to make a comment about putting a gun to your head before going to a same-sex wedding.

I hate guns. I hate religion. And I hate bigotry. Yet, you wonder why I don’t like to go back and visit my hometown. Why I don’t come to church with you. It’s because I have lived through bigotry, hate, judgment, and prejudice. I’ve witnessed gun violence. I’ve loved and I’ve lost and I’ve grieved. I’ve battled depression and PTSD and thoughts of suicide. Still you make ignorant comments and you hide behind the walls that have been built around you by a cult of lambs.

On a day that was supposed to be all about love. I felt nothing but hate. I was hurt by you. I felt like I was two feet tall, not the six foot four human that towers over both of you. I felt like I couldn’t celebrate and enjoy myself because I was unwelcome in this space, both as a survivor of suicide loss and ideation, and as a queer identifying person.

Again, I don’t feel that we’ve ever truly taken the time to get to know one another, but I expected more from both of you. It saddens me to know that you’re products of your community — both small town, rural, northern Michigan and the Church — and can’t see past the blinders that have been placed over your eyes.

Take a look in the mirror and discover your own insecurities rather than deflecting onto others. I believe that’s more in alignment with Christianity than the actions you’ve been displaying.

Happy National Coming Out Day from an angry and depressed queer neighbor.