I Do Not Need To Be Saved

8/8/2018

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Before I came out, I knew that there would be people who would question, judge, and berate me for being proud and open about my bisexuality. I knew that there would be those out there who would say I am mentally ill, others who consider me to be fundamentally flawed, and then of course those who simply want me, and everyone like me, to disappear from the Earth altogether; these types of people were who I was prepared for.

Since coming out, I have encountered them time and time again and, while it is never fun to encounter someone with that mindset or attitude, they rarely get under my skin thanks to that fact that I am surrounded by an amazingly supportive group of friends and family. However, there is one something that I was unprepared for before I came out that, more often than not, finds a way to irritate me to no end. In my mind, I refer to them as the saviors.

They are the group of people who, at a glance, appear to be kind, understanding, and at least willing to listen to me and what I have to say about sexual orientation, gender identity, and other relevant LGBTQ+ issues. However, once my piece is said and done, the saviors hit me with the same rhetoric of the groups mentioned above: I’m wrong, I’m flawed, and I need to be fixed. However, a savior is someone who wants to do the fixing, to right the perceived wrongs of my life, typically because they perceive it as their religious duty. They don’t present themselves as an aggressor or as someone that is trying to fundamentally change everything about who I am. Instead, they present themselves as the one who can finally provide the answers and share the right and easy path to having a good life.

So, since this happens to me with a semi-regular frequency, whether it be online or in person, I want to make something perfectly clear to all of the saviors out there: I do not want to be saved. I do not need to be saved. There is absolutely nothing wrong with who I am; there is nothing wrong with those who are like me. There are countless other people out there who would benefit from the time and attention of someone who genuinely wants to provide help, but your misguided attempt to “save” me is not needed or wanted; in fact, I consider it to be a self-serving act, on your end, to help you secure your place in your god’s good graces.

I fully respect the right of people to believe in and practice whatever religion they choose. What I do not respect is having that religion used to shame and belittle me and my life choices, nor do I appreciate being used as a tool to help someone prove how devout they are to their religious order.

I humbly suggest to the saviors out there reading this to direct your efforts and energies elsewhere, because there is nothing that needs to be fixed here. How about you help the homeless, the destitute, or any other group or individual that is actually in need. Why are you wasting your energy on something that is beyond anyone’s control? What makes you think that I want anything to do with your version of a “happy, successful” life?

I find it particularly hypocritical when scriptures and verses are thrown my ways as proof that I am in need of saving because, according to some ancient text, I am in the wrong. Well, there are a lot of things in old religious texts that I’ve seen saviors ignore or contradict without blinking an eye. From my understanding, you either take the entire text as law or you have no reason to attack me for not following it word for word either. If you do, in addition to the word savior, you’ll also be dubbed a hypocrite in my eyes.

I understand that this might ruffle a few feathers, especially for those who do think that these people are just trying to help, but the fact of the matter is that the help people like me need is not from people like this. What we need is understanding, acceptance, and compassion, not to be fixed or saved. The way you can save us is by not trying to make us something we are not. The way you can save us is to let us live our lives freely, and happily, and without the judgement that can far too often cloud what appears to be even the purest of intentions.

Blaize Stewart
Blaize Stewart is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a BA in broadcast journalism and a MA in journalism. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and works as an influencer relations associate for a full-service influencer marketing agency called Faam and as an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University. Additionally, he runs the LGBTQ+ blog Out Loud, a space for members to share their experiences and thoughts on current events and more.