MY NAME IS MATTHEW
My name is Matthew, and I am a grade 12 student at Kingsway College, a Seventh-day Adventist high school in Oshawa, Ontario. I am 18 years old.
To some, I have a strange and somewhat obsessive love of Narnia and all things medieval. I grew up in the Adventist Church and consider myself a faithful Christian. I am also gay. But, to me, that is only one of the many things that I am. Besides Narnia, I love Lord of the Rings and all that fantasy medieval stuff. My life goal is to have a castle of my own one day. I have plans for that.
I live about an hour east of Toronto, Ontario, in a city called Oshawa. It’s a pretty notable place in the Adventist community in Ontario. The Ontario Conference is here and so is my high school, elementary school, and the church of 1000+ members. There are also many other Adventist churches in the area so there are a lot of Adventists nearby.
It is difficult to understand what people’s attitudes are towards the subject. I know there are many supportive people. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have received any negative treatment by anyone. I think the majority of people are just ignorant and unaware of what life is like for an LGBT person. I feel that most people are genuinely loving and kind and that if more people would come out, the attitudes towards LGBT people would change for the better. That being said, I am still very cautious of who I tell.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my sexuality and God is that God is not petty. God cares about our health, happiness, and, above all, how we are making the world a better place around us. I’ve found that God is so much bigger than the concepts of gender, orientation, and sexuality; and to be denied access to heaven because of this issue completely contradicts His personality. I believe God loves me more than enough to be able to accept this aspect of my character. And since I was born this way, I don’t see why there would be any issue at all.
I first heard about Kinship briefly from my school chaplain, who was the first person who I told and is very supportive. But I became a member after my chaplain put me in contact with Jaden Rajah, SDA Kinship’s Director of Youth Interests, who counseled me and introduced me to the Kinship community.
For me, it’s been very eye-opening and comforting just knowing that there are other people of the same faith as me who have gone through the same struggles that I go through. Sometimes, since I am the only somewhat open person in my community that I know of, it can feel like I’m alone with this struggle. But Kinship youth and the support of my friends and family assures me that I’m not.
My friend and counselor, Jaden Rajah, has been a huge mentor to me. The two people who have helped me the most would definitely be my chaplain and Jaden. I was fortunate enough to meet with Jaden in October after my school visited Burman University (an Adventist university in Alberta, Canada, for College Days, an opportunity for high school students to visit Burman. Jaden has been a huge help by talking to me when I felt depressed and lonely, when I was struggling accepting myself for who I am, and for helping me reconcile my faith and my orientation. He has been a huge mentor and inspiration for me and I’m sure for many others. His bravery is something that I wish I could have as I continue my life in the Adventist and Kinship communities.