When Homophobia hits Home / by Kelly Hofer

I’m usually a very emotionally stable person. But days like today have challenged me in ways I’ve never experienced before.

For a little background, I grew up in the fairly liberal 'Green Acres (Hutterite) Colony in Manitoba. I really loved almost everything about the culture but it didn’t work for me to stay there. I am gay, have always been and always will be.  And that is completely at odds with the Christianity that is practiced as a religion at home, or is it?

When I left the colony everyone was taken aback. But when I came out of the closet all hell broke loose on me. The intensity of hate and disgust that was aimed my way by everyone Hutterites everywhere, claiming to be Christian, was utterly inhumane.You can get a good taste of it in these three posts:

I got random phone calls; my inbox was littered with close to a hundred letters of hate, with some support sprinkled in. My Facebook wall was defaced with bible-thumpers and all manner of people out there to make my life a living hell. The term “god made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” it makes me want to projectile vomit.

 At the heart of the issue is the belief held by so many, that I choose to be Gay. I choose to alienate 99% of the people I know, leave the place I grew up in, burn all the bridges, not be able to see family and have my dignity robbed, just so I could be my true self.If it were a choice, I sure as hell wouldn’t have chosen this path. It’s a characteristic I was born with, just like many people are born straight, I was born Gay. Leaving was something I did to make life easier. So I wouldn’t have to feel the hate around me every day, and save myself from depression and/or suicide

Two nights ago and again this morning I called home to ask for permission to visit home for a few days.

 I didn’t get a yes, far from that. But instead I was at the receiving end of a barrage of homophobia like I’ve never experienced. And I have stayed quiet for too long! When the leader of the community I was raised in can’t see beyond his own hate for ‘gays’ in denying me my rights to see family, relatives and friends, the it becomes really personal, really fast. And I’m not staying quiet any longer.

I was told not to come home when my grandpas funeral when he passed away, and now again. This is not right! I have done nothing wrong!

Asking for permission is something all Hutterites have to do when going for visits and I was no exception. But I didn’t even get past saying my name when the homophobia started. And if I’m expected to keep my mouth shut, and not defend myself in the face of it, then one’s expectations were seriously misaligned.

I am a human just like you, I am someone’s son, someone’s grandson, I am the nephew, cousin, and friend of people around you. I have plenty of interests, hobbies, a job, and quirks that make me who I am. My defining feature is NOT my being gay, that is merely another facet that makes me who I am.

 And of course all you imagine when you hear that I’m gay, is sex. SEX, SEX, SEX. Not being able to see past your own stereotypes and preconceived notions is a fault of your ignorance in this field and sheer deafness when someone tries educating you. And believe me, I tried to reason with you, you chalked it down to having a big mouth. I have same right to fall in love as you do. To feel comfortable in a relationship as you do. To feel loved, and to love. Have you ever heard me saying that your love is abnormal, no. And I expect the same.

You claim to speak on behalf of all people at home on the colony, do you really? 
The only grounds you hold on to, to support your homophobia is some hand-selected quotes from the Old Testament. And in that there are so many holes in your argument that make it all but opinion. I am not a master of Bible interpretations, but this guy is: Read this essay!


I choose to leave the colony because I realize that it’s easier to pluck myself out of a culture, than to make a whole culture change for me and other people like me. Is that not enough?? Must I be tormented by your homophobia all the time?

I was told outright that I couldn’t come home until I change myself, which is to say; I am never allowed to visit home again until I’m not gay anymore.   

There are plenty of gay Hutterites. I know a large number of them, as they have trusted me with their secret. Many still live on the colony, in constant fear of being found out and ostracized. Must every one of them go through what I’ve gone through, being one of the first ones to come out publicly. Will you really torment everyone to the point of loosing the will to live?

You don’t have to allow gay marriage, or even full-fledged relationships in the Hutterite colonies. But for everyone’s sake, please love thy neighbour as yourself. Treat us like humans, keep your homophobia inside. Stop sending people that have been found to be gay out of the colonies. It is not morally right to deem your love superior to my love or any other LGBT love.