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Cases Like Mine: College Admission Essay Sample

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My dad is the preacher at the red-brick Southern Baptist church that I’ve attended since I was seven. It’s just down the road. Sunday school at 9:30, “big church” at 10:30. Youth Group on Wednesday nights. As the preacher’s kid, I know all the ins and outs; I’m the first one at church and the last one to leave. I used to be in the youth praise band (I’d play the piano and sing). I know all the answers, the covenant lineage, the story of Hezekiah and Obadiah and all the obscure prophets. I know the Bible verses by heart. I wore the food pantry t-shirts, the inspirational bracelets; I sang the songs, raised my hands, even cried a few times. I was the model Christian, the one who wears that “Jesus is my homeboy” shirt without any irony.

And then I got my first boyfriend.

Hear me out: I am in no way implying that gay people can’t be fully devout Christians. They, we, can. But when I heard my Sunday school teacher equate gay people with ax-murderers, when my church friends would throw around the word “faggot,” when my own father would speak so openly against the idea of LGBT rights, it hurt. A lot. When you suddenly become ostracized from the identity in which you once felt so comfortable, so at home, you look at things differently. I became on outsider, even though no one at church knew it. I still played the part. Sang the songs. Wore the shirts. But things were changing inside.

It’s not like it happened all at once, either. I didn’t forget my own old beliefs overnight. In fact, that’s part of what made the whole gay identity that much harder. I was so ashamed and thought Jesus would be disappointed, to say nothing of my parents. But through this early stage of self-discovery, there was a pair of strong arms (well, stronger than mine at least) that were open and accepting. His name was Jared, and he was a senior and I was a sophomore when we met. And he was an Atheist, and I was still convinced that I was a Christian. So in my mind, this boy, whom I cared about a lot and who made me feel remarkable, was going to Hell. Eternal torment. For what? I shared my concerns with Jared and he listened; he didn’t try to convince me that Jesus was dumb or that I should give up on my faith. He encouraged me to think for myself.

The week before my senior year started, I came out to my parents. I wrote them a letter, went to my friend’s house, and texted them instructions to read it.

“You can come home now,” was their response.

I drove home, blasting Macklemore’s “Same Love” for strength. I envisioned two extremes: being kicked out, told I had to pay for my own college. I feared that. But I hoped for the second extreme, what every LGBT youth hopes for after coming out: parents who say “So what? We knew that. Bring you boyfriend over. Let’s put an equality sticker on the car.” I hoped really hard, wished really hard, for that. And it didn’t work. They were crushed. They didn’t kick me out, but they cried a lot. They didn’t yell, but they looked at me with such disappointment. A few days later we were in Dallas, sitting in a Christian Therapist’s office who specialized in “cases like mine.”

Cases like mine.

“What the hell does that mean?” was my question. Cases like mine? A seventeen-year-old kid whose foundation crumbled around him while he tried to hide it from his own family for fear of rejection? A kid whose friends have been more supportive of him than his parents? Did he mean gay kids? Gay people who wanted to “change?” I didn’t, I don’t, want to change.

Let me tell you about me, Mr. Counselor, Mother, Father, person reading this essay, God: I can give love, and I can feel love. I don’t know exactly what I believe any more about religion, but I’m looking. I am searching for truth, under rocks and on top of mountains, on the streets and in the not-so-pretty parts of people. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Well, then I’m freer than I’ve ever been. I am running faster, stretching out my arms farther, feeling deeper, singing louder, loving harder. It’s been a screwed-up, terrifying, beautiful, incredible journey.

Cases like mine. Let me tell you about me:

I am strong.

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