Thirty years ago on a warm summer evening at Livingstone College in Salisbury, a student came to my office and told me that he was planning to end his life.
I had counseled many students in my time as campus minister for Livingstone – a historically Black college affiliated with the AME Zion denomination – but this conversation was different. The young man before me was struggling deeply with what he felt was a conflict between his sexual orientation and his faith. The discrimination and condemnation he had experienced meant that he couldn’t see a place for himself in the world anymore. As I listened to his story, it struck me that my response could mean the difference between this bright young student living or dying. What he needed was acceptance.