I’m free.

Free from the incarceration of an emotionally abusive, Bible-thumping lunatic. I’d been blindsided. Fooled by the facade of a fundamentalist born-again, an emotionally barren delinquent pimping Jesus to disguise the manipulative, self-serving demons festering within.

I’ll try not to bore you my cathartic rant. Suffice to say, I’m safely removed from my tormentor, and writing this column from a serene, yet clandestine location. I feel like I’m in witness protection.

If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that we must continue to rise above the banality of beige people infected with ignorance and hate; the religious bigots and homophobes who consider us fair game.

Radical religion is a bureaucracy I can do without.

Home is supposed to be where the heart is. It’s supposed to be a sanctuary. Never settle for less. If you find yourself in an abusive environment, get out. If you can’t, take steps to make that happen. If you’ve been isolated by familial homophobia or are immobilised by domestic violence, know there is a way out.

There’s  simply no excuse for abuse — physical or emotional. Much like the discriminatory taunts we endure, the only real difference with the latter is there are no visible scars. We carry the pain within.

If you’re going through hell, keep going. Help is available. If you don’t know where to turn, organisations like Twenty10 and ACON’s AVP are a great start.

I’m still reeling from the ordeal. But I’m no victim.

The little tosser can rot in his own propaganda for all I care. Although I do occasionally romanticise about vengeance, or hearing he’s been arrested and locked in a cell where he belongs, living on gruel with an amorous cellmate named Early.

Then I realise that while I may have lost a few battles along the way, I’ve won the war. I took the higher ground, hightailed it out of there, and I never have to look at that mean, snivelling little face ever again.

I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud to be gay. Homophobes are vile, ignorant and unhappy. But we are the happiest people in the world if we choose to be.

After all, the best revenge is living well.

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