Where do we draw the line?

I have never been good with boundaries.
I mean, I get the theory: you can’t just let people walk all over you, so draw a line at some point and ask people to respect them. I even know how to establish a boundary; it’s easy. The hard part isn’t establishing boundaries, however, but actually holding on to them when they are being challenged.
And that’s what I’m struggling with at the moment. Stepping back into a world of evangelical missionaries and their radical friends means frequent encounters with such people. And if I happen to engage in a conversation with someone who disagrees with my ‘lifestyle’, where do I draw the line? What word is unspeakable? What statement is unacceptable? When do I say ‘stop’ and run away screaming?

This is something I ask myself frequently, especially as the date I leave on approaches.
Some of the people I know there I really care about, and I really hope that somehow, despite our differing opinions, we can make a friendship work. Unfortunately, my identity as a flaming homosexual is a rather personal one. It’s not as trivial as whether I do or do not read fantasy novels like Harry Potter, listen to certain music or work on Sundays — though we all know that can cause just as much of a hassle amongst some denominations — so this different opinion on something as intimate and important as my sexuality (and therefore future relationships) becomes quite challenging to any social exchange.
And if this identity is directly and repeatedly attacked by someone because of their core beliefs, how healthy is it to invest in such people emotionally? And what defines ‘directly and repeatedly attacked’ anyway? Everyone is free to think as they wish, but what words and questions overstep the boundary I ought to set up?

That’s the question that’s spinning around in my brain. I love being gay. Or perhaps more accurately, I love being *me*.

Just as I am.

And I’ve worked so hard to surround myself with people who accept this person I happen to be, I really don’t feel like losing that because I refuse to establish healthy boundaries in toxic friendships.

I feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time in years, I’m not giving that up again.

The question still remains though, where does this leave me? If someone dares speak ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ to my face is that a valid reason to completely cut that person out of my emotional life, even if this means losing two thirds of all my childhood friends? And is it worth it?

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