From now on I’m going to refer to myself as Tony, even though it’s not my real name, because two of us are actually going to be contributing to this blog now.
My first post got me into contact with another gay alumnus, and we found that we shared similar views about our gayness. I figured why not include both of our experiences and perspectives. Any posts from him will be from Jordan (not his real name) and any posts from me will be from Tony.
Jordan wanted his first post to share a bit about his life, so I’m going to follow his lead and also share a bit about mine.
Growing up, I honestly didn’t hear that many disparaging comments about gay people in the Church (although there are plenty of churches that do) besides the hurtful “that’s so gay!” and “faggot,” but these derogative terms are not used solely by Christians. The only conversation I ever heard about homosexuality was that it was wrong and that we should be against gay marriage. I never heard any dialogue about there being gay Christians or that there were Christians with same-sex attraction.
Before college, I thought being gay would go away. I thought if I prayed and just tried hard to not think about it, it would go away. When I hit my freshman year of college, I started to doubt this. It became real to me that I was gay, and once I realized this, my emotional life started to spiral out of control. I started to hate myself. I truly did hate myself. Thankfully, I was never suicidal, but I felt a lot of emotional pain. And it honestly boiled down to being gay. The hardest part was that I had no one to talk to because I intensely feared people’s reactions.
Because homosexuality was always portrayed as something Christians are against, I dared not tell anyone about my attractions because I figured this would make people be against me.
When there is no subtlety in our rhetoric about homosexuality, the Church risks implicitly excluding gay individuals, making people like me feel like we do not belong. When the Church’s only message about homosexuality is on theological discussions, on the wrongness of being gay, on being against gay marriage, people like me feel like we do not belong. I never felt included in the Christian community because I was scared that if anyone knew I liked guys, (1) they would think I was not a Christian and (2) they would not want to interact with me.
I did not know what to do in my depression. I prayed to God to take away my attractions, but they never went away. I felt so unlovable. I felt like no one loved me or could love me — and I’m not talking romantic-love. I’m just talking friendship-love. I earnestly wanted to talk to someone about my attractions, but no one gave me an indication that they were a safe person to talk to.
Then I read an article that changed my life. It was called “Gay at Wheaton.”
I could not believe what I was reading. This guy was open about being gay while at Wheaton. I emailed him with a million questions — mainly about how people specifically treated him when he first came out. He responded that, for the most part, they were loving and they sought out how to support him.
For once, the possibility of being open became real to me. And this started a new life for me.
Fast forward to my senior year of college… I am now open to about 50ish people. My life is filled with many meaningful and close Christian friendships, friendships where I can be vulnerable about all aspects of my homosexuality. These friendships are what made me believe I could be celibate all my life if I am always gay. They would love me and live life with me, and that is what I need. Without these deep Christian friendships my life would be extremely lonely and it would be too hard to believe God does not want me to be in a gay relationship.
This is why it is so important for the Church to figure out how to truly love gay people. We have to show them there is a place for gay people to feel loved in our community, even without a gay relationship.
But, like Jordan, I am still gay. In fact, I too had a very strong crush senior year that would not go away. Whenever I interacted with this guy, my heart would race and I would say some of the dumbest things. Like Jordan, I used to feel guilty whenever I felt attracted to a guy. But now I’ve learn to laugh it off — sort of like a, “Yup, there’s that gay sexual attraction wiring in my brain going off again.” And, of course, there are times when I do indulge those attractions in my mind. For that I do repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. But I also do not dwell in it and make myself feel really bad for it.
And bigger things have begun to open up. This last year I began to grasp the unique gifts God has blessed me with and how He uniquely can use me to impact society for His Kingdom — to help bring redemption to the world. I started to see I could live an exciting life through my vocation.
The only reason I have gotten to this point in my life — where I can live at peace with myself and not think I need a gay relationship — is because of all the tears shed, hugs given, and encouraging truths spoken by friends, They have truly shown me Christ.
My next posts will concern more practical issues, like what it means to love gay people as Christ would, regardless of their beliefs about God or homosexuality and regardless of whether or not they are in a gay relationship.