I mentioned in “some of Tony’s story” that I’ve gotten really mad about being gay.
But I don’t really get that angry very often. I am, however, an intense person; I like to complain and whine – partly joking half the time – and I’m sort of a drama king. It’s mostly a humor thing for me, and I think (think) people find it funny. But I rarely get angry, except for this one time…
I used to be pretty good at faking being straight, at least when it came to people asking me about girls. It’s not like I had an emergency “Homosexual Orientation Masking Operation” – it was more that I really would try to convince myself that I liked a certain girl. The guys around me talked about girls all the time, who was cute and who wasn’t, and who they want to date (or do other things with). I wanted to fit in, to just “be a guy” like everyone else, so I imitated them. I would try to follow the “Christian dating script” because that was how my life was supposed to go, at least according to everyone else. And I really used to believe that I would follow the common pattern – find a girl, date her, and marry her – because I thought my gay attractions would just disappear. I figured it was merely a sin I chose to struggle with because that was the only description of homosexuality I was hearing.
So I would seriously try to convince myself that I liked certain girls. I duped quite a few people that I liked girls because I said the right things and dropped the right hints. I did all this because I didn’t have my own self – my own reasons for behaving. I didn’t really base my decisions on who I was in Christ and what was actually best for my life; instead, I based them on what the surrounding culture was telling me I should do in order to fit in.
Once I started to face my gay attractions, admitted they were real, and became honest with myself, I stopped convincing myself that I liked certain girls, which in some ways was a huge relief because it freaked me out to think that I might marry somebody who I really didn’t feel like marrying at all, much less be sexually active with. Anyone who carefully watched the “interest” I had in a girl would realize that there was almost zero sexual passion from my end. In fact, the thought of kissing a girl kind of grosses me out a little bit. That’s probably weird for some of you to hear, but that’s how it is.
By my junior year at Wheaton I no longer had a girl I was “interested” in. Ask me what girl I liked, and I would probably hesitate, look befuddled, and stammer out the name of one of the girls who I am friends with…. “well, uhhhhhhh, I mean, what’s her face is cute and stuff, yeah.”
“So you gonna ask her out?”
“I mean, maybe, yeah…… sometime in the future, I dunno, I’m too busy and stuff, and….and…ummm…and… I don’t even know if she likes me. And it just isn’t good timing, you know? I’m way too busy for a relationship.”
“Oh, come on, don’t let practicality ruin your chance of a relationship. Love is so much more important than that! Ask her out!”
“Yeah, uhhh, I mean, you’re right, maybe I will do that at some point.”
I’ve always felt so gay in those moments. There was one conversation of particular note that took place my senior year at Wheaton:
There were five or six of us guys all sitting around in the living room of our house. I didn’t know them all very well, and only one of them knew I was gay. They all started talking about their crushes. I don’t know why I didn’t bolt when this started; for some incomprehensible reason I lacked the foresight to realize that they were going to ask me too.
“So, Tony, what about you, who have some of your CFAs (crush from afar) been?”
Crap. I was caught TOTALLY off guard this time, and I wasn’t prepared to lie or make up the name of a girl or anything. So I said the most self-conscious thing possible.
“Uh, no one.”
“Dude, come on! Tell us! Come on, we’re trying to build intentional, holistic community!”
“Seriously, no one. I haven’t really had a crush since sophomore year.”
In my head, all I was thinking, “They know you’re GAY! They’re all thinking it! It’s so obvious! You blew it! Cover blown! You’re ruined!” (they probably totally weren’t thinking this)
Thankfully, the one guy in the room who did know I was gay diverted the conversation and immediately started to talk about something else. Thank goodness for him.
I absconded from the conversation feeling humiliated, isolated, awkward, different, and so very gay.
I went upstairs and cried.
The interaction triggered a flood of emotions. “Why do I have to be gay? It isn’t fair!!!! I should be able to have socially acceptable crushes and relationships just like everybody else!”
I went to bed feeling depressed, and I woke up…..angry. I was so angry. Angry that my life was different. Angry that I had to experience an awkward interaction. Angry that I was never going to get married. Angry that I was gay. Angry that life wasn’t fair.
The same conversation-diverting friend and I talked later that night, and thankfully his loving presence and Christ-likeness took the anger and pain away.
It will probably not be long before I am once again angry about being gay. I don’t doubt that.
But I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay that my life isn’t fair and that I’m not some special victim of unfairness.
Is it fair that people are born blind? Is it fair that there are orphans? Is it fair that people die of cancer? Is it fair that children have abusive parents? Is it fair that natural disasters kill some people but not others? Is it fair that people lose their jobs even if they are the best at them? Is it fair that there are people in poverty? Is it fair that there are heterosexual singles who desire a relationship but never find someone?
Is it fair that I’m gay? No.
All of us have to deal with something that is simply unfair. All of us have hardships. All of us have pain. Some people experience more unfairness and suffering than others, and we should go especially out of our way to help and love these people…
But is life about fairness? No.
Was it fair that Jesus died on the cross for us? No. But He did, and praise God for that!
Life is not about fairness. It’s about knowing Jesus and His love for us, following Him because of that love, and giving ourselves entirely to Him and His redemptive plan. And when we do that, God will do something beautiful with our lives even if we don’t see it or don’t know what it’s going to be.
Jesus’ unfair death has saved countless lives.
And that’s why I trust God even though my life may seem very unfair sometimes. By following what I believe is His desire for my life (like not becoming romantically involved with a guy), He will provide me with something far more beautiful than I could have possibly come up with for myself. And that really is something to rejoice in.