glad to be gay

I am glad that I am gay.

That may be confusing and surprising for some of you to read. Before jumping to any conclusions, hear me out.

If you knew me in high school, you wouldn’t recognize me today (literally you wouldn’t recognize me because I am uber-attractive now). My personality has gone through dramatic shifts in the last eight years. There are definitely elements of me that have remained fairly stable; I’m still (generally) an intense person, I still get super bogged down in details, I still like to over-analyze things, I still like to take charge of a group, and I still don’t know how to be self-disciplined when it comes to healthy habits (I always say that I’m going to *work* on this, but I still find myself being sleep-deprived and never eating breakfast). Those of you who know me are probably chuckling at my own description and are also probably inserting your own.

But there are also parts of me that exist now that used to never exist. Why the difference?

Thanks to God’s grace: I plunged into processing my sexuality, and this totally changed me. Before admitting that I was gay, there wasn’t exactly a real Tony. There was a fake Tony. I wore a mask. We all know this metaphor of wearing masks —- we shape our behavior in certain ways so people will have a particular perception of us. But for me, it wasn’t intentional. I didn’t realize that I was doing this; I had convinced myself that this fake me was the real me.

If you would look at my life in high school, you would clearly see where my priorities laid: grades and being involved in every possible club or activity. I had (still somewhat have) an achievement complex, and I poured this into building a perfect college resume. I was that annoying kid who complained when he got a 94% (I should have gotten those right! What was I thinking?) while everyone else was happy that they got a B. I cried once to a teacher because of one reading quiz that was a 60% (my first F), and this quiz was worth seriously like 0.0001% of my grade.

What was going on? Why was this stuff so important to me?

I had to have something glamorous to define me because the actual (gay) me was not glamorous. I wanted people to look at me and think, “that’s the really overly-involved smart guy; we all think he’s awesome.”

But relationships based on impressing people with your achievements aren’t really relationships. People in relationship with me were in relationships with a bunch of As on a report card and not really me. Pretty boring friendship if you ask me. And it showed. My friendships were fairly shallow. They were solely based on intellectual conversation or a work partnership to accomplish some sort of task. I could not have deep, intimately connecting relationships with people because there was no person with which to have a relationship. I was just a report card, a list of achievements, a college resume. Since I didn’t know me, other people weren’t going to know me.

(Side note:  I’m writing this in a Starbucks right now and the barista is super attractive, and it’s very distracting….my thoughts are clean right now ….it’s just distracting.)

Then it all came crashing down.

Long story short: I realized a lot of people didn’t like me despite my impressive accolades. I remember the event vividly. I posted this ridiculously judgmental post on Myspace about how I was disgusted with any Christian who would call themselves a Christian yet see the movie 300. (I’m not kidding, I seriously said this). A girl in my class confronted me, and for some reason, it all slapped me in the face: I was judgmental, I thought I was better than others because of my accomplishments, and no one really liked “me.” On top of this, I started receiving rejection letters from colleges (looking back on it, I have no idea why I was convinced I would get into some of those colleges).

My academic and extracurricular accomplishments suddenly felt completely worthless. I realized my drive behind all of these was to get people to like me, but it wasn’t working. They didn’t like this Tony who was obsessed with his grades and who exhausted himself with commitments.

With this artificial me being chipped away, I started to see the real me. I think this is partly why I started to admit I was gay my freshman year of college —- I had no other me to distract myself with, no other way to construct my life to generate a form of shallow affirmation from others.

Unfortunately, seeing the real me involved digesting acutely painful feelings. — I had to work through all the negative messages I had heard about gay people, all the lies, all the feelings that I was unlovable by others. I could no longer run from these. Thankfully, God put people in my life to help me through this process, but there have been (and still will be) incredibly painful moments.

But those painful moments molded me for the better, and it was absolutely necessary that I went through them. The only way I was ever going to accept myself, to be myself, to stop chasing artificial  means for people to like me, was if I faced my homosexuality head on and surpassed the hurdle that I was unlovable. Otherwise, I would never be able to see me. Think of it this way: There could be an absolutely beautiful painting, but if there was an unattended splotch of red paint on it, we don’t see the beauty in the painting, we see the red splotch. I could not see the beauty of who I was because all I could see was “you’re gay and no one loves you because of it.” As long as that red splotch is there, we’re probably going to hide that painting and put a different one up.

Now that I’ve begun to move past this negative message, the red splotch has shrunk significantly, God has allowed me to marvel at just how beautifully He has created me and just how much the Holy Spirit has been transforming me into someone very unique for His Church.  But part of that transformation, the refining of my soul, was only possible because of the unique challenges I faced due to my sexuality.

For instance, my ability to empathize with people, to try and understand their perspective has only been made possible because I’m gay. I know what it’s like to just wish people unconditionally loved and accepted you, I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong. And this has compelled me to always try and include others and understand their perspective. I have deeper, more intimate relationships with people because  of this. We don’t know the story of others, we don’t know what hurt or pain they’re going through, and the only way we can help them is if we try and reach out — to show them that they can trust us and that they will always be loved.

I fail at this all time, but I do know that I am probably 20,000 times (I used a rigorous formula to accurately calculate this) better at this than when I was high school. And I am absolutely nowhere near as judgmental as I used to be. I have truly seen the Holy Spirit refine my life because of the experiences I’ve gone through from being gay. Even though God didn’t make me gay, He has been sanctifying me through this whole process of pursuing faithful stewardship of my sexuality, equipping me to better serve  and impact others.

And that’s why I’m glad that I’m gay, at least in that regard.

-Tony

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8 thoughts on “glad to be gay

  1. You say that God did not make you gay, so what is there to be glad about? I understand that you have moved away from being driven by grades and external success to more authentic compassionate relationships with people and that is something to rejoice in. But as Christians we believe our attraction to men is not from God because he can’t have made us gay and thus you cannot act on your attraction without sinning and offending God.
    So what can we do? Where does our gay attraction come from and why does God allow it when it is just torture for those who somehow have it?

    • I think it would be more accurate for you to say that “your christian sect currently believes that your attaction is not from God” . Not all Christians believe as you do. There are a number of affirming Christian sects that reject your view. On a more personal level I am gay and Christian and I absolutely reject your view and don’t believe that you should speak for me. I am attracted to men and it would be unnatural and cruel to pretend to love a women or to marry a woman just to have a sham marriage. I am very happy with my partner and believe that to be the natural union for us and what is right for us. Additionally, the large bureacratic patriarchial churches always want the status quo, they always move at a glacial pace on social justice issues. They never lead. It is the smaller congregations and sects that thrash throught the issues, debate what is right and just, and lead the way. Eventually the big ones catch up. We have seen that play out in the fight against slavery, giving women the right to vote, fighting against the ban on interracial marriage, should women be ordained, can ministers marry, and now on gay unions and marriage equality. But they do come around, just slowly.

  2. I was absolutely in love with this post until the end when you say, “even though God did not make me gay”. . . What do you mean by this?

    If God placed all these people and circumstances in your path for a reason, what makes you think He did not intentionally “make” you exactly as you are, for a reason as well?

    Personally, I don’t believe that God is an “external” source outside of ourselves that requires acceptance and love, etc. or has the ability to “punish” us, as a human being might. . . but that God is INSIDE of all of us. . . we are all a part of each other. If God, our Creator, is endless love and creativity and we are creations of that, then all of those things are in us as well. We are inherently perfect exactly as we are, right now. It is in striving to be something else, somewhere else, something “better”. . . that we suffer. It’s as if we’re saying to God- to Life itself- “you didn’t do it right, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be”. . . and honestly, who the heck are we to say that?

    You are completely amazing and beautiful the way you are. And being in touch with who you really are is even more of a blessing because you are able to connect with other people in such a meaningful intimate way.

    Continue gracing others with your love and kindness. Big hugs. From one whole, self-loving gay to another 🙂

  3. I also did not understand what do you mean when you say God didn’t make you gay.I mean, I though this blog was about understanding that being gay is not something you can choose, and if you can’t choose being gay, then I think God may made you just this way. You know, like somewhere in the bible was a man that was blind and someone asked Jesus why he was blind since he was born, it was because of his sin or because of his parent’s sin? And Jesus answered something completely amazing, just like “he’s blind so the Father can be glorify through his healing”…don’t know if I explain myself well…it’s not that you aren’t who you’re supposed to be. It’s all for God’s glory. I think you’re gloryfing him just by trying to end with this status quo of the church of this we can’t even think about, you’re brave. So don’t lose your heart, you’re in the right way!!

  4. Well perhaps “God allowed that I have SSA” would be a less controversial phrase?. We can perhaps have some different views but I think the whole reflection is great,E.g.: I would say : “glad to be aware” but not “to be” gay. Though with enough years on my back I haven’t reached that maturity (if it’s to be reached). On the other hand: pleeeease slow down a little: too much deep stuff (plus other friends’ blogs..) to keep updated!
    Thanks!

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