When our culture is giving easy approval to someone struggling with unwanted Same Sex Attraction (SSA)/homosexual desires and many churches are falling in suit too, I feel it is necessary to give my reasons why I made the choice not to identify myself as gay. I must say this has been a very difficult journey with much confusion, frustration, loneliness, isolation, anger, fear; lacking in any amount of peace as I worked through this mine field of pain and suffering. On the flip side of the journey now – peace is overflowing with many other positives that were non-existent when I was struggling.
I write these reasons reflecting back into the time when I struggled and why I did not give in and identify myself as gay. This is from my heart and is not backed by any scientific facts, statistics, etc. That will be a post for another day, but not this day.
My list includes, but is not limited to:
1. I refused to let confusing urges drive my identity.
2. Fear stopped me from “acting out” or “experimenting.”
3. Critical thinking.
4. My faith in God, belief in His Word.
5. My family’s values conflicted with this lifestyle, I would have disappointed them.
6. I liked girls.
7. Homosexual acts were disgusting, I felt dirty after thinking them.
8. Refusal to cave to painful, crushing teasing just to have it stop.
9. Deep inside I could not give up on Jesus’ ability to save and transform me.
10. I got married and did not want to destroy my wife and daughter’s lives by giving in to “urges.”
When I heard anyone discuss homosexuality and flatly state it is was a choice, I would cringe inside. I felt they were saying I was choosing to have these unholy desires and that I wanted to be gay. This was not true. I hated the feelings I had. I had no idea where they came from and certainly did not decide to have them. My heart aches for anyone who is struggling with homosexual feelings and cannot understand them. This truly was a cause of depression, loneliness, isolation, and at the same time the catalyst for putting on masks to cover all this as I certainly did not want anyone to know the “real” me, and hate me. Yes, I really believed I would be hated because almost anyone who talked about homosexuality had so much hate in their words. This, to me, meant they hated me. People say they hate the sin and love the sinner. This is basically impossible for the sinner to hear and believe as the hate, I felt, was lodged at me. The sin was me and I was the sin.
How then did I manage to go decades struggling with these feelings and not act out on them? First, knowing God’s Word clearly spoke to me how it is sin and not acceptable to Him. Second, knowing if He said it is wrong then He had to have some way to help me. God is love. He is real. He would not let me struggle with something that felt like tons of anguish weighing me down forever. I would remember the day in the field behind my home at three years of age when for the first time I knew God was real, in Heaven, all around me, we danced, and He told me we would do great things together. [Note: This is in Part 1 of The Short-The Tall, The Skinny-The All] Yes, these were the most compelling factors that held me back along with basically no opportunity presenting itself. I was a loner with no friends. I’d like to think if a guy would have expressed interest in me I would have said no. Guess it doesn’t matter now. I am very thankful I did not act out as most who struggle with these desires. [NOTE: I am talking about “acting out” on an ongoing basis. There were three times where I did “act out” which I tell about in Part 1 of my story and below.]
When I give the reason of “Critical Thinking” above I certainly do not mean any scientific formula or lab experiment. I stopped to think about what was happening inside myself with these confusing desires. And, what always struck me as strange was, if I got to know a guy I was “jonesin” over, the attraction greatly diminished, or went away totally if I became friends with him, even on a very casual basis. How could this be? If I was truly gay and that was how I was made, then why would the desire fade like this? Yes, I had girls I liked and I would feel that “warm-fuzzy-pukie” titillation and it would go away too, but this was different, I really liked girls. With guys the feeling was more obsessive, desiring something from them that I felt I lacked. Girls didn’t have anything I lacked. Instead, they were an enigma, totally different from me which was a great part of the attraction, smelled good, looked good, walked in ways that made me stare and look like a total dufus, they could be so annoying and yet in ways that drew me to them–basically they drove me crazy, and still do! Today there is one girl who has my undivided focus and she creates all these feelings wrapped up in the most beautiful creature ever to walk the earth!! And, the one who drives me the craziest for lots of reasons and I’d never give her up for a man–that would be CRAZY!
My family was just as dysfunctional as any and we loved each other just as much as any family too. Being the youngest, with my twin sister, of five children there was a lot of fighting. Lots of names were called and I know I called my siblings only names of endearment because I was such a perfect little boy. Not! I learned to have a sharp tongue too and used my speech in ways to protect my feelings from a very young age. I say this but honestly, I don’t remember much of my childhood. [Note: Again, if you want more details on this please read Part 1 referred to above.] So, family values were instilled more from the dinner table, the use of a hair brush on my backside when very young, or laying across on old, backless, pink divan (I loathed that piece of furniture for many reasons with the greatest being the pain from whoopins’ inflicted while upon it…and the color! Think Pepto-Bismol. Yes, it was extremely ugly and I have a stomach ache thinking about it no–please pass the Pepto!) and from church.
When I grew up the word “gay” meant happy, carefree, and I remember using it when in the first year or two of grade school. One day I used “gay” about something and was told not to say it as it was a bad word. I didn’t know what my classmate could mean so I asked? I was told it meant a guy kisses another guy and does other “stuff” that he should do with girls. I was shocked! Why would a guy do this? It seemed crazy to me. And, I went on being a little boy and didn’t give it much more thought until later in grade school when I was called this. Then, I knew it was a horrible word as it sliced my heart and ripped from my mind any confidence I had about myself. I knew it was “dirty” and “bad” so this meant I was dirty and bad. I had never kissed a guy or done “other stuff” so why was I being called this? Because I wasn’t athletic, scared of the other boys in school so I didn’t hang around them, and very effeminate for a boy. I never liked school and was afraid of going each year for weeks and weeks into the year until I finally started to feel comfortable with the teacher, and maybe some of the other kids in the class. I remember wanting to be liked, accepted, to fit in and I never did so school was miserable. I was miserable and very sad. I say this now and I really don’t think I knew I was so sad. Sadness was my constant companion. He was better than no companion.
At some point in my childhood my older brother would call me “homo” but he really wasn’t calling me this. This word was just the new word that had started to be used by all kids in school. I remember a speech by our dad at dinner, prompted by mom as she did not like this word being used, telling us that the Bible called this an “abomination” and my dad saying it was horrible and that he didn’t want us to call each other this again. Well, this of course reinforced the use of it because dad had now told how us how horrible it was so it had all the more power to crush when used. I don’t remember being upset if my brother called me this as it was not the same–he did not really believe that about me. The kids at school using this was totally different. I hated it and had no way to make it stop! The pain was killer, I admit it. It killed my confidence, self-respect, and caused me to really wonder if it was true? This was excruciatingly painful and even though I wondered, deep down I was mad, really furious, and decided I would not be this word, or any other that meant the same, just because I was called it! That’s it. It was a decision made deep inside me and it was done. Now, I see it was one of the best decisions I made as a very young child.
Girls made me lose any intelligence I had from a very young age! Not that there was an extreme about of it to begin with! I remember playing with a few girls on the playground, because I was scared of the boys and my sister asked me to come and play with her and some of her friends. By accident while swinging around a pole by one hand a girl came from the opposite direction and kissed me. Everyone laughed except the two of us. We were both very embarrassed. I hated being laughed at, but…the kiss? I liked it! Of course, I ran off because I didn’t know what else to do. I still remember that kiss and the girl who kissed me. She is still a dear friend after many years and when we get together for lunch that kiss comes up and we laugh about it. I think of it as one of the reasons that helped me to know I was not gay. Confused about my sexuality because I didn’t fit in with the boys, teased unmercifully with words that crush a boy’s confidence in his gender, attracted to what he could not have–friends with other boys–which caused sexual confusion…yes I had to deal with all these feelings and none of them made me gay and still would not today.
As I grew into adolescence and the hormones kicked in, so did misery at a level that no one should undergo. It came upon me like an avalanche from the top of Mt Everest. I often wished an actual avalanche would have covered me as the pain and suffering would have ended after suffocation or freezing to death. This avalanche only paralyzed and burdened me so that I suppressed feelings and isolated myself even more than ever. The attraction to guys was so intense and I had no idea why? Oh how I truly hated myself. We went to church and this was very conflicting. I really enjoyed to worship through music, learning Bible stories of people who suffered and how God rescued them–as I needed a rescuer desperately! I wanted to believe God loved me. But I also felt this wasn’t true because of my uncontrollable feeling about other boys, and yet, I wanted to believe it so bad as then it would mean I was not gay. So, this drove me to know, yet again at a new stage in my development that something was wrong with me and that God would fix me. I prayed constantly and would not give up. It felt like it would never happen. It was a lifetime. I sit here now rejoicing that I never gave up on Him. Jesus did heal me. What caused this healing to take so long? Me! I was in a stronghold of fear, rejection, and bound by a secret that I knew I could never tell or I’d be despised. I prayed, hoped, existed as I had no idea what else to do?
After becoming a young man three incidents happened with other guys and each time I wanted to die as the guilt, shame, dirtiness, filthiness, and feelings I could not even give words to came. I hated these feelings and they were not worth the minuscule in comparison of physical pleasure. So, I set in my heart these acts could not happen again. I did not care how strong the desires or urges. They were wrong or else they would not have created such intense damaging and destructive emotions. I prayed and prayed for God to bring me a wife. I wanted to be a family man and become a dad someday. This would change me. I held out and God answered my prayer. He gave me a wife and two daughters all in one package! This answer to my continued prayer was greater than any way I could have imagined!! I was happy for the first time in my life. And, I had three more reasons to hold out for God’s healing, His transformation to change the desires of my heart as I knew I’d lose these people if they knew my deep dark secret. So, I kept it longer. I kept it so long and wore so many masks that this secret became my best friend when sadness left me after getting married. Problem was, sadness doesn’t leave and stay gone. No, he wanted to come back as he wanted my heart and mind and…I let him back in.
Yes, these are my reasons that I clung to to keep me from going insane and making a decision that I believe would have killed me, becoming gay. I did not know then that a horrific tragedy would come into my life years in the future that God would use to bring me the healing I longed for–more than oxygen. I just knew I was not gay and He would save me from this, someday. That was enough. I struggled greatly and failed sinning in so many ways with this beast inside me. Yet, I did not succumb and Jesus was with me the whole time loving and protecting me. His promises are always stronger than the greatest grade of steel and more valuable the purest of gold, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb 13:5. And, He never did and He never will! I hesitate to use the word “never” as it is the word most likely to bite me in the backside.. except with God. God is always good for His Word.