I don’t think that I ever officially “came out.” But let’s just get that out of the way.
I never made an event out of coming out because it was never really a big deal to me. It’s something that has always been a part of me. All my life I’ve seen people who have come out and allow that to become their identifier. It’s almost as if every time they introduce themselves to people, they say, “Hi, I’m ____ and I’m gay.” I never wanted to become that person. Yes, I am gay. It’s a part of me, but it’s not who I am. I am also a student, a photographer, a friend, a child, and most importantly a Son of God.
Like I said, coming out was never really a big deal for me. When my friends started asking when I got into high school, instead of saying “no” I just started saying “yeah.” Most of them had an idea already, so when I told them I was, they just shrugged and we went along with our business. However it wasn’t always that easy. I definitely encountered opposition. As a freshman in high school, I had someone in my youth group message me on Facebook. They told me there was no way I could serve God and live as a homosexual, but they weren’t loving about it. They condemned me and made me feel worthless. I was 14. When I moved I was bullied pretty bad and I ended up having to transfer schools because of it. A few people stood up for me, but for the most part people ignored what happened until I was gone. I don’t blame any of these people, though. I grew up in the same culture they did; small West Texas towns aren’t always the most welcoming places. I knew and I still know the stigma that comes with being gay, defending people who are gay, so on and so forth.
All of these things along with moving from my hometown catapulted me into a very dark place. I stopped having a desire to go to church or build a relationship with God. I became depressed to the core and started drinking, partying, and self-harming to mask all of the pain I was feeling. For years, I lived life with my middle finger in the air and a bottle in the other hand. Along with partying, I was dating the wrong people and I encountered heart break after heart break. I never dealt with my pain and instead put my happiness in the people I was seeing, and when that ended, I relied on the alcohol to keep me going.
Finally, I left where I was. I got dumped and cut myself for the last time on July 27th of 2014. 20 days later, I packed up my things and drove 8 hours south to my new home. It’s been almost a year that I’ve been clean of self-harm. That problem is a whole different blog post, but I will say briefly that it is not easy. To this day I still battle with that addiction, and I believe that I always will. When I moved here, I wasn’t attending church but soon enough I felt a yearning for God. I found a new home in a church called Eikon, and shortly after I was baptized and involved in host team, a tribe (small groups) and trying my best to be a living example of Christ. You can read about how I found Eikon and the beginning of my journey here.
But I need to get to the heart of this post. I guess the honest reason I’m writing this is because it’s been a hot topic lately. With marriage equality being passed by SCOTUS, almost everyone has an opinion, and almost everyone is voicing that. Very loudly. Although there are some pretty hateful posts popping up from both sides, I’ve also come across some truly genuine posts that exhibit God’s love and have made me so happy to be a Christian. It’s rare to find someone who stands for love instead of condemning when things like this happen. Kelly Matlock, one of the pastors at my church, said something amazing two Sundays ago. In the Word it says
“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35 (NIV)
She explained that we won’t be known by what we condemn. People already know what we stand for. They need to know that we love. Which brings me to my big question.
Why is my love a sin? Why is my love sometimes seen as the biggest sin? That’s how it feels, anyway. I don’t have the answer. I wish I did. I understand why homosexuality is viewed as negatively as it is. There is a very specific culture around being gay. From gay bars to pride parades, being gay can often become over sexualized and lustful. However, that occurs in heterosexual culture as well. Strip clubs, the hook up culture of my generation, the pornography industry; these things are just as sinful as the lustful culture of homosexuality. But that is not love. And as a Christian, that is not what I’m after in a relationship.
Months ago one of my friends sat down and talked with me. They asked if I still identified as a homosexual, and explained that in their eyes we’re all born with tendencies towards sin. Some are born with at tendency towards alcohol, some towards drugs, others towards lust, and, in my case, born with a tendency toward homosexuality. Sin lies in whether or not we give in to those tendencies. Is that true? I’m not sure, but it makes a lot of sense. I do know, however, that I never made the choice to be gay. You may disagree with me on that, and that is your decision. But I’ll tell you – I would never in a million years choose this. I would never choose all that has come with being gay; isolation, depression, guilt, just to list a few. When I was not even a teenager, I would lay in bed at night and cry, praying to wake up normal. I hated myself. If I could wake up tomorrow with an attraction to women, I would take that in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I can’t. As hard as I try or have tried in the past, I’m just not attracted to women.
So where does that leave me in my walk with Christ and the things I’m looking for in a relationship? I’m not exactly sure. It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. On one side, there is what the Bible and everyone is saying – Gay is wrong. No if, ands, or buts about it. And on the other side, there are articles, historians, experts of the Word saying that there may be some wiggle room – the Bible was written in a very different culture where homosexual relationships were occurring between adults and children. Things were different. They weren’t in love. They were committing lustful sins. I’ve talk to so many people about it, but the thought at the forefront of my mind is that I would hate to take the word of man over the Word of God. that would be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made.
As of right now, I’m not dating. I’ve been single for almost a year. I decided when my friend talked to me that if God brought someone into my life and I felt like it was right, that I wouldn’t shut it down. But now that I’m a Christian, I have a whole new set of standards. I need someone who is involved in Church, grounded in their Faith, and wants nothing but to honor the Lord with a relationship. If I was straight, I would be seeking the exact same thing. I’ve come to the realization that I may never find someone like that. And if that is the case, well then that’s fine.
As far as how I view homosexuality – the Bible says a man lying with a man in the same way he lies with a woman is wrong. It also says a lot of other things are wrong. I had a friend tell me last week that the biggest problem they have with understanding homosexuality as a sin is that every single sin has a negative effect on the people around them. Stealing, murdering, lying, getting drunk – they all have the potential to hurt others. But a real relationship based on love and aiming to honor the Lord, even when between two men or two women, doesn’t have any negative effect on anyone. It doesn’t hurt anyone emotionally or physically if there is no type of abuse within the relationship. So I don’t 100% know how I feel about it. I don’t know if I ever will. All I know is that I love the Lord, and if I do ever get into a relationship I will do all that I can to honor God with and through that person.