Our Biggest Questions

I spent many, many, many [insert dramatic pause] many years in my gay Christian closet.  I sat amidst my dirty laundry afraid of many things, whispering lots of questions into the dark.  I needed answers before I felt safe enough to come out.

I was 31 before I realized I didn’t have to be either gay or Christian… that I could be both.

I now work full-time with LGBT teenagers and I am amazed at how brave they are.  I can’t imagine coming out during high school.  In 1998, Ritch Savin-Williams estimated that the average gay guy comes out at age 17.   Reliable research is scarce, but that number must be even lower now.  I can’t imagine.

Of course, many of these youth don’t have to fit the God shaped piece into their “coming out” puzzle.  They don’t subscribe to a Bible-based religion that makes saying “I’m gay” infinitely more complicated.  I expect that kids like us – kids whose sexual identity was/is all tangled up with our Christian identity – ask different (and maybe harder) questions during the coming out process than non-Christian kids.

Maybe that’s why it takes us a little longer to come out.

So, let’s compare questions, eh? Leave a comment inspired by one (or more) of these questions…

1. What questions did you ask – or are you asking – yourself, God, or other people during your time in the closet?

2. What did you need to figure out before you could come out as a gay Christian?  (or, what are you still trying to figure out?

3.  What made/makes it hard for you to come out?  What made/makes it hard for you to reconcile your sexuality with your spirituality?

Refrences

Savin-Williams, R.C. (1998). And then I became gay.  Young men’s stories. New York: Routledge.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Our Biggest Questions

  1. Matt

    1. What did you need to figure out before you could come out as a gay Christian?
    -I needed to know that I was actually *attracted* to men, rather than just wanting to be like them, or look like them. The clinching moment for me was a dream I had about someone… not a sex dream, per se, but enough to convince me to stop pretending I wasn’t having these feelings.

    -I needed to know that ex-gay wasn’t an option. My journey down that road was mercifully brief! It quickly became apparent that the counselor was trying to dig up dirt from my past that simply wasn’t there.

    -I needed to know that I wasn’t alone. For me, that meant knowing that there were other gay Christians who were on the same path as I was. To me, that meant knowing that there were other gay Christians who freely and intentionally chose to be “openly celibate”. To someone else, that might mean knowing that there are other gay Christians who apply the same expectations for dating/relationships to gay couples that they would to straight couples. But in any case, I needed to be reassured that there were other people walking this road with me.

    -I needed to know that God had a purpose for my sexuality. I didn’t need to know exactly what it was, but I needed to be convinced that He *had* one before I could make the decision to come out. And then before actually taking the act of coming out, I needed to know that it was in God’s timing- that was just a little of one of those millisecond prayers where you can just feel the Spirit say “Now”.

    2. What questions did you ask (yourself, God, or other people) during your time in the closet?

    -Am I the only Christian who has these feelings?
    -Is it a sin just to *have* these feelings?
    -Would God hold it against me if I let myself get raped just to see what it felt like? (Not proud of that one, but I remember asking myself that.)
    -Are these feelings ever going to go away?
    -Does anyone else really need to know?
    -What would my family do if I told them?
    -What would my friends think if I told them?

    3a. What made it hard for you to come out?
    -Having a very large and very conservative Christian family, where I already ranked at the bottom of the pecking order, being the youngest.
    -Not seeing any examples of gay people whose lives I would want to emulate, or to whom I could point my family as an example of what my life could be

    3b. What continues to make it hard for you to reconcile your sexuality with your spirituality?
    -Persistent ambiguity in Scripture; I can see get two different interpretations, and when your head and your heart are in conflict, it’s not clear to me which one to trust.

  2. Matt, if you don’t mind me asking, how old were ou when you came out?

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