I did everything right to be a strong, faithful Christian. I read my Bible everyday and memorized verses to combat the attacks of the Enemy. I meditate on Jesus every moment of my life. I attended the “right” church, read the “right” version of the Bible, and listened to the “right” Christian teachers.
In short, I did everything I could to follow God and cope with the fact that I would never be able to love and marry because my sexuality was broken. As a result, my life bore the fruits of such a faithful Christian walk: In my late teens, I developed major depression, anxiety and an intense obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Instead of assessing and changing course, I believed what the Evangelical Christian church who said that such darkness was caused by me being gay and if I clung to God more, I’d overcome it. This only led me to convince myself that happiness didn’t really exists. I convinced myself that following God was not a happy journey and that happiness was an emotion the secular world strove for to get through life without God. However, I believed following God in this darkness was worth it because I loved God. Somehow being shrouded in darkness following the Light without it manifesting in my life made sense to me.
Then, one day at 26 years old, wide-eyed and innocent, I fell in love for the first time. But sure enough, the false, anti-gay doctrine of the Evangelical church that flowed through my veins reacted and attacked my core, obliterating any hope love gave me. This utterly crushed me, and I attempted suicide.
Five years later, with years of therapy and hundreds of dark nights working to dismantle what Christian culture indoctrinated in me, I can say I am happy, and it wasn’t because I changed from being gay to being straight. It was because I learned to see same-sex attraction as a normal aspect of being human. By reading a lot about diverse theologies, I developed a theology more in line with the Gospel and a worldview more in line with reality. Same-sex attraction is no longer a part of myself that I need to police and dissociate from, and my faith is no longer a crutch to help me through darkness. My faith is a journey in growing ever more into the manifestation of love.
At 31 years old, I am engaged to a wonderful man and feel no guilt or shame about it. I am always left in awe when I think about this. Though the damage done to me still affects me, I ultimately find strength in the light that now floods my life.
I am thriving not because I changed but because I am living unchanged: loved and blessed as a gay man.