I became aware of my attraction to other guys when I was in junior high, as I entered youth group, and found myself longing for closer relationships to the guys around me; closer than what typical friendship offered. I assumed this was just a longing for very good friends, but soon recognized that the physical attraction I felt was a bit more than could be expected of even “real close friends.” Matched with confusion about what was even supposed to be attractive about girls in the first place, I was a mess.
Until I was in my late 20’s I applied the tools given to me; tools that said choosing to accept or even acknowledge being gay was going to be my biggest downfall. My faith was the most important thing to me, and I knew my life was supposed to be built up around what God had for me, not just who I found myself attracted to. This polarizing binary of “gay or Christian” led me to choose “Christian” and deny listening to all gay-affirming arguments for a long time.
As my life progressed and I built close friendships, I felt a shallowness to what I could bring to them. My friends could share some really deep struggles and pain with me, and I saw them grow through these to find love and purpose and paths that unfolded as a result of working through things. I found myself alone as they all started journeys toward careers and marriage and whatever else it is that straight people actually do. On my own, God gave me grace and room to finally sort through the biggest pieces of my puzzling belief system. I came to see how a gay relationship could be a great and beautiful thing, and very gradually came to recognize that I deserved great and beautiful things too.
The ex-gay story and testimony of Sy Rogers ironically was really important for me, as it was my first time seeing a gay man included in the church as he shared his past, even though it ended tied up with a joyful “I kissed a girl and I liked it” bow. Reading through Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian and Justin Lee’s Torn were important steps for me, as I began to listen to perspectives outside of the specific system in which I’d lived my whole life, and I also loved seeing the various stories of people who’d encountered a similar paradox of faith and sexuality as I had in the film For the Bible Tells Me So.
Over two years out and openly gay now, my life has so much more vibrancy and meaning to it. Opening up to being gay and seeing how God used this has blown apart my entire awareness of who I can be, and brought an amazing guy into my life who challenges me like I’ve never let anyone challenge me before. My joy is more full, my tears are more genuine, my friendships are more honest, and my faith is as strong as ever. To live my life straight or changed, according to what I’d been taught, I felt such deep failure. But as a steward of this one chance I get to live honestly, I’m really dang proud of myself, and in who God is still showing me that I can be.