I was in middle school when I first noticed my attraction towards other guys. I saw my attraction towards other guys as simply a phase and something I would get over. It wasn't until later in high school/college that I even considered I might be gay. Even then, I would use the words "same sex attraction" because I didn't think I was gay. I only ever dated girls, but my eyes were always on other guys.
I was raised in an extremely conservative Southern Baptist home. My views on everything were my parents views. I believed that you couldn't be a Christian and be LGBTQ+ identifying. Those two identities could not coincide. I always believed that I would have to choose between my sexuality and my faith, but my faith was too strong to walk away from. Even when I tried to walk away from it, God would find a way to bring me back to Him. I believed that this attraction was a flesh desire that I just had to suppress and eventually it would go away. The older I got, the more Christians I met who would say they struggled with same sex attraction, but I never met or heard of a gay Christian. According to the beliefs that were instilled in me and the messages preached at church this was just not a possibility.
I suppressed my sexuality as I saw my "fleshly desires" as sinful and something to suppress. I went to Bible college and even worked at a church for a period of time. During my time there, I was fairly open about my "same sex attraction" but I was suppressing it. The message that was taught was that your sexuality is just flawed and broken because of sin. It wasn't until moving to New York City that I began to question if I could be gay and a Christian. I began to question if I could have these two identities as I always thought I had to choose one or the other. As I began to really dig into the subject, I realized that so much of what I had been taught growing up was simply just incorrect.
One of the first resources I read was the blog series Blue Babies Pink by B.T. Harman. His life experiences and his story was so similar to mine. For the first time I felt like I could really identify with someone else's life experiences. Then I read God and the Gay Christian, and this book changed everything for me. It answered just about all of the theological questions I had when it comes to faith and sexuality.
My life is drastically different than what it looked like a year ago. I publicly came out a few months ago and I have since experienced so much joy and freedom. My entire life I was suppressing a piece of me and because of that, I walked around as only half of myself. I was never fully present. Now I'm able to offer all of myself. I'm able to be fully present because I'm not worried about hiding a piece of who I am. I have had so many people tell me how much different my demeanor and spirit is since I've come out accepted my sexuality for what it is. Though my life looks completely different, I would not change a single thing.