same-sex attraction

Gay ≠ Lesser

I recently sat down with one of my friends to catch up on life, and the reflections that I had after that conversation are the basis of this post. Now, I generally try to refrain from writing angry/irritated posts just for the sake of it, but I’ve been realizing that if this blog is going to be about my experiences, it has to include everything, because other people have probably felt those things too. So I’ll try not to just go off on everything, but what I write here is going to encompass all the different things that I’ve felt and experienced. What I’ve been thinking about since my friend and I had that conversation is this: why do people automatically view us as being somehow dirtier, more sinful, and less sincere about our faith just because we identify as LGBT? Why do our theology and our motivations get questioned just because we identify as LGBT? And why do we always have to overprove the veracity of our actions to the satisfaction of straight Christians?

These things have been a source of frustration for me since the beginning of my journey to figure out what exactly being gay and being a Christian at the same time meant for me. All of the different things that people have said just don’t add up.

Even at the church where I attended youth group during high school, the mixed messages abounded. They would tell us that “experiencing same-sex attraction isn’t a sin in and of itself,” but at the same time they would constantly remind us to be “fighting it,” “battling it,” “taking up your cross daily,” and a plethora of other Christianisms. They told us that it would be a lifelong struggle that we would have to contend with. Of course, they were quick to add that it was the same for people who struggled with lust or doubt or any other number of things, but they didn’t make those things sound as dirty and contaminated. It was only us, it seemed, that they expected to be miserably “fighting” this thing for the rest of our lives. So how are you not supposed to feel somehow inferior or more sinful because of that, especially if you don’t feel like you’re constantly “struggling?” Then, of course, they would tell you that you’re getting comfortable in your sin, that you’re becoming desensitized to it. But I thought it wasn’t a sin? Oh, it’s not. But then why do we talk about it like this? Why do we talk about it like it’s this thing that’s going to catch up to us and eat us alive if we aren’t constantly running away from it every moment of every day?

It was only us, it seemed, that they expected to be miserably “fighting” this thing for the rest of our lives.

Those are the kinds of things that I don’t understand, the contradictions and disconnects between words and actions that don’t make sense to me. Like this one. Why is it implicitly assumed that only one aspect of my personhood should so deeply affect the rest of me that the sincerity of my faith and motivations should be questioned?

I may have said some of these things before, but I’m going to say them again, because people still don’t get it. No, I do not have some other underlying character flaw or theological misunderstanding to explain my acceptance of the fact that I’m gay. I am not basing my identity in my sexual orientation as opposed to Christ just because I’ve decided not to beat myself up on account of who I am. I am not idolizing a relationship with another human being over Christ just because I believe that what the Bible says about homosexuality doesn’t apply to loving same-sex relationships today. And no, there wasn’t any abuse or neglect in my childhood that somehow caused me to turn out gay. That’s just not how life works; sorry to break it to you.

I'm not idolizing anything just because I've decided to accept that this is the way that I am.

Besides, you would never ask those questions of straight people. No one criticizes straight Christians for idolizing their relationships with another person over Christ, even though I would say that a vast majority of straight Christians do indeed idolize their relationships with their significant others over their relationship with Christ. But you’ll accuse me of idolatry just because I’m gay?

And no one would ever dare telling a straight person that they’re basing their identity in their sexual orientation instead of in Christ just because they embrace it, never mind all of the straight Christian guys addicted to porn, disrespecting women, and perpetuating a damaging Christian manliness culture. And the straight Christian girls don’t get off either, focusing only on outward appearance, idolizing marriage, and continuing a hurtful Christian purity culture. But you’ll accuse me of basing my identity in something false just because I’m gay and tired of berating myself for it?

Now, before you go off on me, let me emphasize that all of the things I just listed above about Christians are purely stereotypes. I’m sure most of you already recognized that, but the point is that you would never reduce straight people to just one aspect of their person. And if a straight person does get into some kind of trouble, you would never pin it on their sexual orientation. So why do it to us?

I think what people need to realize is that gay ≠ sinful and straight ≠ holy. Gay is not the opposite of holiness any more than straight is the opposite of holiness.

So with those things in mind, I’d challenge anyone reading to realize that we (LGBT people) are just like you. We’re (specifically Christian LGBT people) just fallen people living in a fallen world trying to follow Jesus as best as we know how. Doing that in and of itself is already pretty tough, especially on this earth, and it would be great if you didn’t question our every move just because we also happen to be LGBT. That doesn’t mean that we get a free pass on everything in life; it just means that you should try and treat us just like everybody else, regardless of our orientation.

If that happens, we just might see a lot more LGBT people start becoming a part of the church and a part of our family.

Grey Area

So I've already written a lot about this topic on here, but I recently had the opportunity to have an article published on Bedlam Magazine, so I'm just going to leave that right here. In it, I talk briefly about same-sex relationships, the conclusions I've come to regarding them, and how Christians can view them differently. http://www.bedlammag.com/grey-area-an-alternate-perspective-on-same-sex-relationships-from-a-gay-christian/

my story: part two

read part one here: Ohmyword. It’s been such a long time since I published the first part of this post series that I almost forgot about it. That wouldn’t be good. School and life just really got ahead of me for a bit (which tends to happen rather frequently). But I’m back with the second part of my story out of…(let’s be honest, I don’t know how long this series is going to be haha). So, check out the link up top there if you need a refresher on part one of my story or if you haven’t read it yet, since I’m going to be picking up right where I left off :)

So my story picks up with me sitting in youth group, listening to this testimony and trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m gay…in a church youth basement, sounds pretty picturesque, doesn’t it? Yeah, no, it really wasn’t at all. I didn’t know what to think, or what I was supposed to think. So I didn’t. I didn’t think about it, at least for the next couple hours.

Sunday school or youth group ended, I’m not sure which, and I just played it all off. Everything was fine. Yes, I needed to figure out this stuff, but everything was fine. I didn’t have to do anything right at that second. I would just go home and process for a little bit. And I definitely wouldn’t tell anyone. This whole same-sex attraction thing (which is what they called it at church and the term that I preferred for a while) was going to be resolved (whatever the heck I thought that meant).

But I guess that I was pretty naive to think that I could just push it down and not think about it for the rest of the day, because that obviously didn't happen. I left church with my family, and it was the only thing that I could think about. It would get pushed out of my mind for a few minutes at a time when I was particularly distracted by something else, but it was always there. It wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard I tried. And it bothered me. I still didn’t know what I thought about the whole thing, and I definitely couldn’t bring myself to tell myself that I was gay. No. Even saying same-sex attraction to myself was a stretch.

When I finally got home a couple hours later, it was eating away at me from the inside. I had told myself that this thing was going to die a quick death, that no one would ever find out and that I could just go on living my life like a normal person (hello, heteronormativity). After all, I had dated a girl. No, it hadn’t worked out, but that didn’t mean that it would never work out, right? But at the same time, I also didn’t feel like an anomaly. I didn’t really feel any different, because I wasn’t any different than a few hours ago. I just had a term to put with my experiences. So was this normal? Or was this something I needed to deal with? I didn’t know. Either way, after a couple hours, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to tell someone. If I didn’t, I was convinced that whatever it was inside me would literally eat a hole right out of my body and escape.

So while my family was doing whatever they happened to be preoccupied with that day, I locked myself in the bathroom (the lock on my bedroom door wasn’t super reliable at the time) and took out my phone. The guy that had shared his testimony at church was actually one of my pretty good friends, and I figured that he would probably be one of the least judgmental places to start, because I definitely wasn’t going to start with my family or any of my friends from my super tiny, conservative Christian school. That would not be a good idea (and in retrospect, it was the right decision. I had a lot of things to work through before I told any of my other friends and my parents).

So, locked in the bathroom and feeling like my stomach was going to explode, I typed out my message and hit send. (In reality, it was more like I typed out my message, reread it a thousand billion times, hesitated, hesitated some more, and then finally hit send, but that part is irrelevant.) He actually responded pretty quickly, but each of the minutes in between felt like an eternity. The growing pit in my stomach made me feel like I had just confessed to a horrendous crime and was awaiting my prison sentence. It was agonizing to say the least, because just like that, I had told the first person. This was just around the middle of sophomore year of high school.

The new few months that followed are where my process really began. I was naive enough to think that I would just be able to quickly deal with it and move on with my life. Little did I know that telling my friend would be the start of a long three year long process of figuring out how I was supposed to live and what I really believed about being gay and being a Christian, aside from what my school said, aside from what my parents said, and aside from what my church said. Over the next couple years, I would need to figure out what I believed myself. But again, I was at the beginning of my process, so obviously my first opinions were very much swayed by what my friend believed and what my church taught.

At first, I told myself that I was going to fight it (whatever that’s supposed to mean), and I threw in a lot of other Christian sounding metaphors and expressions on how I was going to “handle it.” Soon, it wouldn’t be a problem at all. After all, my friend’s testimony had ended on a sort of obscure note that implied he had won in his “battle against same-sex attraction.” Now, I don't put that in quotes in a mocking sort of way. I’m still really good friends with this person, and we’ve talked about how those attractions never really went away and how saying that you’ve “conquered” your same-sex attractions is deceiving because it implies that they’re gone and done with, akin to the deception that every ex-gay ministry put on. The fact of the matter is, yes, God absolutely can change people’s orientation, but 99.9% of the time when we ask, His answer is no. So, I put that in quotes because that’s no longer the way that I see it, though that’s not necessarily relevant just yet.

Sometime during the next few months, I decided (and I have no idea how I came to this conclusion) that it would be a good idea to try and talk to one of my youth pastors about it, especially since this youth pastor had a good relationship with the friend that had originally shared his testimony at church. I was assuming that my telling him would be well received. And I mean, it didn’t go badly; in fact it was exactly the sort of response I had anticipated, considering the place that I was in. It was my own reaction that surprised me. He listened very politely, not interrupting except to ask an occasional clarifying question. His expressions and everything about the way that he responded while I was telling him made me feel like he was really getting it and that he was really sympathetic to what I was going through, but when I finally finished telling him what little there was of my story and let him say what was on his mind, I found myself feeling really uncomfortable.

After having listened to everything I had to say, he (and maybe I imagined this next part) clapped his hands together and immediately started asking what my game plan was and what steps I was taking.

Oh.

What.

Even though I had subconsciously bought into the idea that this was something that I was going to deal with right away and be done with, hearing someone else talk to me about it like it was a problem to solve really hit me. It gave me the same sort of feeling that I remembered having in middle school when the other guys would make fun of it for something that was peculiar to the way that I talked or something that I said. And I didn’t like it. It caused a couple walls to go up as I sort of stuttered my way through saying that I wasn’t really “doing anything about it” yet.

Immediately, everything inside of me that had been hopeful and optimistic about telling my youth pastor evaporated. The way that he continued to talk to me about being gay, or my same-sex attraction at the time, made me feel like I had a disease or something that I needed to be cured of. I felt defective and broken, and not in the cutesy, philosophical way that Christians talk about spiritual brokenness. I felt like there was something wrong with me, something that needed to be cut out, like bruised part of an apple or strawberry that you don’t want to eat because it’s all mushy and discolored. I started feeling like I’ve come to learn most gay people in the church feel: I started feeling like a project, someone who needs to be fixed, someone who isn’t quite a full person, someone who is inferior, someone whose faith is less legitimate, all because I was gay.

And that was when I started feeling even more of a disconnect. Even after my first and only talk with that youth pastor, I kept hearing people at my church talk about same-sex attraction using words like “struggle” and “battle” and “fight,” but that wasn’t how I felt at all. I didn’t feel like I was fighting against anything. I mean, I wasn’t involved in any of those things that were portrayed in a stereotypically exaggerated “gay lifestyle,” so I didn’t understand what anyone was trying to fix in me. I was just living, still 15 years old, still going to youth group, still going to a small Christian school. I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with me, but at the same time, the way that people talked about same-sex attraction made me feel like I should feel like something was wrong with me. They made it sound like I should be miserable, constantly “struggling” and “battling” it, but I wasn’t miserable. I didn’t hate myself. I honestly didn’t see anything wrong with the way that I was, but I started trying to pray the gay away anyway (hi, rhyming points), just because that’s what my church and school implied that I should be doing whenever they talked about it. It didn’t necessarily feel right, but they kept implying that if I just followed God enough and prayed enough that I would stop “struggling” with it, something that sounds strangely reminiscent of the ex-gay movement in retrospect.

Anyway, that first year of “battling it” was the toughest, mostly because I was relegating myself to “battling it” in my opinion. My church didn’t outright believe that simply being gay was wrong in and of itself, but that wasn’t really communicated well. They played up the part about how we were supposed to be “fighting it” and “taking up our crosses daily,” among other things. So I would catch myself noticing guys and immediately start to pray for the attraction to pass, or if I didn’t, I would indulge myself a little and then feel bad afterward for having found someone attractive, as if that were something that I could control.

By the end of that school year, the end of sophomore year, I decided that I had to tell someone else. I was just so conflicted. I didn’t feel like there was anything inherently wrong with me. I didn’t hate myself for being same-sex attracted (still my term of choice at the time, highly influenced by my church). I didn’t hate God for making me that way. I didn’t really think it was a problem at all. But at the same time, my church kept making me feel like I needed to feel some sort of revulsion to it, lest I become comfortable in my sin and God “gave me over” to it, whatever that was supposed to mean. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t really know what to feel. After all, I was still just a naive 15 year old who knew nothing about LGBT issues or same-sex attraction, absolutely nothing. All I knew was what my church told me, and it told me that I had to fight it. But fight what? The attractions themselves? How was I supposed to fight something that I couldn’t even control? And why? I wasn’t lusting. I wasn’t doing anything. So why were they still trying to fix something that didn’t need fixing? I didn’t know.

making sense of the seemingly insensible (on same-sex relationships)

This post will conclude what is, in my mind, a three part series on what I believe about and what God has been teaching me about celibacy and relationships in regards to LGBT Christians. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm done talking about those things. I just feel like all three of these posts are intricately tied together, which is why I'll link to them here as well in case you haven't read them. Part One: when the church talks about celibacy

Part Two: what celibacy really means (for same-sex relationships)

So take a look at those two posts if you haven't read them yet. Hopefully you'll see that they all sort of flow together.

Finally, one last thing before I get started on this post. Don't forget that at the bottom of every page on this blog there's a button you can press to subscribe via email. That way, you'll get an email every time I post something new. So go and do that if you care to follow along with what I'm writing. I always love to connect with new people, share thoughts, and see what they have to say.

Recap: Alright, so in my last post, I talked about what my definition of celibacy is and how the current definition of celibacy or the assumptions made about it are hurtful to LGBT Christians in the church. I also discussed what I believe about same-sex relationships and how being celibate and being in a relationship are not mutually exclusive, which I believe can be very freeing and eye-opening to many people who struggle with wanting to follow what the Bible says about homosexuality while also having a difficult time reconciling that with how to live life practically. In this post, I want to talk about how Biblical, same-sex relationships might work, and I know that sounds crazy, considering that I've never been in one but trust that I've thought about this a lot. For one perspective on how this might work, you can take a look at Lindsey and Sarah's blog.

In order to talk about how I believe that same-sex relationships can work, I'm going to address a couple key questions or comments that I've gotten a lot when discussing this topic with various people. Their questions are completely valid and very practical, but they also come from a very "straight" mindset, if you will, neglecting the fact that these relationships are going to look and operate a little differently from straight relationships.

One of the first things that people always say is: I feel like that would just be so much harder and less fulfilling than being single, don't you think?

When they say that, what they're really referring to, in a super Christian, roundabout way, is sex. Again. As if that's the only thing that gay people (or straight people for that matter) think about at any given point in life. But I really can't blame people for asking this question, because it's anchored in what I talked about in my last post, the fact that western culture is so grotesquely oversexualized and obsessed with sex.

The problem with this comment isn't the fact that they're saying that it's going to be harder. Relationships are hard to begin with. Ask your parents or any married couple. They'll tell you it's not easy by a long shot, and I do believe that this type of relationship is going to be harder in a sense. But again, that's not the problem. The problem is the reasoning behind that question which is this: Your relationship is going to be harder and less fulfilling (or not fulfilling) because you can't have sex.

Okay, hold the phone. Do you mean to tell me that the sole factor that provides fulfillment in a relationship is sex? Because that's a blatant lie. Pardon the cliche, but this also goes back to the classic American saying that a guy and a girl can't be friends without one falling in love with the other. I hate that saying too. Besides, what about friends? What about family? What about all the other kinds of relationships that exist in the world? Somehow, those are still functioning and fulfilling people.

Yes, I totally believe that sex does bind people together in straight, monogamous marriages, but I definitely don't think that it's necessary for fulfillment, and I'm sorry if that's coming from someone who's never been in a relationship, but I also believe it's Biblical. This mindset is something that comes from western culture, not from the Bible. Sex shouldn't be what fulfills you in a relationship. Otherwise I think that maybe your relationship has some other problems.

The second thing that people will inevitably ask or say is this: Don't you think that just causes unnecessary temptation?

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this is a question that is also rooted in our hypersexualized western culture. It revisits the idea that any serious, loving relationship automatically includes sex. And in my opinion, I think that it also implies that two people in a serious relationship won't be able to control themselves if presented with that opportunity, which reduces people to just sex machines again (ah, don't let me get started on this here).

Yes, I will admit that there will obviously be temptation there, but I think that this question also comes from a very "straight" mindset. For straight couples, regardless of whether they are Christian or not, it is an assumption that that they will get to have sex at some point in their relationship. For Christians, that happens to be after marriage. Until then, they are bound to celibacy as well. Many of my friends will attest to the fact that the temptation becomes even greater once you realize that you are committed to a person and know where the relationship is going. Personally, I believe that comes from the expectation and anticipation they have of what is to come when they're married, something that doesn't exist for gay people. Let me explain.

Temptation, in my opinion, comes from the expectation and anticipation of what is to come in that relationship when they're married.

In straight relationships, there are a lot of things that people take for granted (we could call it straight privilege, but that's a topic for a completely different post). One of those things is the assumption that at some point in their relationship they will get to have sex. That's the mentality which they have in serious, committed relationships. But like I said, that's a very "straight" mentality.

The assumption for straight people is that at some point in their relationship they will get to have sex.

In my opinion, I think that a lot of temptation can be avoided by adopting a different mentality altogether. For LGBT Christians wanting to remain celibate and honor what they believe the Bible says (and as a disclaimer, I have absolutely no judgment for LGBT Christians who believe that same-sex relationships, everything included, are okay under the Bible. For me personally, that's not ideal, but I also don't really have a problem with it, as there are very compelling arguments for Biblical, monogamous, non-celibate same-sex relationships.  I can address this in another post if there's enough interest.), I think that entering relationships with a celibate mindset will prevent a lot of those issues with temptations. I know that for myself, I've already completely taken the possibility of having sex off the table in regards to my mentality for when I enter a relationship. It's just not even an option in my mind at all, completely off limits.

A lot of temptation can be avoided by adopting a different mentality all together.

And here, people will say: Oh, but you will consider it if it comes up.

That may be true, but again, the saying goes that 80% of any battle is in the mind.

Thus, I think that a crucial component to having a same-sex relationship that works is also finding someone who's on the same page as you mentally. They have to enter into that relationship with the same mindset, and there has to be a lot of communication about boundaries and what you're expecting. Without that, then yes, all of the above questions/comments/arguments are totally valid. You need to find someone who is going to be as committed to celibacy as you are. They have to have eliminated the possibility of having sex from their minds as well.

You need to find someone who is going to be as committed to celibacy as you are.

Finally, I think that one of the biggest misconceptions that people might have about this kind of same-sex relationship is that it's just like marriage but without sex. I don't think that's true, and I think that having that mentality will lead to hurt and dissatisfaction later in life. Lindsey and Sarah talk about this on their blog, which I've linked to further up in this post.

Personally, I would categorize this kind of relationship as a companionship or something along those lines, because marriage is definitely its own category. So pardon the Hallmark sounding name (and please, please let me know if you think of something better), but a companionship is going to look a lot different than marriage simply by virtue of not being marriage (Lindsey and Sarah talk about some practical, legal aspects of this, which I hope to write a post on in the future as well).

In my eyes, a companionship is (I'm sorry, bullet points are just going to make this so much easier to digest):

  • in some respects, more similar to the relationship between two best friends than the relationship between a married couple (but I don't even really think that expresses it enough)
  • a relationship where you still have a person, that one person who you are committed to for the rest of your life and you love a little more than everyone else (because that's sort of what differentiates a romantic relationship from, like, best friendships, right?)
  • a relationship with a person with whom you can go through life with and support and be supported emotionally, spiritually, etc.
  • a relationship with a person who will constantly be encouraging you and pointing you back to Jesus and for whom you can do the same
  • a relationship that can potentially be deeper than marriage because you don't have sex to bind you together physically
  • a relationship with a person you love selflessly and who loves you selflessly
  • a relationship with your actual best friend

I'm not even sure if all of that adequately describes the kind of relationship that I have floating around in my mind, just because I haven't experienced it yet, and it can be so hard to understand for anyone who hasn't thought about it. It's such a different, but beautiful kind of relationship that I'm not sure I can succinctly describe right now. But if you have more questions about this, please either comment below or email me/message me and I'd love to talk to you about it more.

Since all of that was probably really confusing, let me tell you a story to try and give you a glimpse of what this might look like practically. It's not exactly what I'm trying to describe, but it's pretty close in my opinion.

So I have this best friend, and she's actually on Wordpress too, so check out her blog if that piques your interest at all (and I know, gay guy with his female best friend, stereotypical). She's currently in the middle of doing a year of discipleship school, and she's written some pretty cool things over there.

Anyway, she's my best friend and she's really great. I'm also convinced (and she'll probably hate me for saying this, but almost everyone else who knows us would agree) that, in my opinion, we would probably be getting married in another life. That's basically how close we are and is a good one line summary (albeit a confusing one) of our relationship.

For the one year that we actually went to the same school, we were basically joined at the hip. We were together all the time and did a lot of couple-type things. Our usual hang outs were very date-like, and even after we started going to separate schools we had a couple months when we made it a priority to see each other at the same time, same place, same day of the week, every week.

Basically, everyone started asking whether or not we were actually a thing, and people wouldn't believe us when we said we weren't. This is also obviously before I was out, so the unbelief was very real. It was to the point where my friends and family didn't need to ask me where I would be on Wednesday nights, because they already knew that I was going to be with her. They would actually ask me why I wasn't with her if I happened to be around during that time slot. My family also just started assuming that we were actually together even after it was repeatedly said that we weren't, so that happened. Oh well. It probably didn't help the whole image situation that we tended to do things like have impromptu picnics, go to concerts and plays together, take Saturday day trips, and have dressed up dinners in downtown Stillwater. Yeah, wow. They sound like dates to me right now even as I'm writing about them, and I know firsthand that they weren't.

But honestly, that's part of the beauty of it, and I think some of that reflects the kind of relationship that I'm trying to describe. People (and they say so) didn't understand our relationship and they assumed that there were things there that weren't. To this day, people still don't really understand how our relationship works, but I think some light has been shed on it by my being out now, but that's beside the point. We aren't and never were romantically interested in each other, but there was something else there that bonded us together as friends and in life that I have yet to encounter again. Part of it is our shared interests, our similar-ish family backgrounds, our similar perspectives, and our love for Jesus, but there's something else that I can't quite describe. And like I said, even right now, I almost feel like, and I'm sure it maybe sounds like I'm writing about a romantic relationship, but I'm not. That's how different it is.

And that's the kind of relationship that I believe this companionship (seriously, God needs to change my heart about this name or someone needs to come up with something better, haha) is supposed to be. People might not understand it; people might have misconceptions about it; people might assume things about it that aren't true, and that's all okay. Because when it comes down to it, all that matters is that you and your relationship are right with God.

Those are my jumbled thoughts on this topic. But I want to hear what you guys have to say. Have you ever considered this as an option? What do you think about it? Do you have any other questions that you'd like me to try and address?

Let me know what you think.

why i don't like the term same-sex attraction

As usual, I know that this probably won’t be a popular opinion, which is exactly why I’m writing about it. I want to be able to talk about the things that are seemingly unspeakable, at least for “respectable” Christians. Now, to be fair, a lot of people don’t like the term gay, and that’s totally fine. When I came out to my parents, they adamantly voiced their opinions against that label. I think at one point they outright told me that I wasn’t gay. I think I probably made some sort of face at them, but then decided not to say anything more about it because it didn’t matter. It was okay. Regardless of what they wanted to call it, that’s what I was: same-sex attracted, gay, whatever. It all really means the same thing.

What I want to talk about is why I personally don’t like the term same-sex attraction.

To me, that hyphenated three word term just sounds and feels too clean, too sterile, too medical. It screams, “I have a condition!” It screams that there’s something wrong with you, something that needs to be fixed, and I don’t like that.

I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t have a disease or a condition. I don’t need to be healed.

What I need is Jesus, and that doesn’t mutually entail that I will be changed. And that’s okay.

All of that being said, I also understand where people are coming from when they prefer to use the term same-sex attraction. They don’t want to associate themselves with sin. They don’t want to tarnish Jesus’ name by putting an adjective in front of the word ‘Christian.’ And there are a multitude of other good reasons that people don’t call themselves gay Christians. I totally understand that.

But I also want to give you some of the reasons that I do say that I’m a gay Christian.

Contrary to what some people will argue, I do believe that being gay is part of your identity. And some will say that you shouldn’t ever identify with a sin, because we don’t say ‘I’m a lustful Christian’ or ‘I’m a lying Christian,’ but I think we can all agree that being gay or struggling with same-sex attraction, whatever your preferred terminology may be, is so much different than those other things. It affects the way that you see the world, and it affects you on a day to day basis. It honestly colors every single moment of your existence in my opinion.

And again, some people may say that I’m identifying too much with my core sin, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m being real and honest with myself.

In my experience, a lot of people who choose to use the term same-sex attraction are people who are really dissatisfied with their sexuality. They want it to change and they wish that they were different. And it honestly is a struggle for them every day.

And in my opinion, I think it’s because they’re trying to change a part of who they are. There is nothing wrong with being gay or being attracted to people of the same sex. There isn’t. It isn’t sinful. God didn’t make a mistake with you. He knew that this was going to be the way that you are from the very beginning, and He doesn’t need you to change who you are.

For this reason, I think that people who use the term same-sex attraction are trying to push away a part of themselves. It seems to me like they’re trying to distance themselves from their “sin,” and I think that’s where the agony comes in. Because let’s be real, whatever you happen to call it, it’s really the same thing. If you’re gay or same-sex attracted, you’re a guy who likes other guys or you’re a girl who likes other girls. That’s the way that it’s going to be, and using a different term just seems to be a way of subtly denying who they really are, something that can make dealing with that even harder than it already is. How can you expect to work through your life and situations that may arise when you can’t even admit to yourself who you are because it sounds dirty or worldly or sinful?

For me, being able to say that I’m a gay Christian was honestly one of the most liberating things for me, and I think that God is okay with that, because He sees the heart. It enabled me to really face my sexuality and everything that came along with it. It also enabled me to see more of God for who He is, realizing that He still loves me no matter what, that He doesn’t need me to change who He made me to be in order to follow Him.  It doesn’t matter that I like guys while most other Christian guys like girls. That doesn’t matter to Him. I mean, being straight doesn’t matter to Him. God is not a sexual being. Gay, straight, bisexual, it doesn’t matter to Him. What matters to Him is our hearts and our intentions and our faith, because nowhere in the Bible does it say that being a Christian also entails being straight. Take a look. It doesn’t say that anywhere. Being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive.

Finally, I think that using the term same-sex attraction can also boil down to a pride issue. I think that it takes a lot of humility to be able to say to yourself that you’re a gay Christian. I think it takes more to tell your Christian friends that you’re a gay Christian. Why?

It’s precisely because of the negative connotations and the stereotypes that spring to mind when Christian people hear the word ‘gay.’ They think of a life where everything is oversexualized and all you care about is sex, and that’s so far from the truth for many gay Christians. A lot of us are just like everyone else, we just happen to be guys who like guys or girls who like girls. But that’s still the picture that people tend to see.

And I also totally understand wanting to make sure that people know that isn’t the lifestyle that you’re living or that you’re not doing those kinds of things, but I would hope that if you’re close enough to someone that you’re telling them that you’re gay that they would already know that. I would hope that they wouldn’t make assumptions about you just because they’ve received some new information.

Thus, I think that in some cases, using the term same-sex attraction can be a way of putting ourselves above “those” gays, the ones that engage in “the lifestyle” and all of that. And I think that’s wrong. You are not above those people just because you are a Christian. You are not above those people just because you’re “fighting it.” You are in the same place as those people. You are not better than them and they are not worse than you. Period. I think that this is something that the church in general has to realize and really get through people’s skulls, because I think that this is a problem that originates in the church.

The modern church makes out homosexuality to be the mother of all sins, as if there’s nothing worse you could do than to be gay. They talk about it like “those gays” have a bigger problem to deal with than the rest of us. They talk about it like they are subhuman and beneath all of us Christians because they’re “living in sin” day in and day out, and honestly that kind of talk disgusts me. It’s horrible and unbiblical, and I think that the church needs to get out of that mentality as soon as it can, because it’s harmful for them and for the people that they’re talking down to.

Jesus never considered Himself to be above anyone during His time here on earth, and He was above them. He was literally God. He had every right to act like He was above them and to talk down to them, but He didn’t. He never talked about Himself like He was better than the people. He never isolated Himself from “the sinners.”

In fact, the exact opposite was true. Jesus was the one who had dinner with the tax collectors. He interceded for the woman caught in adultery. He was the one who was compassionate to the other criminal who was dying beside Him on another cross. Can’t we be more like that?

So, I realize that this post caught a little longwinded and veered a little off path, but that’s okay. These are the things that are coming from my heart and things that I believe God has been teaching me. But that’s why I don’t like the term same-sex attraction. I think that it makes it sound like we have a disease we need to be cured of. I think that using it prevents people from really coming to terms with their own identity with themselves and before God, and I think that it enables us to put ourselves in a place above other people, other broken people in need of Jesus.

I know there will probably be strong opinions on both sides of this, but I still want to know what you guys think. How do you feel about the term same-sex attraction? Do you use it? Why or why not?