Saturday, January 3, 2015

Open Letter to the Young Gay Man Who's Decided to be Straight

I was on a discussion board earlier today and read a prayer request/declaration from an 18-year-old man named "Ben" from southern Kentucky who's "decided to be straight." He says that he comes from a Bapitst background of some sort.

According to his testimony, Ben has been attracted to other guys since middle school. He gradually realized that he was experiencing "same-sex attractions." (Jon's note: I really hate that term, but that's the term that all of the right-leaning Christian gays use to describe their perceived sin.) This is what his church taught him about his hidden same-sex attractions:
I have always been raised that being gay is a sin and that anyone that is gay is hell bound. I was also taught that a "Gay Christian" didn't exist because if you were gay you had not really been saved.

I was saved when I was about 8 or 9. It was pretty terrifying sitting in church sometimes listening to how these feelings I have and these urges I get would be the very thing that took me to hell. I went through phases where I doubted my salvation because I was told that gays cant be christian. I went through another phase where I thought even if I'm saved I wont go to heaven because I'm gay. The final phase which I'm still half in now is where I thought that I would just push these feelings to the side and not act on them and that God would allow me to enter heaven. I figured I'll just force myself to love a woman and to have sex with a woman and be normal like my friends.
(Jon's note: And we wonder why people repeatedly assert that the Christian faith is anti-gay, despite objections. This type of interpretation comes out again and again and again. If your membership itself believes that one cannot be gay and Christian, then why do you expect others outside of your flock to believe anything different. Unless, of course, you just don't want to admit it. But I digress...)

This guy dated girls throughout high school in order to fit in.

And then -- about a year ago -- Ben did what most young gay guys eventually do. He developed a massive crush on a male friend. He never told his friend and nothing came of it, but this one-sided relationship appears to have been more real to him than any of his fake relationships with any of these girls.

Anyway, Ben is getting pressure from his friends and family to date girls. His mom has already been teasingly pressuring him for grandchildren. (Jon's note: Which is nuts. Ben is way too young to be a parent. I mean, technically he's not. But he'd be advised to finish college and get settled in a career and possibly pay off college debt and even just sow some oats before marrying anyone and/or having kids. IMHO, of course, but c'mon...)

He has decided that he can change. He say that he will "fix this" and "be happy again." He then asked us all to pray for God to heal him fast so that he can become straight.

Dear Ben,

The world is filled with people who have married opposite-sex spouses in order to deal with being gay. I personally know two people in my life who have married opposite-sex partners because of religious fears over being gay. I know many more through online connections who did the very same thing. A few of them were genuinely confused about their same-sex attractions and got married because they didn't know any better. Most of them were hiding from their inner feelings and thought that a marital commitment would fix things.

I can think of a small number (well under a half-dozen) who've not experienced unhappy marriages and divorce.

Life might suck now, but imagine yourself if ten years if you end up divorcing a bitter wife who just found out that her husband isn't sexually attracted to her and just needed a convenient beard. Add in the likelihood that you've probably surrounded yourself with friends and fellow church-members who are all hostile towards gay men. Nothing hurts much like being socially ostracized by most of your former friend, with little access to your own kids, and facing a nasty divorce.

You might be the exception. It is possible.

Personally and comparatively speaking, I think you would be better off pursuing a celibate life instead of marrying heterosexually. That seems like the least selfish decision to make if you really believe that being a sexually active gay man is against your religion. It's not fair to your future wife to marry her if you are gay. It's not fair to your future kids. And it's not fair to you to create an unequally-yoked family. Trust me, I've met the children of families who divorced because one of their parents is gay. It's painful and it's usually avoidable.

You should give yourself some time to see what life could be for you to live as a gay Christian. It could include a celibate life -- which seriously doesn't have to be a miserably lonely existence. It could include a marriage of a different sort. Heck, it could include kids if you want. There are a lot of options out there that you haven't had time yet to consider besides marrying a woman.

Your religious identity is based in Christ, not vaginal sex. Please keep that in mind as you travel down your life journey.

1 comment:

Donny Jacobs said...

Christianity is taught SO badly around the world! Sitting through the average sermon (and I've sat through a buttload of them at City Union Mission), you get the idea that Christians must abide by the Levitican code. We don't! We never have. Our salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ, not ancient kosher law! Our "code of conduct" so to speak, is the Ten Commandments, which have no same-gender prohibitions, and the Golden Rule. Besides that, Gay people (a term that was not in use thousands of years ago, despite certain faulty Bible translations) have a special status; we are described as "eunuchs born from the womb". You have to a little research to learn that many ancient eunuchs were NOT castrated, and plenty were sexually active. The Scriptures are like that; you have to approach them as a scholar, dig for context and hidden meaning. But Christianity today turns on the most superficial reading of Scripture imaginable, and that has led to an untold amount of pain in the lives of LGBT folk.