Category Archives: Coming Out Stories

Issues become real when we humanize them. Whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, straight, or questioning… everyone has a story. Here are just a few of them…

UPDATE: A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage

You may remember this post from earlier this year. S.S. from Arkansas shared her coming out story with us in a very heartfelt and candid way. It continues to be one of the most-read posts on this website. Here is an update from her and what has happened in her life over the past eight months.

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I was Coming Out Story #13 (A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage) in March, and so much has changed since then.  I spent the Spring and most of Summer “dating” my husband and trying to build a new relationship within the context of my newly-embraced sexuality, and for a couple of months it seemed to be working.  When I moved out into an apartment in February, I signed a six month lease with the intention of moving back to the house, but as the deadline to let the landlord know I would be moving drew closer, my anxiety grew and grew and it became clear that it was not the choice I wanted to make.

In July, I informed my husband that I would not be moving back to the house.  I had fully accepted and embraced my true self and I was terrified to lose that.  The prospect of jumping back into the closet out of which I had finally stepped a single foot was unbearable to me.  Because I had initially moved out on a temporary basis, I had not told anyone, so now loomed the task of coming out as a divorcing woman to my family and (mostly Christian) friends.

I knew my older brother would be angry at my husband, possibly to the point of doing something stupid, so I made the decision to come out to him so that he would understand that he did not have to defend my honor.  I asked him to dinner one weekend, which is pretty unusual.  We’re close, but we don’t hang out or anything like that.  I had no idea what I would say.  Finally, after we’d talked quite a bit, he asked how my husband was.  I simply stated that we were splitting up. The look on his face was just what I had anticipated, so I quickly told him that it wasn’t my husband’s fault, because I’m gay.  It was the first time I had stated it as a fact out loud, and it felt strange but liberating at the same time.  My brother’s reaction was the better than I could have hoped.  We talked for a while longer, and as we left the restaurant, his last request was that I find a girl who has a sister for him to date.

I’ve only come out to two other people (who previously knew me to be straight), but I have a growing number of friends who only know me as a lesbian.  I’ve never been this happy in my entire life.  People speak of wanting to be a care-free kid again, and I have to shake my head.  I was never a care-free child (well, I’m sure I was as a very young child).  I always felt anxious and confused, carefully compartmentalizing my thoughts and feelings, not allowing myself to get too close to anyone, afraid that someone would figure out how weird I was.  Now I can be fully myself with people, and having people know the whole me is taking some getting used to!

I have been attending a new, inclusive church that I just adore.  At least 80% of the congregation on any given Sunday is made up of gay and lesbian couples.  I have not officially come out to anyone there, but I feel so at home when I walk through the doors each week.  Because I also work at a non-inclusive church, I do worry about losing my job should the wrong people find out that I am gay.  I love my job and I have been told in no uncertain terms that they don’t want me going anywhere, but that is an issue that I will have to address eventually.

I filed for divorce earlier this month, and my husband is not contesting it.  If all goes well, I will be a single gay woman in about a month.  Not so long ago I was afraid of being single.  In fact, that was the reason I got married in the first place.  I didn’t want to be single, and I certainly didn’t want to be a single lesbian.  Seven years later, I’m happy to be both.

Christianity Helped Me Come Out: Coming Out Story #15

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

This post comes from Jess. She shares her story as it was originally told on her blog, Design of Gender. You should definitely check it out!

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Growing up, my family did not go to church, though we celebrated all the consumerist Christian holidays (still do). I learned how to consume religion through family dinners, purchasing gifts, and giving cards. But what were we celebrating?

My first experience of organized religion was when a friend invited me to church when I was in elementary school. I went with her to Sunday School and we memorized a Bible verse. I didn’t really understand why we would do that. My second experience was in high school when I started going to a church youth group. I learned the basics of the Christian faith, got my first Bible, and learned some worship songs.

So by the time I reached college, I continued to attended a church group. I went to two different church groups during the course of my four years. One group, I went to my first and part of my second year of school; while the other, I went to my second through my fourth year and continued to be a member after I graduated.

I liked going to the college church group for the community I found there, though I didn’t always go regularly. I enjoyed going with my friends and deepening those bonds with them. We became very close from those experiences together and car rides home.

As those friends became busier and almost stopped going, I slowly began to make friends with others in the group. But always felt distant like I was never “Christian” enough to be there – like I didn’t really know much because most of the others had grown up going to church, even my friends had. They could not imagine what life was like without ‘Faith.’ I knew all too well that it was pretty much the same. Sure you may worship something else or hold on to the faith you find in other people but you learn to deal with it all just the same.

During the year after I graduated from college, I became super involved. I went to all the church group events during the week. I even shared my story or testimony in front of the whole group (50+ people). It was amazing. I had other college students coming to me in tears at the end of worship because my story had moved them. I brought people back to Christ through my story of faith, back to a religion that they had professed but didn’t really feel connected to. They could relate to my story of faith and grace. We were one and the same.

My story started a chain reaction. Soon many others wanted to share their stories. My courage and bravery in sharing my testimony allowed others to realize they could be brave too. I received hugs and congratulations. I loved sharing my story because finally, I felt like I, too, knew enough to be there. I had transformed, but I also had been keeping a secret. A secret I had known about for several years. A secret that I had come to terms with more than a year before that time.

So despite all the hoopla of sharing my story, I also felt the dread from keeping this secret. Even when I was surrounded by people, I was alone. I never felt comfortable enough to tell those same friends or church community that I was dating a really fabulous female. I never felt comfortable telling anyone that I had come out to myself a little over a year before and that I was unbelievably relieved to finally do so. I never felt comfortable mentioning that I had asked God about it and received an overwhelming feeling of acceptance. I had always brought “all that I was” before God and s/he had “embraced me just as I am.” Why did these people need to know any different than the assumed heterosexuality they projected onto me?

Generally, Christians, especially Evangelical, Baptist, and other right leaning conservative Christians,  seem to have a problem with individuals who date members of the same sex, especially individuals who profess some belief in their religion and also see nothing wrong with two women or men dating, forming relationships, and families. There are some denominations that openly accept LGBTQ people but they are not a majority (yet).

My college church group was part of a Community Church, not part of a specific denomination, that holds belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe that the Bible is the “inspired word of God and that it is the final authority in faith and life.” As such they don’t believe in multiple readings of the Bible or that the Bible (being written by men) contains errors (be it from translation, etc.). They have a firm “hate the sin – love the sinner” approach to all things not following their prescribed set of principles/beliefs. I knew that if I told them my secret that would be the response, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.”

Further, I imagined them wanting to help me overcome this “sin” I was acting upon or “struggling” with. But that’s the thing, I was the happiest I had been in years; when I was able to fully express who I am, I wasn’t “struggling” with anything. I was finally able to be me! It was during this time that I investigated and posted on my blog what some churches say on LGBTQ issues. My post received several comments that further proved the “hate the sin – love the sinner” approach. I was disappointed that the community I had come to appreciate and love would never fully accept me for who I am. They would “hate” a vital aspect of my identity while also professing to “love” me. (How do you love unconditionally if you refuse to accept part of a person’s identity? If they contradict with your beliefs? If you are praying that they change? Is acceptance not part of love? Is ‘tolerance’ love?  Or is the ‘unconditional love’ focused toward who you think you can change the person into?) It kills me that it would be done through the Bible “as the word of God” because I don’t believe that is how God intended it to be.

But I didn’t let this new found disappointment stop me from continuing to pursue religion or continuing to date the woman I was seeing. If anything I wanted to learn more. It was through the teachings, songs, worships, and Bible studies that I was able to fully accept myself, my very queer lesbian self. It was the love I found in the Bible that helped me to love myself. (In order to love your neighbor as yourself, you must first love yourself.) It was the love I found from non-religious friends I trusted enough to come out to. (They were the ones who showed unconditional love. It didn’t matter to them the gender of who I dated. They were happy for me.) It was the love I received from new colleagues and older friends. I’ve posted many times on my blog on love and belonging. I’ve posted clips from Glee and Senators in the state of NY discussing marriage equality. I’ve posted on Pride Parades and video clips that discuss LGBTQ things. I’ve posted on labels, language, change, and voice. But it has been the convergence of all these topics on my blog that has allowed me to see how every part, even the religion I ran away from, was an important stepping stone to where I am now.

Being a feminist and closeted lesbian within the church group was fun at times and I loved those tiny moments where I could be a “feminist evangelist.” But I hated that I wasn’t allowed to share my whole life with them. I couldn’t say that I hung out with my girlfriend over the weekend because she came to visit. Unlike other members of the group, I had to check a vital part of myself at the door on the way in and often as soon as I stepped out of the car. I stopped going to this group at the same time that I decided to be open about my life which coincided with the same time that I started graduate school. Slowly, I began to share my secret with others by casually mentioning my girlfriend/partner.

Today, although single, I’m out to many people. I teach classes on a university campus and routinely come out to my students. Everyone that I work with, I’m out to. But I’m still not out to some family. When I told my parents almost a year ago, my mom told me that “other people didn’t need to know.” She said there were basically two ways to deal with this “new lesbian status of mine”: I could just continue to be me and keep it to myself or I could be what I would call “loud and proud.” She said she hoped that I would choose the right (quiet) way. I remember saying that “I wasn’t going to lie about it.” And I haven’t, although I don’t always mention it.

Just today, I was talking to a good friend of mine that I have known now for almost 7 years and he said without any prompting from me, “You know what … you’re still the same person. You haven’t changed because you came out.”  It was so refreshing to hear this from him. I’m so glad he called. Even if he has teased me about being a lesbian, he is someone I can count on to listen, and understand as best he can. His teasing comes from a place of love not from hate.

I still pause about whether any of my “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” ‘friends’ really need to know. Because how crazy is it that as a closeted lesbian, I was able to bring (presumably) homophobic people to a deeper faith? Or that God used me, a closeted lesbian, to bring others to a deeper faith? What does it say about our God and the religion s/he designed?  What does it say about the Bible?

For some reason I think if I told members of that faith community, they would surely experience a homosexual panic. They might say that I have let sin into my life or profess something about the works of Satan. Surely their God would not condone or even openly accept my behavior. But I would tell them that not only does their God accept me but s/he also helped me to love myself, my very queer lesbian self.

Their Christianity helped me come out and life outside the closet is much, much brighter.

The Other Side: Coming Out Story #14

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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Peaceful, quiet, joyful – that’s how I felt when I finally acknowledged that I am attracted to other women; that I am a lesbian.  Not perverse, sinful, or ashamed. That was a surprise.  That and the utter certainty I felt for the first time in my life about anything.  It was as if a gaping fissure in my soul suddenly closed and became mended.  All of the things I mistakenly thought I was collapsed into who I actually am.

It is difficult to reconcile the peace and certitude I feel about this with the pain I perceive in the few dear friends with whom I have shared this news.  I want them to be happy for me.  They are not.  Yet – I understand; I remember my reaction when I learned that someone I knew as a heterosexual announced their sexual orientation was otherwise.  I felt bewildered about their obliviousness, afraid for their souls, and I braced for the consequences in their lives, and the reverberating effects in my own.  I assumed they felt as confused and conflicted as I did about the matter.  Now I see things differently.  They were not confused – they were finally free and extraordinarily courageous.

As I think back over my life, I now understand why I felt strangely drawn to, fascinated with, while at the same time, vaguely afraid of lesbians.  Somewhere deep inside I felt resonance, but recognizing that resonance was either too much to bear or too fantastic to be real.  I recall awkward and unfulfilling relationships with boyfriends – where I thought I felt something, but as the relationship developed, my feelings rapidly progressed from infatuation to ambivalence to confusion to aversion.  I assumed I had just never found the right man.  And when the inevitable breakup occurred with the “It’s not you – it’s me” conversation, I had no idea how true that was.  Nonetheless, I eventually got married to the one man who persisted.

So now, here I am, decades into a marriage that gratefully resulted in two wonderful children, but finally understanding myself and dealing with the monumental consequences of failing to see or figure out what was hiding inside me.  I have told my husband and he is in great pain.  I have not yet told the kids and wonder whether the pain they will experience dealing with this knowledge is worth the freedom it brings me.  I would rather cut off my arm than cause them such pain.

But, the truth is like a siren I can’t block out.  And a life of integrity requires that I recognize and live in accordance with that truth, regardless of the pain it causes me and those around me.  I cannot go back.  I can only hope that living in the truth will ultimately be for the best for all of us.  Pray for us.

-Erin

A Lesbian Wife and Her Heterosexual Marriage: Coming Out Story #13

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs. 

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I’ve struggled with my sexuality for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always been attracted to women, but good southern Christian girls just don’t entertain those thoughts.  In my very early twenties I entertained the idea of being a lesbian, but I was extremely conflicted and fell into a depression.  I decided that it was just the devil trying to trick me, and set out on my quest to find a husband.  It didn’t take me long to find one through online dating.  We were married for five years before I realized that I had used marriage as a way to run from my feelings.  I began to acknowledge to myself that these feelings weren’t going to go away, and I found places like Coming Out Christian that helped me reconcile them with my faith.

I had been unhappy in my marriage for some time and convinced myself that my husband didn’t love me anymore and would be happy to be rid of me, so I started to talk about getting a divorce.  As a Christian I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity of marriage, but my husband is not a believer and I thought he didn’t want to be married to me anymore, so I figured I had an out.  Contrary to what I thought, he said he did still love me and wanted to stay married.  I had this grand plan cooked up wherein I would get a quick and painless divorce and be free to explore my new-found sexuality.  When that came crashing down I was confused all over again.  I had it all planned out!  Now what was I supposed to do?

I told my husband that I “thought” I was gay, which was not how I planned to phrase it, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to say it more decisively.  Naturally, my husband had questions and concerns, but above all wished to remain married, in whatever context we came to define it.  I found a few resources regarding lesbians who remained married to their male spouses, and it was a huge relief to find others in the same situation.  None of us are as unique as we like to believe!  These people have managed to stay in love and stay married and stay happy, and that is what I aim to do.  I do love my husband, and I am committed to working out our issues and staying married to him.  He has offered to allow me the freedom to explore my sexuality, or “experiment”, as he put it, but I told him that I do not want to “experiment”.  In my eyes that is adultery, and I could never forgive myself if I did that.  Homosexuality does not have to equal promiscuity, and I do not have to let sex run my life.  I have moved to an apartment temporarily as we work out our problems, but I’m happier than I have been in a long time.  My husband and I are “dating” and enjoying it very much.  I know it seems strange to say that I am a lesbian in love with a man, but I truly feel that as long as we remain honest and act with love instead of selfishness (which is always a struggle for me!), we will be just fine.

-S.S. (Arkansas)

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There has been a update to this post. Be sure to check it out here!

Starting Over: Coming Out Story #12

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs. This is Anita’s story.

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I am a Christian wife of 35 years, mom and grandmother who has been immersed in a lifetime of conservative literal teachings and practices of the church. Only in the last couple years have if found the language, the courage, and the desperate need to figure out how to explain to myself, to my family, and to others in my faith community who I am; why I am different in so many ways and why I struggled to be the best I could be but always with a sense of not quit right. It has been a spiritual journey of love that has unraveled me and put me back together. The journey has involved grief, anger, depression, hopelessness, forgiveness, love, and acceptance. God has guided me every step of the way and has brought amazing people into my life that has shown me such kindness, compassion and understanding. I finally found the words to talk to my husband. I have the tendency to perceive the reactions of others to be potentially negative. He surprised me with love. He doesn’t completely understand but he loves me. I am reminded that it took me a long time to understand and accept myself. I need to allow others that time also. So why even bother at this time in my life? Why go through the pain and fear of rejection? I have a deep compassion and love for those who have left or who have been rejected by the church. I asked my Lord to teach me His ways and to help me better understand His love. Teach me to love others as you have loved me. The words tell us but until we walk the walk the words can be difficult to comprehend. God answers our prayers in amazing ways. He knew I struggled with loving myself and that I didn’t really know why. He caused me to look at myself more closely. You know those unexpected people who come into our lives. Well, God showed me who I was. “Love yourself first, then you will be able to love others”. Oh my, the unraveling began. It was painful and extremely difficult. Time, searching, praying … the answers began to unfold around me. I found other Christians. I was surprised, amazed, and hopeful. The pieces of an allusive puzzle began to fit together with amazing clarity. Oh my, I am a lesbian and God loves me and he wants me to love others like me the way He loves me! So what do I do with this? I must love others. I must let God’s light shine in me. I must reach out to others with compassion and understanding. I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to do this with wisdom, grace, compassion, kindness, and love. This is my journey and I have really only begun.

Coming Out Stories #7-11

This past week, the blog got over 2,000 hits in one afternoon, due to the “free sticker” page being listed on a few “freebie sites”. I must admit, at first I was a bit cynical, because I assumed that everyone simply wanted free stuff. However, throughout the night, stories and testimonies kept rolling in. Here are five of those stories.

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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Hello, my name is A.J. I just turned 27 years old. I live with my parents in a small town in Texas. For some time now, I’ve wondered if it was OK to be who I am, a bisexual with a capability to be attracted to members of both genders, and at the same time be a Christian. After reading a few books, visiting a number of websites, and watching plenty of online videos, I’ve come to accept the fact that yes, I can be who I am and still be a Christian.

The search over who I am started years back, before I became a Christian. I had feelings for both women and men, and thought nothing of it. I came out for the first time almost five years ago, but I slipped back in the closet after becoming a Christian. For about two years, I felt obligated to put on a “heterosexual mask” wherever I went. But I knew I wasn’t myself, even if I was (and still am) growing in my walk with Christ.

It wasn’t until I started seeing an older woman that I realized that I am who I always was to begin with. One day, I met her adult son and couldn’t help but to be smitten over his good looks. I knew right then that I couldn’t deny myself. Not long later, I phoned an out-of-state cousin and came out to her. She was so loving and accepting it made me feel good to be who I am.

Right now, I’m still in the coming-out-for-good process. It may take a while for me to be out to be everyone, but for now I’m starting to feel comfortable with who I am. And I would never trade that again for a lie.   -A.J.

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My name is Nicole. I am 26 years old and I’m from St. Augustine, FL. I came out to my mother when I was 19- well it was a weird situation- my best friend told my mom the night I asked out my first legit girlfriend. Thankfully we were tipsy so it was a weight that was lifted off my chest. I knew she wasnt going to be the problem, that the issue would be with my dad. I wasn’t sure how he would take it or feel about his youngest daughter being “gay.” A few nights passed after my mother knew, and she decided to be the one to tell my dad. He just asked my mom “do you think it is a phase?” and my mom simply replied “no.” After a few years of him allowing my ex gf to live with us, he started excepting the idea. He knew I am who I am, and he or anyone else wouldnt change it. I have been dating my girlfriend of 4 years, and there’s no one Id rather spend the rest of my life with. For those who struggle with acceptance, just know it does get better.. I Promise!  :)    -Nicole

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Hi, my name is Tiphanie and I want to first be completely honest. I had no idea this site exsisted until I saw the free sticker tweet from a free site I follow. When I saw the name I was curious. I my self am bisexual and also a Christian. Though no knows I am bi it has been a struggle I have lived with since I was fourteen. At first I remember being angry because I was raised to believe that liking some one of the same sex was a sin. It took time for me to find my faith again and I realized God made me exactly the way He wanted me to be. I still am coming in to my faith and don’t think I will get there until I can be open with everyone around me. I am not ready to come Out to the world yet but I know God will help me through it.

Now that I’ve told my story I just wanted to conclude that I am not telling my story for a free sticker. I am telling my story because I know there are others out there just like me and I want others to know they are not alone. We’re all children of God and should treat everyone as equals.    -Tiphanie

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I am Gabe i live in Germany. I moved here from England and before that i lived in Iceland. My dad is in the military. I am 13 and i found out i was gay a long time ago. It wasn’t until i was 12 i let my self believe it. And since then i have been very alone and sad i would cry so hard that everyone got really worried i was about to kill myself because my eyes would always be blood shot. I like to act and cheer. I am a guy so you can see how much i would get made fun of because of it the sad part was that none of them would ever watch me act and the ones who did were amazed on how good i was.

I just came out to my friends and they wouldn’t talk to me for weeks and the girls actually cried and i felt horrible. at that point i felt more alone then ever i came really quite close to killing myself until one of them came out to me that he was bi. he honestly saved my life. Now i am doing just fine and the ones who wouldn’t talk to me are now more closer to me then ever.    -Gabe

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I am not gay or bisexual.  I don’t want a sticker.  But I am Christian and I just wanted to say thank you for telling your story to help others who are Christian and still love God and want to come out as such.  It takes real bravery and I will pray for all of you and for the Church to become more accepting and loving of all of it’s members who love God including those in the LGBT community.    -Jaime

“UN-muted”: Coming Out Story #6

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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I feel like I have a lifetime of stuff I want to say. In efforts to share pieces of my story, the following are true answers to questions that I now have a voice to answer. I wish to go back in time with the “Interviewer,” in order to speak up, starting at age seven.

 ***AGE 7***

(Interviewer) Hello, young lady, I have noticed that life has been painful for you; colic as a baby, bladder surgery at age 3, stitches in your head at 4, and your tonsils removed at 6. What do you think about life so far?

(My Voice) For a while I thought life was all about going to the hospital, but now the hard part is that I figured out I’m not a boy and that I never will be. I have been praying to God that I become a boy so that I can feel right and get to do all the things that boys get to do. In Kindergarten, a teacher told my parents that I had an identity problem. I’m not sure what that means but I had to start bring dolls to show-and-tale instead of cool hot rods and fun toys.

(Interviewer) Why did you think you were a boy?

(My Voice) I don’t know, I just did. I even had a friend who thought I was a boy. When he found out that I was a girl, he did not want to be friends anymore.

(Interviewer) What do you like about life?

(My Voice) I have fun with my brother, and my parents love me so much.  We go camping together and we learn about Jesus and God at church. “Jesus Loves Me” is my favorite song. It makes me happy.

 ***AGE11***

(Interviewer) You are not the little kid I remember, and you are getting ready to enter Jr. High. How are you dealing with the reality that you are not a boy?

(My Voice) What?! Oh, that silly childhood confusion. The problem was that I loved sports and things that boys usually do.  I still have a great time playing soccer, basketball, and football and I love building tree houses with my brother. Life is fun. It is wrong to want to be a boy, but it is okay to still be athletic and like things that boys generally like. People call me a Tom Boy and say that I’m going to grow up to be a beautiful woman someday. See, I’m older now and I know right from wrong.  I’ve got it all straightened out.

(Interviewer) Are you excited about going to Jr. High?

(My Voice) Not really.  I’m nervous.  My friends are changing. Our interests are different and I’m afraid I won’t fit in. But, I’m looking forward to playing on the basketball team!!

 ***AGE 14***

(Interviewer) You are a teenager! How did Jr. High turn out for you?

(My Voice) I hate life! I feel so messed up. I can hardly talk to anybody at school or at youth group.  If it were not for being on the basketball teem I would want to be home schooled. I hate going to girl parties. They like to talk about boys and make up and hair and I don’t know how to relate to them. I like playing basketball with the guys, but other than that I don’t know how to be their friend. One guy asked if I would be his “girlfriend” and it did not make sense to me so I told him “no.” I figured it is too early for that kind of thing. I mean, you really can’t get married till you are an adult.  I just want to focus on being the best “Christian kid” that I can be and trust that God will take care of marriage when it is time. You know, there is a time and a season for everything and it just isn’t time for being interested in boys.

(Interviewer) I noticed that your ears are pierced, why did you decide to finally do that after refusing for so long?

(My Voice) Oh…..Yes….. That’s hard to share. Someone told me there was a rumor that me and another girl were queer.  I did not know what queer meant, but she explained. I was so upset because I never thought “that way” about this girl. And I knew what other kids said about “those people.” And I knew what my church said about “those people”…..well, actually my church hasn’t said anything about “those  people.” I just know that it’s so bad that nobody talks about it. So, I got my ears pierced to prove people wrong and I have started making myself wear skirts to school once a week.  I hate it! I hate earrings, I hate skirts, I hate dresses, I hate make up, I hate having to be “lady-like.” But… it sure seems to please everybody else.

(Interviewer) Wow, seems like Jr. High has been discouraging.

(My Voice) Yep. I finally got sent to a counselor. I had become increasingly shy and would come home from school to just sleep on the couch. I wished I had never been born. My parents were very worried. They hated to see me so unhappy and did not know what else to do to help. I agreed to go to the counselor and ended up in a psychiatrist office and was diagnosed with social phobia.

(Interviewer) Social phobia? Why and what caused that?

(My Voice) The doctor found that the extreme shyness and depression was not from any trauma or abuse, so I guess he blamed it on Social Phobia because I dread social events and am not “boy crazy”? I really don’t know. Maybe my parents could give you a better answer. I was put on some anti-anxiety meds and I continue to have visits with the counselor who I find to be very pleasant. I feel really good when I’m with her. It’s kind of embracing.  I don’t understand it, but I look forward to our time together.

 ***AGE 18***

(Interviewer) Time sure does fly, you are nearly done with high school with just a few months to go. I can see that basketball has continued to keep you in school. Does the medication help too?

(My Voice) I guess it helps. I don’t seem to feel as depressed.  I’ve had some hard times as one girl called me a “MUTE” because I did not answer her when she spoke to me. I do socialize pretty well with the basketball team, and I’m more involved with youth group activities. I have had a few disappointments in some close friendships with girls. I keep getting attached to one and then once I feel comfortable it is like she moves on and does not want to be close friends anymore and it hurts. It’s confusing! I’m very loyal and kind, and I don’t cause trouble. Sometimes I worry if there are still rumors that I’m queer and so they don’t want to hang out with me. If this is what they think, I don’t understand why. I really don’t have that kind of interest in them.

(Interviewer) Are you starting to become interested in boys?

(My Voice) I am passionate about being pure. I am focused on my relationship with God and trust that God is preparing me for just the right guy. Recently a friend of mine that I enjoy mountain biking with, told me he had feelings for me.  I was not sure how to respond to that. I might have messed up. I mean, I love hanging out with him, but what does it mean to have “feelings” for someone? I keep wondering if the romantical thing will ever happen, but I just don’t seem to know how all that stuff works.

(Interviewer) Do you still hangout with the guy?

(My Voice) I made it clear I wanted to definitely be friends. Soon after, our time together dwindled and he had a “girlfriend” who he spent more time with. I’m still dealing with my sadness over that. Maybe I should have told him that I had “feelings” for him too. But, I’m still not sure what that is. I just miss riding bikes with him.

(Interviewer) I’m sure the right guy will come along.

(My Voice) Oh, yes, I’m confident that God will provide. I continue to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” I continue to pray that God will guide me in all that I do. In fact, I was baptized last year. Yep. I finally did it last year. It is later than most of my peers, but I wanted to be sure it was something that I was doing in relationship with God and not just because other kids were doing it or because I was told I would go to hell. That thinking just did not make sense to me. I love the Lord, and I want to honor the Lord with my life. In fact, that is one thing in life that I know for sure….oh, and I know I want to play college basketball, but other than that, life is confusing!

 ***AGE 24***

(Interviewer) It has been difficult to track you down. I heard that you ended up going to 4 different colleges and have left Texas. What happened?

(My Voice) Long story short, I followed my dream to play college ball at one Christian college, which fell through.  I gave up the dream and went back home to complete an associate degree at a nearby junior college and then spent one semester at the university in town. During that time, I found out about a smaller Christian college in the Northwest, where my dream of playing college ball was fulfilled as they were starting a women’s basketball program.  It was an excellent school that provided me with wonderful friends and has played a major role in nurturing my relationship with God.

(Interviewer) Wow, that is pretty neat how that turned out for you.

(My Voice) I’m thankful for the whole experience as I can totally see the hand of God at work through out all of it.  I have even overcome some of my shyness and I rarely feel depressed.

(Interviewer) Did you meet a fine Christian young man while at the Christian college that perhaps God prepared for you?

(My Voice) Nope.

(Interviewer) Did you even look?

(My Voice) Look?! I’m trusting in “God’s timing.” You know, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” Haven’t you ever heard of Joshua Harris and “I Kissed Dating Good-bye,” and Elizabeth Elliot and her book “Passion and Purity?”

(Interviewer) Yes, those are good books about purity, but how will you know when God is ready for you to get married?

(My Voice) I don’t know. There have been a few guys that I became friends with and thought maybe this could be the start of romance, but really, they were just friends. I never had desires to pursue a marriage relationship. I just know that I’m not interested right now and perhaps God has something else in store for me.

(Interviewer) Do you think you might be a lesbian?

(My Voice) What?!!

(Interviewer) Oh, did I offend you? I just know that some people are attracted to the same sex and maybe that is why you aren’t interested in guys?

(My Voice) Well…that just can’t be. It’s just not an option.

(Interviewer) So, you have never thought about this?

(My Voice) Well….. I think you are safe…. to be honest, I hate myself at times. I feel like I have the wrong body. I don’t know how else to explain it.  AM I CRAZY?! I feel foolish for hating the body that God has given me. Also, when I’m around some of my friends who are female, I get sensations in my body that I think might be sinful and I’m ashamed. When guys want to hug or get close it feels so wrong and gross.  I also notice that I’m drawn to some females more than others.  It is a strange kind of draw.  Sometimes I think I’m being Spirit-led to be in their life, or something.

(Interviewer) Yep, you might be attracted to women.

(My Voice) NO!! I wouldn’t call my self a Lesbian. That can’t be. I’m not Gay or any of those other labels that people use. It is sinful. It is wrong.  It is messed up! I’m going to keep praying that God guides me in this area of my life. I will keep praying for purity and a pure heart and trust that God is at work in my life for a good purpose.

***AGE 34 ****

(Interviewer) Hey, I just wanted to check in with you. I heard that you never moved back to Texas and ended up going to college again.

(My Voice) Yes, I became a PT assistant and get to serve the geriatric population in physical rehabilitation.  I thank God for a career where I can fulfill my desire to serve those who are in need. I love going to work! And people would never have known that I was ever shy.

(Interviewer) That is great! What else is impacting your life these days?

(My Voice) Well…..It turns out that I’m most definitely attracted to women and have absolutely no attraction toward men. I have known my orientation for a lifetime, denied or justified it for the majority, and have been coming to terms with it in the last 4 years.

(Interviewer) Ah, that explains so much from your past. How did you figure it out?

(My Voice) I kept getting overly attached to friends who were women and finally I could not deny or justify my desires any longer. It was time to address this part of my life. It became fully clear to me that my so-called “Spirit-led” feelings were sexual feelings. Upon the “shocking awareness,” I initially felt that I must have been so tangled in sin that I could not even see how it happened….despite my focus being on Christ.

(Interviewer) Wow, how have you been managing all this?

(My Voice) I went through a season of anger, confusion, denial, blaming, depression, doubt, relief, and round and round to finally an acceptance. This is just the way I’ve been made and does not have anything to do with being sinful. It has been an unpredictable journey, with times of feeling stuck and times of feeling like I’m flying off on a most amazing journey with the Lord. I have had to grieve the ideal life that was expected of me and I fear getting trapped in the temptation of lust. I even avoid some close friendships with females in efforts to protect my heart.

I’m definitely wrestling with the Lord in a positive way. I’m learning so much more about scripture and how to approach scripture and how to talk with people about homosexuality. I’ve stopped praying for a “Jesus following” husband. Instead, I pray that God’s wisdom will reveal how those who are attracted to the same sex can move forward in a healthy, pure, and fulfilling way.

(Interviewer) How is your church handling all this?

(My Voice) Not very many people know right now. I hate the feeling of dishonesty by not sharing, but not everybody is ready to hear. I fear the judgment and disappointment from people who love me. In efforts to maintain integrity, I’ve told the ministers and two elders. They want me to stay in community with them and keep serving in the children and teen ministries (for now). I remain open and honest with them, and at this point in time we land on two different sides, but continue to be prayerful about how to move forward together.

(Interviewer) How are your parents doing with all this?

(My Voice) They are amazing! I could not ask for better parents. In the midst of their own grief of their lost expectations for their little girl, they have been open to listening to me and are seeking understanding. They don’t say, “we love you, but…..”

They say, “WE LOVE YOU.” And that means the world to me.

(Interviewer) I have one last question. Do you still feel crazy or messed up at times?

(My Voice) I do still have some hard days of frustration and confusion and even doubt, as I am human, but find peace in relationship with Christ over and over again. I am ready and willing to answer just about any question from anybody. This topic has been in the dark way too long and needs to be brought into the light for individuals and communities to move forward with the peace of God that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:4-14). No matter what happens, I will continue to pray the following prayer/song (written by Kirk and Deby Dearman):

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace;

Where there is hatred let Your love increase.

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace;

Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease,

When we are Your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred we will sow His love,

Where there is injury we will never judge,

Where there is striving we will speak His peace;

To the people crying for release,

We will be His instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness we will pray for sight,

Where there is darkness we will shine His light,

Where there is sadness we will bear their grief;

To the millions crying for release,

We will be His instruments of peace.

-Josha