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.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family. Both my parents were converts in their 30’s and loved their faith and I grew up loving my faith as well. Starting from an early age I separate myself from most people from my education – I was homeschooled from 1st grade to high school. I went to a public high school for one year and then transferred to an online school, which I will graduate from on Pentecost (June 12th) this year!
I grew up thinking I was just like every other boy I knew. I didn’t play with dolls but played in the ravine with my friends. I always thought I would marry a woman and have children; I even had names for them at a young age. I for the longest time prayed for my “other” and talked to her in my head. It never crossed my mind that I was gay because I never knew what it was. Likewise I still don’t know what “romance” is because to me that was simply getting the girl at the end of a movie. My parents, bless them, made the mistake of not explaining the world to me at an early enough age. When I went to high school I experienced first hand how cruel and complex the world can be. I met people, my friends, who were “damned” and I finally went through puberty.
I always had role models in my life. Most kids do and that’s “normal” but I would perhaps obsess over them. How could would it be to be with __ I thought. Two people in my life who needed to be supportive role models failed me. I have received emotional, spiritual, verbal and even physical abuse from my catechism teacher. The priest took his side or didn’t want to bother with it. Either way I had a malformed view of religion.
I was really into art. I would draw people and portraits. I found landscaped and still life to be boring and lifeless. The problem lied in WHOM I drew. When I drew girls I felt guilty. I had a bad experience of people telling me they didn’t like they way I drew them. Also, I always felt “guilty” when girls would be ‘indecent’. Did I draw men then? No, I felt “weird” when I drew them. So I was left drawing “me” or different people who, despite looks or even gender, represented me. I did all of this unknowingly which comes up later.
I was born with a speech disability, I stutter and it’s just something that I have been teased and teased about. I went through the training like “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain”. I took to talking to myself to help myself “get certain words down” – my Mom didn’t like it and told me to stop it. So I did it internally. Even learning the prayers hurt inside because I could never say the Hail Mary without messing up.
I chose to study Japanese because I wanted to transform something “ugly” about me into something “beautiful”. I was appalled to see such objection and ridicule from peers and even family. It took a lot of hard work and effort before people stopped saying “Lier, you just want attention” to “Is this too hard to translate for you?” to “How do you say (expletive)?” I now teach Japanese and study Chinese as a hoby. All my experiences have shown me that I want to be a teacher and help the world see through new colors. (Be patient I’ll wrap this up.)
So when I realized that I was “gay” I took it HARSHLY. Whenever my brother or family made fun of a gay guy, which was fairly often, I took it personally. I eventually took to cutting myself (at my hips and eventually my sexual organs). Talking to myself led to serious mental issues where I heard and conversed to people in my head. I split myself up because I couldn’t live with the contradictions in my life. I eventually told my parents, first with that I was snkinsefrenic and then later that I was gay. They took it as a mental problem. Actually, I have a history of not being taken seriously because I wear several levels of masks. They thought it would be ‘cleansed’ through therapy – the guy tried to convert me and led me in circles of self doubt. I didn’t feel it was a solution and lied to get out.
I then searched for my own solutions. I got over both the cutting and “visions/hearing” problems but I now deal with bipolar mood swings. I pretended to be a happy person but the secrets burned holes in my heart. I actually came out twice! My parents told me that I couldn’t trust my thoughts, feelings, heart, beliefs or conscious. I had to turn myself off and run on ‘autopilot’. My parents accept me and love me – but on more conditional terms that I pretend that I am “healthy” and not “act on feelings or emotions”. I was told never to bring it up to anyone else and had some threats here and there. My mother would sometimes breakdown and cry when she looked at me. Even now I get nasty comments or something she, out of fear and love, doesn’t mean. My father took it more maturely but tells me that I “may not be all that faithful, and that maybe I should lookelsewhere”.
Two months ago I was in a deep depression. I became a mean and hurtful person who stopped all relations with God – “He must hate me for who I am or to give me this”, I thought. I realized that all this time I have been hating myself and God and not giving my trust to either one — I didn’t even know who I or God was. I slapped on an image of “God” to realize it’s MAN’s image. I found GCN (Gay Christian Network) and a bunch of Christian gays and found that God loves me and intended me to be the way I am. To wish for a different life would be wrong, I don’t know best, GOD knows best. I looked in the Bible and saw a familiar pattern. Man wanted a warrior of a God, Jesus gave himself up as a servant. Man wanted to CONDEM and JUDGE the sinners, and Jesus ate and forgave them. He turned up the political, religious and even cultural world they lived in.
I recently found your blog and while it’s still young I believe strongly that it’s what God wants – and this time I trust what I feel and believe! I don’t pretend to understand things I know as heck I don’t. I’m only 18 and I don’t need to make these decisions right now. I just know that God loves me the way I am – even the “gay’ part. I may fall, but I will strive to be strong and follow his footsteps the best I can – whether that is to be celibate or not I can’t say. I don’t know the answers, ask God.
I want to thank the Christian gay community for breathing life into my spiritual and daily life. I feel completely different. I used to be quiet and self hating, unconfident and confused. I flipped entirely, though I still have to bear my parents’ words and actions patiently. They may tell me that I need to change or that I have to live this “cross” alone but I’m only taking my first steps and I have a long way to go. As the Japanese expression goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.