Far from a secret, and part of my bio line on all my social media profiles, and the front page of this blog, is the fact that I am gay and Christian. I only hid who I was for a few years when I figured out I had an attraction to guys but also believed in God. Those years were tough and confusing, but I hadn’t felt the same disconnect as when I “came out” to the church and people. ( I really don’t like that term because I don’t feel as though gay people should have to come out, because it’s just simply a part of who they are, like straight people don’t “come out”)
When I really knew who I was, I was living in a rural Texas town going to High school. To say it was scary would be putting it mildly. I was harassed nearly every single day because I sounded different, walked different, looked different. I grew up poor too, so I didn’t have the same things other people had, so it made me even more of a target. High school is obviously a cruel place. I survived by avoiding almost everything. I skipped nearly my entire first two years of High school to avoid confrontation about who I was. I also decided to start going to a local church to try and deflect some of the suspicions and attempt to throw them off the trail. As I now know, that really doesn’t do much to hide everything about yourself that make you you.
However, that wasn’t the most difficult time I had. Being out was very difficult. The secret is I don’t really feel as though I have a community I can be a part of. I let it affect me so much to the point where I routinely drank more and more to either try and fit in, or forget that I was being shut out. I was fighting stereotypes from the outside, but fighting for myself within the community. I don’t fit the mold as a typical gay guy or Christian. I believe in God and what He has done for me. I didn’t sleep around with every single guy in the city. At the time I was a republican. I believe the Bible does not tell people to discriminate others who are different. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
Because of my beliefs and convictions, I was routinely labeled as the self-hating, and homophobic, gay guy who was ashamed to be gay. The gay community can be very tough on people who choose not to conform to their system. Admittedly, I made a lot of bad decisions in my early days in the gay community that gave me a reputation. I figured if I couldn’t fit in or get them to like me, I could just drink it all away.
Because I am openly gay, I didn’t fit the mold of a typical Christian. Constantly being told by Christian after Christian that my lifestyle was a choice and wasn’t Gods plan for me and that I was surrounded by the bondage of evil that was directing me to act against God. Being told to repent for my sin of being gay and forcing myself to like women instead of men.
I felt like I had no real community I could be a part of. On one hand, most Christians didn’t want to claim me because I was openly gay. On the other hand, the gay community didn’t want to claim me either because of my religious and political views. I had nowhere to turn. No sense of belonging.
Although I didn’t really feel like I belonged to any group, it was a catalyst for the beginning of my life in recovery. I had a lot of time to reflect on who I was while I was drinking, and had even more time, and a clear mind, when I was sober to get to know me. I realized I was trying way to hard to fit in or forget. I took that anger and frustration and put it towards a healthy lifestyle for myself. I realized I had no one to impress but myself and God.
I picked up my Bible and detached from the gay scene. I found out that I didn’t need a community who shunned me because a certain aspect of my life didn’t align with their views or agenda. During the time of reflection on myself, people started mentioning niches in both communities that I could possibly be a part of. I detached and God sent me what I needed when I was ready. Like the saying goes, “Stop looking for ___fill in the blank___ and it will find you.” Boy was that true. When I felt I had no one to relate to, God sent me exactly what I needed.
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.
Lamentations 3:40 (NIV)
Since then I have been able to find alcoholism groups that focus on Christianity and/or being gay. I was shocked at the amount of resources there are out there for people who fit this very specific niche. I feel better about myself and my faith.
I encourage you, that if you feel like you have no one, sit down and reflect on yourself and find out who you are. The rest will fall into place in time. Let yourself start trusting Gods plan for you. I wish I would have done it much sooner than waiting until my life was completely unmanageable.
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV)
If I had only known then what I know now! But I am grateful for all my experiences, good and bad. It all led me here.