“Mum? Dad? How do I become a Christian?”
The question of a four year old in an evangelical Christian home.
Faith has always been incredibly important to me. It is the foundation of my identity, a compass for my choices and my reason for persevering. My faith, more than anything, defines me. In the evangelical tradition sexuality was a taboo subject when I was growing up. All I ‘knew’ was that homosexuality was wrong, and it was assumed knowledge that people from broken homes or who had an abusive upbringing might ‘choose’ to be gay. Children in Christian homes would never ‘choose’ to be gay.
Given all of that, I guess it isn’t a surprise I didn’t acknowledge or accept my gayness until I was 23. For years I denied to myself that I quite liked looking at other guys and that I found the female form to be uninteresting; something definitely not to be touched. I thought the desire to look and touch and fall in love with the female form would arrive. I was sure when I was 13 and my Dad asked me if there were any girls I liked that soon enough there would be. But I didn’t say that. I just chose one who I thought had nice hair and was extremely bright, and named her. He didn’t know any of them anyway. I think I spoke to her three times in the whole of High School. Not just because of shyness (though I guess being an introvert played a part), but lack of interest too.
The brokenness associated with gay people in my faith tradition meant I didn’t know what to do once I accepted my sexuality. Should I tell anyone?
I decided to tell my parents. They loved me deeply, but said some fairly unhelpful things. I was left with more questions.
Should I stay single? Would I manage with only dogs and guinea pigs for company for the rest of my life? I pretended to myself for a long time that I could.
For years I wrestled with depression and anxiety (I still do at times), and I prayed that God would make me attracted to women. That prayer went unanswered (plenty of other times I have seen incredible answers to prayer).
Eventually, I was brave enough to read books that suggested being gay was not such a terrible thing — in fact, it is a gift. I read God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines and Undivided by Vicky Beeching and a fair few others. I also read books that strongly maintained that same sex relationships are against the will of God — a sign of a broken world (I know reading those words will be triggering for some — sorry — if you are LGBTQ+ you are not a sign of brokenness, you are a sign of love in its purest form, love for love’s sake). After a lot of reading, I wondered what it would be like to find a partner, someone who shared my faith and some of my experiences. So I went looking.
I found someone.
This is a part of my story. You can read more about my partner, and more about my theological understanding of gay relationships too in other posts. You can read the next post in this series here.