My Journey Through, and Deliverance From, the Gay Life and Lie
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I examined the bizarre political orthodoxy that the world is imposing on the church. We’re supposed to believe that gender is fluid and shifting, but sexual desires are inborn and fixed. My own story, and what I learned about myself through my conversion back to Christ, gives that the lie. So permit me to talk a bit about myself.
I was a lonely child. I thought I was different, but I didn’t want anyone else to know. The harder I tried to hide these strange inner feelings, the more obvious they seemed to become. I presumed that every man in my life rejected me. There was something wrong. I didn’t fit in with the other boys and they sensed this peculiarity. Like a school of piranha, they instinctively honed in on the lop-sided straggler. At recess, these boys circled me and pecked me apart, piece by piece.
I recoiled and found solace in fantasy and make-believe. I became obsessed with The Wizard of Oz. It let me dream of somewhere just “over the rainbow” where even the misfits, like a Cowardly Lion, could find acceptance, peace, and joy. For those brave enough to begin the journey down the yellow-brick-road, the culmination of our suffering was the eventual realization of our true self. That hope was always there.
I finally got to be friends with boys like the ones who had teased me. Sex forged a keen, if fleeting, bond. It often seemed that I traded sex for acceptance and affection. I put up with physical and emotional pain, for the sake of connection.
But for many years, I struggled with myself. I didn’t want these strange feelings. I certainly didn’t want to act differently or look conspicuous. So I tried to conform. It never worked. I wondered why I was made this way. In the era of AIDS, I wondered if a malevolent God had predestined some of us to an early grave.
When my male relatives began to date women and marry, I looked at those men with revulsion. They were alien to me. They were like other boys. And yes, they were — like our fathers. I didn’t want to be like them. (In hindsight, however, I usually ended up yearning for men who subconsciously reminded me of them.)
Is “Coming Out” Redemptive?
At age eighteen, I thought my only hope was to “come out.” Yes, I was afraid of contracting an incurable disease (which was then also untreatable.). But I was much more afraid of living alone. So out I came.
For a while, I thought I’d made the right decision. Freely expressing my sexuality turned a secret source of shame into the center of my joy.
At first, I couldn’t believe it. Incredibly handsome and masculine men wanted to be with me. To be near me. To touch me. Since I was extremely insecure and suspicious, at first I thought it was a cosmic joke. Soon they’d turn and reject me.
I never forgot an incident in high school: An older boy whom I’d adored from what I thought was a discreet distance approached me one day. He grinned, and spoke in a kind and welcoming voice. As we talked to each other, we walked for a few feet and then rounded a corner. His friends were waiting there. He shoved me away and began to berate me.
Surely that’s what would happen again, wouldn’t it?
But it didn’t.
With gay men, I finally got to be friends with boys like the ones who had teased me. Sex forged a keen, if fleeting, bond. It often seemed that I traded sex for acceptance and affection. I put up with physical and emotional pain, for the sake of connection.
Still Playing Out Childhood Traumas
A decade passed. I wasn’t eighteen any more. But I was still desperate for other boys to like me. In my own mind I decided that this was pathetic. I didn’t know what to do.
I don’t know exactly why. Maybe God was working on me. But I began to question everything that I’d convinced myself to believe. When I was a kid, why did I feel so different? Was it because I’d been “born gay”? Or just because I was afraid and alone?
At the same time, sex changed. It had always been painful. (The parts don’t … fit.) Now it became excruciating. It turned from a moment of long-sought healing to an aggravation of old wounds.
The reproachful God whom I’d feared had been humanized through His sacrificial love for all mankind. It had already happened, in Jesus.
For a long time, I couldn’t talk about my childhood or even admit to myself what dynamics had formed me. It was just too painful. Then I could no longer avoid it. I was becoming self-protective and reclusive. I was alone again. My new isolation was greater than the dread of facing my past.
Almost blindly, I reached out for help and stumbled onto Courage. It’s a Christian support group for people with same-sex attraction, people who have made the conscious decision to no longer act upon their desires. At first, it was an immense revelation to learn that other men shared a similar story. I’d already heard countless tales from friends of vicious near sadistic schoolyard persecutions. Vulnerable half-drunken confessions about a distant and unloving father who never hugged them. But here, at least, some men were willing to admit that the pain never went away. That gay sex didn’t cure it.
Self-Deception About Gender
Self-deception about gender is at the heart of the homosexual condition. A child who imagines that he or she can be the opposite sex — or be both sexes — is holding on to a fantasy solution to his or her confusion. This is a revolt against reality and a rebellion against the limits built into our created human natures.
That was me.
And I had been living a lie. Or rather, an honest but deeply misguided mistake. I’d spent my life trying to make sense out of my uncontrollable yearning to receive acceptance and affirmation from other men. So I’d agreed with and integrated the core LGBT claim: that these emotions were not only inborn, but they determined my identity. I had been “born gay.”
The Love of the God-Man
Now I began to see that none of that was true. It fell away like a false religion. In its place, true faith could flower. The reproachful God whom I’d feared had been humanized through His sacrificial love for all mankind. It had already happened, in Jesus.
At the same time, men appeared surprisingly less distant and judgmental. I was less attracted to them. For the first time in my life, I could have a healthy Platonic relationship with another man. I found aspects of their personality that I admired. And I wanted to be like them. Most astonishingly to me, my greatest respect emerged for … married family men. Those guys whom I’d previously loathed (and secretly craved). I got to know them. Slowly, I absorbed what was central to these good husbands and fathers, what they had in common. They habitually renounced their selfish wants to more fully protect and provide for those assigned to their care. That is what masculinity meant to them.
I was attracted to the noble aspects of these men, but I didn’t want to have sex with them. What they could give me I received through friendship. Pure friendship, in every sense of both words. I didn’t consider myself “gay” any longer. But the LGBT world says that I don’t have the right to do that.
In Christ, I discovered pure friendship, in every sense of both words.
I may not be anything but what I was born to be, they insist. It’s “heroic” when some renounce the “incorrect gender” assigned to them at birth. I cannot escape my “sexual orientation,” they say. I was “born gay.”
The Last Moral Absolute: “Born This Way”
In a community that often scoffs at moral absolutes as hopelessly archaic and discriminatory, there remains just one unforgivable sin. That is, to say you are no longer “gay.” It’s the ultimate betrayal. And many good people, mostly Christians, have been unfairly caricatured and ridiculed for daring to say that. To the LGBT dogmatists, someone like me is hopeless, beyond treatment or help. I am a straight man trapped in a gay man’s body. I was “born this way,” and there’s nothing I can do.
But Jesus, who made me and died for me, knows better. It’s His view of things that interests me.
Joseph Sciambra is author of Swallowed by Satan: How Our Lord Jesus Christ Saved Me from Pornography, Homosexuality, and the Occult.