I Identify as a gay male. It’s the identity of who i am and who i’m attracted to.
It’s an important part of me because it’s the most intimate part of me. It’s something I’ve always known. I always knew from a young age that I liked guys instead of girls. There were many times where I thought something was wrong with me. I thought I was broken or messed up. That’s where the journey started of learning what sexuality was. From my church family—my parents—and just from society at the time, the culture was [that love] is between a man and a woman. I’d actually like to say a prayer before I say more:
“Father thank for Andrea and her taking this afternoon to interview me and pick my brain. On the way here as we were talking, the biggest sense that I got from you was to just be honest about where I’m currently at and what this journey has been like for me. It’s been a huge part of my life and my greatest hope is that through these questions and through these people that review this [interview] are able to see how you’re integrated into this story because you’re the most important thing in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Young Seth felt very isolated from the church. I was very ashamed and afraid that someone was going to find out [I was gay]. I didn’t really know how to come to terms with it. I didn’t tell a single soul about it until I was in college. It sucked because the one place I liked being the most (the church), also felt the most unsafe at times. That really hurt. I didn’t know what to do with it. When I turned thirteen I made the solid commitment to walk this journey with God. That’s when I began to really talk with him about [sexuality] and meditate through scriptures, and do the “good Christian things”. As I progressed, around fifteen years old, the Lord said to me “I want you to trust me with this area of your life.” At first I was like “Here, take it! I don’t want to be gay anymore!” And low and behold, there was no response. I cried myself to sleep night after night. I thought to myself constantly, “What the heck? Why aren’t you taking this away?” Then I realized, that’s not what he was saying to me. He was saying “Trust me that I will help you work this out.” That was this whole journey has been for me. A walk with God. It’s been the pressures from the church and my own personal walk with God.
I tried to “Pray the gay away”. What else was I supposed to do? The only thing I knew how to do was to trust god with this.
Over time however, what I’ve found interesting, is that when I’ve opened up to people in the church about this part of me, they’ve never rejected me. Which is not the case for many people, you hear terrible stories about how of not responding the way that they want Christ to respond to them. The people I’ve engaged with have heard me for where I was at. They understand the big dilemma between Christianity and and sexuality. For some people, it’s a hard line in the sand but for others it’s not. The people I’ve trusted with this part of me care more about Seth than my sexuality. That’s the greatest thing I’m learning right now.
Homosexuality was not a question growing up because heterosexuality was the only option.
The idea or concept of being gay wasn’t even a thing [in my family]. It was either you’re heterosexual or there’s something about you that is broken or there was a need that wasn’t met, or abuse that occurred. There has to be an answer or solution to “fix” it. In their mind, gay people were a product of something missing in their home life such a love or a bond with your father, that caused you to “turn gay”. I believe there is some truth to what they are saying that in the sense that something like that would cause issues in someone’s life, but it’s not tied to sexuality. Heterosexual people go through these same issues with family.
The first time I came out to my parents I was a sophomore in college. I came to them "as a struggle”, like I came to them and told them that I was struggling with my sexual desires. In the Christian community, that’s a polite way of saying you’re gay. In order for them not to reject me, I also told them I was trusting God with this “struggle”. At that time, because I phrased it like that, it was okay. They said they would pray for me and trusted I would find the “right” path. The problem was, they never talked about it or brought it up ever again. It just added shame.
moving out to arizona allowed me to take steps to actually embrace being gay.
I was living in my car for two days when I met a really good friend, Brandon. I was a dumb kid at 23 years old. Brandon me let me kick it on his couch until I could find a place to live. He was gay too and he was just so confident in himself and his sexuality. Being able to put eyes on someone who had joy and excitement and who had comes to terms with being gay helped me out a lot. It made me really feel like gay is okay. Once I booked a trip back home for a visit and I actually came out to my brother first and told him about the way that our parents first responded and he was pushing me to come out to them a second time. The real issue is that my parents get their authority from somewhere different. A normal person might say, if that’s who you are then embrace it. My parents see authority in the Bible with heterosexuality being the true and right way. It was confusing because I get my authority with God as a Christian.
Recently I started talking with a pastor recently who is actually studying these particular parts of scripture where this type of authority comes from. He’s changed his views on sexuality and done what they call “affirming”. He said, “think of the fruit that’s bearing in front of you in terms of sexuality. Are you doing anything terrible or wrong to someone else?” and I said, “No I’m not.” He said, “Okay let’s take the example of stealing from someone. Are you then producing a bad fruit?.” (The “fruit” is the outcome in his analogy.) If I’m taking something that’s not mine, the relationship between me and the other person becomes damaged and I’ve produced a bad fruit. In terms of sexuality, when I love another man and care for him, what fruit am I then producing? It’s a fruit of love, and maybe many other ones in terms of a healthy relationship with someone else.