I have read many stories of people who have “come out again” or accepted they are gay after some time in the ex-gay world. Many of their stories are compelling and well-written. But, sometimes I wish they would get to the point right off the bat. Just say it and then tell the story. So that is what I am going to do: I am gay.
Now take a deep breath (talking to myself here), and here is more of the story for those interested.
What Led To This Post?
The past six or so years have presented an opportunity to question my beliefs and evaluate my experiences without an idealized agenda. Then in 2011, as a result of all the turmoil that erupted at Exodus International (my former employer from 2002 to 2013), I began to dig deep and ask hard questions. Who am I? What do I make of my journey to date? How does God view me, my state of being? I questioned/pondered/re-examined all this and more again. Then in January of 2013, a man named Michael, someone I dated for a little while 24 years ago committed suicide. We remained good friends up until his death. His death was shocking and I still mourn his passing. Michael had several difficult issues contributing to his suicide, and I know he also struggled with his faith and sexuality. His death shook me to my core and made all the questions I had been asking were even more stark, consequential, and pressing. After being laid off from Exodus International (as a part of closing it down) in August of 2013, I began to have the personal space to think things through without distraction or filters.
Parallel to all this was a deepening and expanded understanding of God’s grace. These factors get more specific and complicated, but I think that the above describes the gist of how I began to come to the conclusions that I present in this post. I could have written this post last summer but was discouraged by some feedback I received. Regardless, I needed to pray and think it through a little while longer. Now is the time to do this. There is more about my motivations later in this post, too.
The Spectrum Of Sexuality
To be honest and accurate, I would have to say that I am gay with some level of bisexual tendencies. The truth is, that my primary sexual attraction is toward men. It is also true that to date the love of my life has been a woman. I was attracted to her in every way. Many people won’t believe me but what I just shared is true. I would be lying by omission if I didn’t share that side of myself. For me, developing strong sexual attractions is driven by emotional attachment more than anything else. My relational history has shown that I can indeed have attractions to either gender if the emotional attachment is there.
If that is confusing to you… welcome to my world.
Some snapshots of my history, at the age of 10 I was “out” to myself, I came out to friends at 16 and out to everyone as a gay man at 19. At 19, I paid a heavy price for coming out. I was as liberal a Democrat as one could be too. Then I became a Christian and moved toward being an ex-gay poster boy (the last Executive Vice President of Exodus International). At one point I was featured in a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times and featured in a book by Watergate figure Charles Colson called The Good Life. For about five years of my time working for Exodus (2003 to 2008), I was a political activist on the religious right as well. I was vocal and open about my beliefs that I no longer identified as gay while in Exodus circles for 23 years.
I shared the preceding paragraph to illustrate that it is in my nature to champion my personal beliefs. I’ve always believed what I have declared publicly to be true. Yes, those beliefs have been all over the map in 46 years but I have always been a true believer in whatever I was professing.
Four or five times, in offline social settings, over the past five months I was asked if I was gay. Each time I answered, without hesitation, “I am bi-sexual with a propensity toward dudes.” That brought smiles each time and I was told that if I was bi, gay, … whatever, they wanted me to know they accepted me. But, this is the first time in my life where I felt there were inconsistencies between what was happening in some circles as opposed to others. I started seeing the potential of a fragmented life developing and I *never* want that. There is nothing more tortured than feeling like you can’t be consistently you wherever you are. These recent offline disclosures were leading to an issue of conscience for me. As I was thinking through and writing this post it became clear that it is most accurate to say that I am gay with a bisexual propensity that I can’t adequately describe :).
Whether anyone cares, pays attention, approves, disapproves, friends or unfriends me isn’t the point. The point is that I need to stay true to how I am wired, be honest, and consistent with what I believe to be true in this regard. Writing this post is something I need to do as a part of taking personal responsibility for my past journey and being honest in my present reality.
My love for Jesus and His finished work on the Cross is unwavering, and stronger than ever. I am as saved today as I was the moment I believed in, and received Him as my Lord and Savior. He rose from the dead to open the door to reconciliation with God and eternal Life. I’ve already walked through that door. He is in my heart. None of that changes regardless of my sexuality or my all-to-human musings. It doesn’t change because it’s all on Him and He never changes. He loves me, I know it. He loves you, is not angry with you, and I hope you know that truth.
Currently I am not dating. I have not been dating. I have not had a sexual partner in 24 years. I am in no hurry to change that reality. Plus, I have no doubt I would probably be a weird date ::: grin ::: I mean seriously, how do you explain all … this? Being single has been a life-giving state of being for me and my place in community. I am content. Today as a single gay man, I am relationally whole, and at peace. There is love in my life; God, friends, family, work … I’m in a good place.
About The Future…
One thing I definitely have learned is to stop declaring what tomorrow will be like or what the future will bring. Could I see myself with a man? Yes. Could I see myself with a woman? Yes. Could I see myself being celibate for the rest of my life? Yes. Today has its own troubles and I am not worrying about tomorrow. I rest in God’s grace and trust Him to be the Good Shepherd He has proven, over and over, to be. Whatever happens, loving Jesus is at the core of who I am. Regardless of any relationship I have or will have, abiding in Christ will always be my “Home.”
Even though I have issued two apologies to the gay community (here and here) and found my first sense of identity and community as a gay youth/young man, I am not sure many will accept my apologies or this disclosure. I would definitely understand some people’s reluctance given my history. That said, while I care about what others think, I am doing this because I feel it is the right thing to do.
I am gay. I am ok with who I am. I hope we can continue to journey together.