Monday, March 6, 2017
What is it like? Part 1: background
The year was 1990. I was in my first semester as a junior in Bible college. In one of the classes I was in, Christian Ethics, we had to write a paper on some major issue of the day. I picked the Occult, and went to run it by my teacher, as we had to do. She said no. She told me that she had seen people get sucked into that just by studying it for good reasons, and asked me to come up with another one. I thought briefly, and asked if I could do it on homosexuality. She said that was fine, and she knew she had nothing to worry about with that one.
I found some books on the issue written from a Christian viewpoint. As I started reading, studying, and writing down things to use in my paper, it hit me. I can still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach, and the horrified feeling as I realized "this is me". What I was reading described me. At the age of 21, I realized I was attracted to guys, not females.
I was a naive kid. I grew up without a TV after the age of 12, attended a Christian school, and had no friends. I read a lot and kept to myself. I was picked on and bullied a lot at school, thought no one liked me, and tried to avoid other boys. I barely knew what homosexuality was. I barely knew what sex was. I always felt comfortable around girls, never realizing there was no attraction there, but a buddy type feeling that made me feel at ease around them.
Boys were the mystery, the enemy, and I was afraid of them.
I dated when I went to Bible college because it was the thing to do. Physical touch was discouraged there, so I never thought about why I didn't want to hold hands to kiss either of the girls I dated. Dating made me feel I was trapped, and it never lasted long.
And now here I sat with the realization I was attracted to guys. Suddenly, a lot of things made sense to me.
Why boys seemed so opposite to me
Why girls seemed like buddies to me
Why when I saw a romance novel with a shirtless guy and a barely dressed woman, my eyes went to the guy
Why my eyes were always drawn to nice looking guys, and not pretty girls.
I looked back over my teen years and realized these feelings had been going on for a long time, but I had not had a clue what they were.
Now I did.
I was going to hell.
Seriously, I thought that. The Bible says that homosexuals were going to spend an eternity in hell. I knew the verses.
I broke up with my girlfriend immediately, and went through the rest of the year in a bit of a daze. I needed help, but who to tell? I was living in a boys dorm on a very conservative Bible college. If I told anyone, it would mean getting kicked out of college.... even though I had done nothing.
I made it through that semester and the two semesters of the following year, carefully guarding my secret, listening as the other boys made jokes about gay people, and made fun of them.
The summer after I graduated, I finally did it. I wrote a letter to a friend from college who lived several states away. I had been a loner even in college, but he was one guy I had hung out with some. I can't remember how I worded it, but I beat so far around the bush that I am still amazed that he read between the lines and figured out what I was talking about. He sent a letter back, and assured me that I was not going to hell for having these attractions/feelings. We wrote back and forth for a few years, and for a long time, he was the only person who knew. I messaged him a few months ago and thanked him for all he did and said all those years ago. It helped more than he will ever know.
Those days are long past. I really never dreamed that some day I would be admitting my struggle on a public blog....... well, I never dreamed we'd have something like the internet back then either..... but I seriously thought this would be something I'd hide for the rest of my life.
Eventually I did start telling more people. I told my pastor, and eventually if anyone pressed hard enough on why I wouldn't date, I'd tell them. For the most part, the reactions were good. Either people weren't bothered by it as I had originally feared, or they covered it well.
So what IS it like to be attracted to the same sex, and have to deal with that on a daily basis? If you're still reading, I will discuss it more in my next blog post, so as to not make this one too long.