Saturday, August 20, 2005

4. Venting

I’m in the middle of  Stranger at the Gate, and I’ve got about 5 other books sitting by my bed… not to mention the ones that are coming in the mail… but for now, I have nothing really to say about my investigation into what God wants my life to be.  So I just thought I’d vent for a bit.

One of the assumptions that straight people make (both Christian and non) is that being gay is all about sex – that’s all we think about, that’s all we want… our homosexual desires are exclusively sexual.  I only realized this sometime in the last year.  I’m not sure what made me notice it, but it suddenly made a lot of things that straight people had said to me make sense.

The first time I ever told anyone I was gay was when I was 11.  Actually, I used the word ‘homosexual’ because it was the only word I knew.  All of my friends from church were getting baptized and my mom was angry at me that I hadn’t signed up to be baptized too.  One night, after she had been questioning me about it for about an hour, I finally broke down crying and told her – wrote it down on a piece of paper – “I can’t get baptized because I’m a homosexual”.

Needless to say, my mom was not pleased with this confession, and sent me for prayer with a couple from our church – Mr. and Mrs. H.  I don’t really remember anything Mrs. H. said to me, but I definitely remember everything that Mr. H. said.

He made the assumption that the abuse I had suffered at the hands of girls (which I guess my mom told him about) was the reason I was gay…so he made the assumption that I had enjoyed it.  I remember him saying “It was perfectly natural for you to like what they did to you, that’s the way God made your body…”  This scared me more than I think I can express, because what those girls had done to me had been disgusting, nauseating and not just a little painful, and for this man to tell me I should have enjoyed it was absolutely terrifying.  I told him that I hadn’t enjoyed it at all, but he wouldn’t believe me.  He actually didn’t believe most of what I told him, I ended up making things up so that he would stop asking me the same questions over and over again.  One of the things I made up for him was a lie I retold so many times, and to so many different people (when I would ask for prayer for ‘healing from homosexuality’) that up until quite recently I completely forgot that I had made it up – He kept trying to get me to ‘confess and renounce my moment of choice’ when I chose to be gay, so I manufactured one.

But as bad as that stuff was, it wasn’t as bad as the rest of it.  He was working under the assumption that my homosexual desires were sexual desires.  Now, I know some people remember having sexual desires from very young, so I think I might have just been a late bloomer in that regard – I didn’t really have any sexual desires until I was 16 or so.  So, here I was, an 11 year old girl, and this man kept asking me to confess my ‘sexual fantasies’.  When I tried to tell him I didn’t have any, I just had crushes on girls in my class – I just wanted to hold their hands, and other fairly innocent things – he wouldn’t believe me.  He said that if I didn’t confess my sexual desires I could never be healed of them… I remember him starting to describe a possible sexual fantasy I might have had, and I got so freaked out that, again, I made something up.  I said something about looking at women’s bodies on the street and thinking about them when I went to bed…I remember it so vividly, because it was so embarrassing and gross to me – I was still at that stage when all of that stuff was ‘icky’.  I think it was a couple of days after that that I told everyone I was better so they would leave me alone.

It was only a couple of months ago that it occurred to me that Mr. H. might not have been the disgusting pervert I’d assumed he was… in fact, he probably wasn’t.  He was just working under a ludicrous assumption that presented only one course of action to him. He couldn’t conceive of homosexuality existing outside of sexual desire.

Being gay is no more about sex than being straight is.  Of course I want sex, there is no way I can deny that, but it’s not in the front of my mind all the time…or even most of the time.

Of course, a lot of what is portrayed in gay culture doesn’t help – have you ever seen an episode of Queer as Folk?  Most gay people’s lives are not like that.  At least most gay people I know anyway…

Anyway, that’s my little vent.  I’m sure I’ll have something more productive to say when I’ve finished Stranger at the Gate.    


Rachiel said...

Hey thanks for commenting on my msn space! I personally am not gay, but I am a strong believer in rights for everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation is. it's good that there's people out there who stand up for the people who are gay.. Like you said in this post, it's not all about sex gay people may just enjoy being around people of the same sex and falling in love with the same sex may be easier for some people to do.. I'm just glad that not everyone is blinded by christianity enough to think that gays are so wrong.. =)

Eric said...

when i told my senior pastor that i was gay, he really didn't know how to counsel me. he didn't even know where to direct me. i was asking for help. i wanted to change. and there was nothing he could do or offer - not even an ex-gay ministry.

at first i was bitter with him for not caring enough about me to help me search for something out there that could help me sort things out. but now i realize that he just didn't know. i caught him by surprise and he didn't know what to do or what to say.

i think that we need a ministry that will equip people in churches with the capacity to be sensitive to those who are fragile and confused and searching for answers. for too long, gay people have run away from the Church because of being burned in some way.