Monday, July 03, 2006

70. The Fence

So, Willie Hewes asked me a question the other day.  She asked me where I stood on the whole Side A/B thing.  I’ll clarify, for those of you who are new to the game.

Side A is the side that believes that God does bless same-sex monogamous relationships.  Side B believes that God calls all gay people to celibacy… and a new term coined by Eric from Two World Collision is Side X, which believes that God ‘heals’ gay people (turns us straight) if we try and believe hard enough.  And then there is the term that defines me.  Side C… the point directly between A and B.  No man’s land… uncharted territory.

So, to answer your question, Willie Hewes, I’m nowhere. I still have not come to a conclusion.  But thinking about it reminded me of a dream I had a few years ago.  Funnily enough, I can tell you the date, because I woke up from it and immediately emailed a friend of mine, and I’m kind of an email pack-rat so I still have a copy of that email.  I’ll just copy and paste it here – editing only for spelling and grammar (mainly punctuation and capitalization).  The dream I had on Thursday, February 26, 2004 was as follows:

In my dream I guess I'd joined a gay club or group or something. I don't know if I dreamed the meeting and I've just forgotten, or if the dream picked up after the meeting. But what I remember is the parking lot after the meeting. I'd obviously just joined and didn't know a lot of people. But I was looking around and people seemed so happy. There were a few couples, some guys holding hands, some girls felt so nice. Easy. I had a feeling like "Why have I been fighting this. This is where I belong." I was talking with this nice Asian guy and I spotted this girl I thought was pretty. This part of the dream went on for a while, but there's not much to say about it except that it felt so nice and safe and kind of like “Finally!"   And then I heard something. The building we (the gay club)were in was either right behind a church, or the church was right behind it...we sort of shared a parking lot...sort of...the logistics aren't important. The thing is, the worship team from the church had stepped outside I guess to warm up and were singing a song -- something about Eternal Father...again, not sure if it was a real song or one my head just made up. They were very good. And it hurt so much. I stood there, among my new group of friends and my heart was literally aching. Someone from the worship team realized we were out there, and gestured to his friends and, still singing, they went inside, so as not to disturb us. I couldn't take it anymore, I tried to hide it for a while, but I actually broke down sobbing. After a few moments the Asian guy said,  "It's hard, I know", and I realized he had been singing along with the worship team...not in their group or anything, but when he heard them he  just started singing. We were starting to talk about it, or he was, because I was crying so hard, and then my alarm went off.

So, here I am, living in that parking lot.  Not in the gay world, not in a church… at least not right now in Korea.  But even back in Canada, where I am a part of (and quite involved in) a church I don’t feel like I’m fully participating because part of me is always closed off and hidden when I’m there.  Even from those who know, because as loving and accepting as they have been, I do not feel comfortable being fully me around them.  For example, I don’t feel that any of them would be comfortable with my expressing any level of attraction for another woman, unless I was ‘confessing’ it as something I was ‘guilty’ of.  And as I don’t enjoy feeling guilty all the time, I just don’t mention it.

Now, that having been said, I’m experiencing something quite new to me here in Korea.  I’m used to being judged from the church/religious side.  That, for the most part, just rolls of my back now.  I’m not used to the judgment from the other side that I’m getting from my friends here.  The absolute bafflement at the fact that I am a 30 year old voluntary virgin, that I believe that sex is something sacred, and that even if I were to firmly land in the Side A camp tomorrow, that doesn’t mean I would be having sex with a woman any time soon.  And beyond bafflement, the attitude that I need to stop believing what I believe and just jump into the deep end of sexual activity in order to be fully realized as a person is unbelievable.  I mean, I’ve actually been told that I can’t possibly understand myself fully until I’ve had sex.   And I’ve taken that statement and made it less blunt and patronizing than it was originally.  

What this is making me realize is that this middle ground I’ve been occupying for what seems like ages can’t be maintained forever.  Eventually I’ll have to choose sides… nobody likes a fence sitter.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

I don't believe that anyone believes that you should " just jump into the deep end of sexual activity in order to be fully realized as a person..."

For most people, sexual activity simply becomes a part of life at one point or another, gay or straight (not that I think you don't know this)...but given how much you agonize over your desires to be with women, it is likely just a comment some make in hopes you will follow your heart.

It seems to me that much of what you are torn about is various interpretations of the bible. Now, I am not well read in terms of the "big book"...but I believe this much....the sides A, B, C, X, that you debate, may not be the only sides to consider...I assume that these are sides taken by people of the Christian faith...well dig a little deeper and perhaps you will find the rest of the alphabet. Seriously, had you been born 50 years ago, you might have found yourself without these sides, or in 50 years from now, the gay topic may begin to include Side 4, 5 and 6, as all the letter of the alphabet have been claimed.
So my point is, there will always be someone else's interpretation; you can't take all of them up for consideration.

When you fall in love with someone, you will do your best to make her and yourself happy, you'll continue to be kind with others....what more can God or anyone else ask? Stop seeking approval....because that is not something you will find from everyone.

Now maybe this isn't the best comparison, though maybe it's perfect:

I have a feeling there is a Muslim woman somewhere, who on most levels, is quite content with her life. She has a fantastic husband, children and she loves her religion. In secret, she created a blog titled, "Bacon". See, she knows that much of the world, including those who are devoted to God, eat bacon. Anyway, you see where I am going with this....

So, perhaps you are saying, NO! that is not the same! That's not a fair comparison, it is too simplistic. Maybe it is...but maybe not.

Peterson Toscano said...

I thought often about this post of yours throughout the weekend. I just spent a week with two groups of gay Christians in Florida. Earlier in the week I hung out with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex 7th Day Adventists. They have been meeting as a group for over 20 under great opposition, but they have created a community for themselves where they affirm the love in Jesus and their sexual differences.

Then this weekend I spent time with folks from the Sarasota Metropolitan Community Church. Saturday afternoon I met Sue, a joy filled lesbian who assissted me with the sounds and lights for my show. That evening about 200 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and other people of faith showed up for my show.

I met couples young and old, all types of queer folks, charismatic, evangelical, universal people of God. It so encouraged me to see them free to express all sides of themselves and not feel compelled to loop a part off.

Back in the early 80's when I began my ex-gay quest, there were very few open queer communities of faith. Now there are hundreds. LGBT folks are coming out spiritually all over the place. Some times it is harder to come out spiritual than it is to come out gay in church, but more and more folks are stepping up.

I always appreciate your integrity as you seek to be authentic in your life.

JJ said...


One of the great things I've discovered as I've been searching this out is that there is a community of faith for those of us who are gay... it's just that... well, if I go there, I kind of have to leave my own community of faith. If I end up Side A I don't think anyone at my church, or in my Christian world would 'kick me out', or in any way intentionally make me feel unwelcome, it would just be difficult to be around people who probably wouldn't think I was a Christian anymore. The idea of that makes me sad, because I do love these people, and I feel loved by them. It would hurt to leave them.

That having been said, I can say with honesty that it isn't a factor in my 'decision'... or my sorting this out. It's just a reality that I have to deal with.

And Anonymous,

As far as the 'jumping into the deep end' thing is concerned, it's kind of hard to express in a single blog entry what these particular conversations with these particular friends are like. Literally, I was told that I don't understand myself because I'm a virgin... I don't know how else to interpret that statement. It's pretty clear. Whenever sex would come up (which it began to more and more as their flirtation increased) I can't tell you how many times I was told I needed to 'change' the way I live. The constant 'you just don't understand', or 'you'll see when it happens' talk is probably true... sex is not something I know about, but it is patronizing. And constant. I realize that they aren't meaning to be condescending, and that is the reason I'm still friends with them and haven't told them off (yet). I just get tired of the "we'll get you, JJ" or the ominous "by the time you leave Korea..." statements they make about me.

As for the Side A/B/C/etc... I don't think these options are particularly new... I just think they have more recently been given names. And only so that people like me can quickly state my perspective to people conversant in the debate.

I have to admit to one thing that annoys me and that is that people always assume that I'm 'seeking approval' from other people, and that that is the reason for this internal debate. I won't deny wanting other people's approval, that is a human desire, but it is not the motivation for this debate. At all. I want God's approval. I know I have His love, that is not a concern either, but I don't want to do something that He says is wrong. The debate is not "what does the Church say about homosexuality", but "what does God want me to do with my life?" It's personal, and whatever side I land on, I know that. If I land on Side B (the celibate side) I won't judge Peterson because I know that he has had his own personal conversation and debate about what God want's his life to be and I trust him enough to believe that he is living that out to the best of his ability.

Anyway, the point is that as self-centered as this sounds, this journey is about me and my personal relationship with Christ. I look to others for help, because I'm human, but in the end it isn't about those people.

Anonymous said...

i don't know what is going on in his whole justification of sexuality.
Just WHAT sexual immorality to a gay person? Yes you can make your arguments and rationalize the scriptures against homosexuality, but you have to admit there are dozens of scriptures agains sexual sins in general, and i don't see you erring on the side of caution!

JJ said...

Anonymous II,

I just have one thing to say to you... READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT. "Erring on the side of caution" is exactly what I'm doing.

Willie Hewes said...

I really think things would improve if you would tell your friends not to make comments like that. Sexuality is something very personal, and from what you've been saying the way they treat you borders on harassment.

You don't have to make a big scene, just tell them calmly but seriously that you don't appreciate these comments about getting laid or getting you a girlfriend. Just explain to them that your sex life is your business, and their prying and poking makes you feel uncomfortable.

In all likelyhood, they'll go: "oh, sh--, yeah. Sorry," and try to be a little more considerate. I know what they're doing but it's not funny, and it's not OK. Please stand up for yourself, I think it'll make things better.

Your friendship doesn't have to end when you tell them off, in fact, I'd say the ability to tell each other off without it damaging your relationship is what makes a good friendship.

OK, that was it for the soapboxing. Thanks for the dream, that was really moving. I hope you can find your place in the world.

Ann Nyland said...

Hi, I did a blog search for 'Bible translation' and came across your blog, this post, and the comments which assumed that the Bible speaks against gay people. I'm a Bible translator, and can safely say that the New Testament does not say anything against gay people. Christian tradition does, but that is another matter. My blog is
The passages that appear to be anti-gay people have been rather badly mistranslated, following on from the translations of the year 1611, and our knowledge of Greek word meaning has improved susbtantially since those times! I'm not gay so I have no ax to grind, or agenda in saying this.
I completely agree, the whole matter is your own personal journey with Christ, it's no one else's business! Best wishes with it.