Coming out is something that actually happens in stages. Growing up, I remember so many times going to visit the closet to peek in and see if I was still gay, not ready to accept the full reality. Then, I decided to tell my parents, closest friends and family, etc., until now accepting my sexual orientation no longer carries with it any angst. It is a process that continues today, one that is hard, but so worth it. I’m protective of that “aligned” feeling, having lived without it for so long. Living a life that is congruent with my feelings has brought the deepest sense of inner peace. I feel aligned inside, and it’s a beautiful, important feeling. Today I want to come out just a li'l bit more.
Lately, I’ve felt the need to work on the courage part of my authentic living, and at the moment that looks like a blog post. I have received many messages from individuals who are curious about the current course of my own life, and the road I am personally on in regards to my own faith and orientation (since I haven’t really addressed that in this blog).
To be totally honest, because many readers here are of traditional Christian faith, LDS, or politically conservative, I’ve been concerned about just letting myself be seen in a totally transparent way. Being gay and Christian is an emotionally and politically charged topic, and everyone has a strong opinion about it.
I decided I had a few options regarding my conflict about wanting to be more transparent. One option was to disconnect, avoid addressing the life experiences that might make others uncomfortable… and the other riskier option was to allow the reader the opportunity to walk with me, accompany me, and learn with me as I risked feeling judged or misunderstood. I choose the riskier of the two. Following me on this journey may seem less comfortable than following me on my journey with paralysis. You may disagree with what I write, or the decisions I make. I understand if that is the case. But you are nonetheless invited, and I do hope you stay.
I’ve known my whole life that what I wanted most was to share everything I had with another person that I love. I’m a person that thrives on connection, affection and love. I think we all do, it’s how we are hardwired. Growing up, I remember being most aware of my sexual orientation when I felt connected emotionally, spiritually or in some other personal way to one of my male friends. I felt a deep sense of investment in the friendship and felt that I would do almost anything to help him, or prove my loyalty to him. For others, it is physical attraction that seems to bring the most powerful awareness of their orientation to the surface, and while that physical attraction is also present in my case, it is the emotional connection that I could make with men, and never women, that was most poignant.
Despite this need and desire to connect with men, most of my life was spent crushing these impulses and dreams (I’ve written about this). As I came out and started to slowly confront each feeling, one at a time, it became clear that what I wanted most deeply was companionship with a man. The question was, what would I do? Over the course of a year of the deepest introspection, prayer, and seeking, it became clear on every level, including a spiritual one, that I should pursue the desire of my heart… companionship with a man. And because of my values, I believed (and still believe) that the best way for me to uphold that commitment was through marriage.
I have approached every decision in this aspect of life (being gay) with incredible deliberation; nothing has been done thoughtlessly or impulsively. I understand all of the rhetoric behind why this decision could be wrong by traditional faith-based standards, but it is exactly the spiritual that has led me to the decisions I have come to. As much as I have known anything spiritually, I’ve known that this is what I should do.
When I began this blog, I think my hope was to bring to worlds closer together. It’s been difficult to see that, for the most part, the opposite has seemed to occur. It’s been interesting to have been in the middle of decision making on this LGBTQ front while both the U.S. and the LDS church were doing the same, but in different directions. The United States recently made changes allowing same-sex couples to wed in all 50 states, and the LDS church recently came out with a policy directed specifically at same-sex married couples, requiring membership restrictions of them and their children. Talk about dissonance. I’ve felt safer and more endangered simultaneously as I’ve tried to process both. Celebration and mourning, acceptance and feelings of betrayal… I know I’m not the only one that has felt this dissonance.
These feelings of conflict have continued to contribute to a sense of displacement, feeling like neither a citizen nor stranger, but something tortuously in-between. Regardless of the conflict, however, I feel a deep sense of confidence on my personal path because of the experiences that I have had. I also feel peace and hope at the thought of securing for myself connection and belonging with a man. My endeavors have changed slightly from finding some safe space to creating a safe space, one that is world of its own, full of individuals who have earned my trust, individuals with whom I share a deep, safe connection. I want to create that space for others as well.
I write what I do because I feel there is still an enormous need for conversation surrounding this topic, especially in the community in which I live. I remember being a scared, ashamed young man who wondered if death would be preferable to the shame he experienced. It will forever be my goal to make the world safer than I found it, and more tolerant and more loving than when I came into it. No LGBTQ person need ever wonder if they are worthy of love. We are all worthy of love.
I will do my utmost to make this blog a continued safe place for those who are unfamiliar with, but still seeking greater understanding of LGBTQ issues, and hope to demystify some aspects of the LGBTQ experience. I continue to learn and grow as I walk down this path, and looking forward to continued light and happiness as I attempt to do so thoughtfully and prayerfully.