Monday, August 4, 2014

To The People Who Assumed...

One day, I may be more open about my same sex attractions.  I'm not saying that it'll be the start of every conversation, but one day I hope to have it be something I don't hide.

There are a number of things that give me pause, though.  And I'm sure that, over the course of blogging, I'll mention a number of them.  There's one particular thing, however, that has made me recoil from the thought of ever admitting to my struggle openly.  This one thing has so much power that for years it sent me into denial harder than I can say; I spent years unwilling to even admit to myself that I really had same sex attractions.  

And what is this one thing that I have let control my destiny for years?

Simple:  All the people who would say "I knew it all along."  

You see, from puberty onward, I had people assume that I was gay.  In fact, I didn't experience a genuine sexual attraction to other men until my mid-teens, and even before that, people still called me gay.  I was called all the slurs, all the ugly words that to this day I hate.  It hurt.  But it wasn't just the language they used.  It was the fact that they had assumed at all.  Because they didn't assume that about just anyone.  Why me?  Was there something wrong with me?

We're sorry, but your condition defies diagnosis.

Even when I began to experience attractions to other men, those old assumptions never stopped hurting.  It might seem like realizing "they were right" would cause me to be less offended by the thought of people pegging me as "gay."  After all, when most people say "gay" they don't necessarily mean that you live a gay lifestyle.  They just mean that you find people of the same gender sexually attractive.  By that definition, I am gay.  Then why did I go through all the effort of changing my mannerisms, of painstakingly changing the way I speak, of becoming more "straight acting?"  Why do I worry that I'm still not "straight acting" enough, despite all the progress I know I've made?  Why does it cut me so deeply to think that when someone meets me, the first impression might be to think I might be gay?

It's because when the gossips and bullies made those assumptions, they were implying so much more than just the attraction to other men.  They were reducing me to a label.  By taking traits and mannerisms that are inherently meaningless--and if you don't believe me, all you have to do is consider that countless "gay" men don't act a particular way, and many "straight" men have qualities often considered gay--and concluding that I must be gay, they were telling me that I was only a two dimensional joke.

When you say that a man must be gay because of the way he talks, you disregard his voice as being a tool for communication, for song, for loving, for connecting, and you reduce it down to nothing more than an indicator for whose pants you think he'd like to get into.  When you say that the way a man walks means he is gay, or that his physical mannerisms are a good sign, you disregard his entire body, his whole way of moving; you reduce it from a complex, beautiful creation of God or the sum total of all his life experiences and environment (all of which can affect those things), to being nothing  more than a signal of his sexual desires.  You cheapen him.  He's no longer a man.  He's a shallow stereotype.  

Saint Joan of Arc:
Saved France, inspired countless soldiers, heard the voice of God...
....wore short hair?
Pft.  Gay.  Move along, folks, nothing more to see.

That's why it still hurts.  Yes, I'm attracted to men, but I'm so much more than that.  I talked and acted the way I did when I was young because the most constant person in my life was my grandmother, with no man who was ever in my life as much as she was.  I emulated her.  I looked up to women, because a woman was my biggest hero in life.  As much as I loved and respected the man who would become a father to me, for reasons beyond his control, such as only coming into my life after I'd already started forming memories, I was incapable of really looking up to him as "what I should be" until it was far too late and the damage was done.  But even then, I never thought of myself as "feminine."  I wasn't trying to be a girl.  I wasn't trying to reject my gender.  I even had crushes on girls, and wanted to grow up and have a family with a wife someday.

So all those mannerisms by which I was judged were not about sexuality.  There was a deeper story behind it all.  There was a real human being behind them, with depth and aspirations and dreams, many of those dreams explicitly "straight" in nature.  But the people who assumed things about me were not looking any deeper than the surface.  They looked at a few shallow aspects of me and decided on the spot that they "knew" what I was.  It wasn't right.  Even if I had grown up to be flamboyantly gay, leading the gay pride parade, it would never have justified those assumptions.  

So if one day I'm more open about this struggle, and some of you who confidently assumed I was gay come across this blog, I have something to tell you:  You didn't "know it all along."  You assumed it.  And it just so happened that I did ultimately come to find other men attractive.  But you could have easily been wrong.  You were wrong.  Because all the "signs" that you used to judge me had nothing to do with who I am, or who I'm attracted to.  I'm more than that. I was always more than that.  And I can guarantee you that, if you applied your logic to many other men in my shoes, you've been wrong at least once even about the man's attractions, even if it's only a man you passively judged on the street one day:  Somewhere out there, there are men who have no attraction at all to other men, and yet who face unjust, shallow judgments because people have chosen, like you have, to make quick conclusions on shallow evidence.  It's not right.  You don't "know" what you think you do. 

So if I could ask one thing of you, something that can redeem all those assumptions you made about me, it's this:  Pray for me instead of taking satisfaction in being "right."  Realize that there was always so much more to me.  And in the future, when you meet a man who reminds you of me, who has similar mannerisms or behaviors to those that made you judge me, don't jump to conclusions.  He may not be attracted to men.  And even if he is, he's more than that, just like I am; he deserves to be looked at as a complex human being, he deserves for people to get to know him and find out the facts before they make such sweeping assumptions about him.  

And if you can give him that, then you'll be pointing to your own depth, beauty, and humanity too.  


  1. (Originally posted on 2014/08/22 at 6:40 am by Unknown)
    "Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of an experience I had, except in inverted fashion. I went and typed it all out but it was far too long for the comments here. I will share the 'gist' though or my 'life lesson' so to speak.
    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of this article. The biggest problem I have with the current so called wisdom of today's culture is the same old lie that the homosexual is absolutely incapable of being chaste. I have heard this lie repeated by Christians and by the most staunch of homosexual militants.
    They are people. I don't see a gay man. I see a person. And that person, that soul, Christ wants. He will make them holy. No one is incapable of accepting that. And I have the greatest rejoicing in my heart when I see you who openly say that you are one who Christ is making holy. That doesn't mean you are perfect, that you don't struggle. And it also doesn't mean your desire is gone, leaving you on easy street.
    I try to tell some Protestants I know to stop insisting that that the homosexual must somehow have their 'desire' cured by Christ or else they can't be chaste or even a Christian. I try to remind them that while the desire itself is unnatural, it will not bar them from heaven even if it never goes away. I pray that Christ take it away from them, so that their life may be easier and that they would have natural desire. I don't pray that God takes it away from them because somehow if He doesn't that makes them some unique pariah that can't possibly be a Christian as long as they hold this single unnatural desire. As if somehow the man who quits drinking is somehow invalidated of his achievement because he stills desires to drink.
    We all have unnatural/evil desires, if we didn't, we wouldn't sin at all. We hate those desires, as I'm sure you do. However, at the same time, if those desires were just somehow taken from us, where would be the struggle? Where would we get to witness Christ's power in us as we deny ourselves to follow him?
    In Heaven, all those unnatural desires will be cleansed of us. Lets hope it is completed on earth by all means. First we must deny ourselves in those desires before we might see those desires lifted from us. Some people have been miraculously changed from desire and action all at once. God blessed those people, but for the majority of us, there is the struggle and the cross. And I think God has blessed us too!"

  2. (Originally posted on 2014/08/22 at 6:56 am by Unknown)

    "In continuation from above:

    I can't pretend to know a man's desires. I myself have been accused of being gay because I myself am not very masculine. I am shy. I am contemplative. When I was a kid, I much preferred the conversation in the kitchen with the adult women in my family to the company of the men screaming over a football game in the living room that I didn't care about. This of course was all about conversation, which I love, versus something that uninterested me. But to the 3rd party observer, one could easily assume, 'hates sports, wants to chat it up with the women…….must be gay'.
    If a person struggles with a desire and shares that with us, then by all means we should help them try to stay from temptation and lovingly guide them as they help us where we struggle.
    Our assumptions about people's inner desires and thoughts are impossible for us to know right off the bat. However, I will say that I like if people are interested! Get to know that person and maybe they will open up about their desires. Then you can know about them, and then you can take that knowledge and help them in holiness and they can help you. We should want to get to know someone's inner workings because we love them and want to help them, not because we want to be proven right about all the filthy things we just 'know' they want to do."

  3. (Originally posted on 2014/08/22 at 7:30 am by Unknown)

    "And……yes I'm back. One more thing after reading your second post on this topic which gave me more insight into you. As you mention you have this cross to bear and you appreciate the good you find in it. I think I understand what you mean here. You probably don't mean that you thank God you have sexual attraction to men. I think you are saying that you thank God that out of such a thing you were able to more easily bond to men in close relationship which is very much taboo in macho culture because of fear of being labeled, 'gay'.
    It's funny you mention this, since I myself have a best friend and I once attempted to make a speech to those who supported same sex marriage. My speech was about the deep love shared with my same sex best friend. I went on to say how I resented the insinuation that I could never be as close to him as two men who have sex together. I fought against this idea that 'sex' and 'love' were somehow interchangeable words and that to be against 2 people having sex was to label me as being against love. Quite the contrary. The love between the men is the only vestige of beauty, and my argument is that it is the sex that perverts that beautiful love. I went on and on in an almost sonnet of love for my best friend.
    It was a shame it didn't go over the way I had hoped. No one seemed to understand, or even wanted to. It seemed they couldn't swallow the concept that 2 persons of the same gender could be that close and not engage in sexual behavior. The bizarre and odd looks they gave me just evidenced more to me that it is they who deny love. Not we."

    1. (Originally posted on 2014/08/22 at 6:42 pm by Myself)

      "Thank you for your comments! I'm sorry to hear that you, too, have had assumptions made about you based on superficial things. You're right that, in my second post, I wasn't saying that I am thankful that I deal with temptations toward sexualizing men, because as the scriptures say we are to “flee temptation” which would mean that we certainly shouldn't pride ourselves on being tempted. But I was, indeed, expressing my gratitude for the good God has brought out of it, good which, in my particular life, might have been missed if not for it, a thought which, if true, makes it at least “worth it” in some way that I face such temptations.

      I'm sorry that your speech fell on deaf ears. The love that can exist between two men is incredibly beautiful, it can be quite intense, and I have no doubt that for some people–particularly those who aren't married–the love they have for someone of the same gender may be the single most important human-to-human love in their lives, just as important to them, and just as deeply felt, as any marital love. And that's not bad, that's beautiful. But as you say, it's often dismissed if it doesn't include sexual behavior.

      I think your best friend is very lucky that you are so devoted to love for him, so much that you practically wrote a sonnet for him. And it sounds like you are fortunate to have him too!

      God bless!"

  4. (Originally posted on 2014/08/22 at 8:32 pm by Unknown)

    "God bless you too, brother!

    It is wonderful that you have opened up so honestly about yourself in this area. We so desperately need men like you in The Church so the world can see you. The world will hate you for this. They will hate you for denying their offering of a poisoned feast. They will hate you because this is what 'gay pride' actually looks like. They will hate you because you will convict their consciences. Your mere existence is a conviction. I hope they take the conviction and come home to the Church. I hope they see that Joshua is not 'superman.' He is just a man, like everyone else, but why does he seem so different and special? Because Christ is alive in him!
    And I think people confuse masculinity for machismo. Men are indeed supposed to be masculine. We are to be strong. We are to defend families and the innocent. We are to be just. We are to be spiritual leaders. And we are supposed to stand up for what is true and right without ambiguity when called upon. I think you are doing that."