I realised my sexual orientation from age seven when I fell for my Year 3 student teacher, and was fixated with other boys at school and Uni, but, growing up in a sheltered environment, had no fitting vocabulary to describe my feelings. Even when I did, my refrain would always be I’ve never ‘felt’ gay: my gender expression is definitely masculine: my man friends outnumber woman, and cis-straight outnumber LGBT+. Growing up in the military, I was often told gay people are “sick” and “should be put on a desert island and shot”.
I’d say I ‘became a Christian’ aged 15½, responding to an altar call at the first church I’d been to voluntarily after sensing God call me to Him through a TV broadcast. In hindsight this was death-insurance, believing that if I said ‘the sinners’ prayer', all would be well for my eternal destiny (which I still do believe) but that nothing else need or would change. I reaped what I sowed, which was nothing. The church I attended was middle everything. There was clapping, raised arms, anointing the sick, altar calls.
When I settled into a church with conservative evangelical leadership, I was challenged that ‘Christian’ is mentioned infrequently in the Bible. I’m a saint. A disciple. Saints are transformed people. Disciples are followers who replicate and, in the case of Christ-followers, take up their self-denial cross. My discipleship has been enriched by discovering twelve-step recovery some years ago: if I want my life to be enriched, I need to seek to hear and do the will of God, daily denying myself. When I relish the Bible and prayer, investing my life into serving others, I find life in all fullness.
I’m a Christ-follower.
I identify as charismatic: I look for and see Holy Spirit at work in my life and those around me, offering gifts as He wishes. I identify as evangelical: I treasure the Bible as a key source of objective truth for faith and conduct. I identify as progressive: I cherish the Bible enough to read it carefully and respectfully, in cultural context, and grappling with it with others. And I’m gay. Often I feel like I’m plate-spinning and have to drop one or more if I’m going to fit in with one Christian setting or another. So……
Time to nail my colours to the mast. Biblically, physiologically, I don’t see how being gay can be God’s best plan for me. But that’s what is. I’ve had every form of reparative therapy, which hasn’t worked. So I take my brokenness and offer myself to God to see what He can and wants to do with me. I’ve never felt called to celibacy: I long for a civil partner (for me, marriage is a covenant between husband and wife) to share life, serve God’s people, make a home with where God’s people can be nourished with food and words, and most importantly, to glorify Christ with!
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this blog and would like to talk to someone, we recommend the LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 or their online chat facility.