I think I’ve made progress. My beliefs about gay people, about what it means to be gay, have shifted dramatically over the past 18 months. For too much of my life I accepted the dogma of the evangelical church about homosexuality – that it is a lifestyle choice, that engaging in homosexual acts is sinful and destructive, that gay marriage is a threat to society. I now recognize this for the bullshit it is. It is clearly not a choice, and there IS no “gay lifestyle.” The ethics of sexuality have nothing to do with gender preference. Whether gay or straight, people can indulge in immoral sexual behaviors – choosing to fulfill their sexual desires in destructive or exploitative ways. But people both gay and straight can also have sexuality as a rich and healthy part of life. And I honestly can’t see how it would be anything but good for society to formally sanction committed relationships, regardless of the genders of the persons involved. That’s all pretty drastically different from the party line I accepted for so many years.
But sadly I’m discovering that better beliefs do not automatically translate into better emotional health. My second coming out to my wife 18 months ago was spurred by desperation, and though it was agonizing, there was at least some sense of relief, a hope that things might change. But here I am, 18 months later, and I still wake up in the middle of the night, overwhelmed by shame and self-loathing. I am still plagued by fear and anxiety, growing increasingly desperate to find a future where I don’t hate myself. I had hoped to find wholeness – integration of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. But instead I feel like I’m becoming more fragmented, one moment intellectualizing, the next, overwhelmed by the emotional baggage. Seeing my spirituality fade, but feeling no loss. Unable to focus at work, distracted at home, and physically exhausted.
What will it take to get past this?