coming out

Stories about coming out

This is my story

I’ve been writing this blog now for almost three years, and it’s been nearly four since my coming out 2.0. Just yesterday I returned from the GCN Conference 2017, so I’ve been reflecting on my journey so far, re-reading old posts, and taking stock of where I am today. After reading the coming-out story of a new friend, I was inspired to start fresh and write my story from scratch.

Gay, Christian, and Out 1.0

I grew up the youngest of six children in a Christian household with loving parents and a large extended family. I can picture little five-year old Greg sitting with my dad as he shared with me the message that Jesus loved me. How wonderful! With simple child-like trust, I felt the flood of God’s love as I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I was nothing if not sincere as a child. Throughout my childhood, I always strove to be good, wanting to please my parents and God.

In retrospect, I’ve known I was gay since childhood – well before I ever experienced any feelings I would identify as sexual. But I never would have used the term ‘gay’ to describe myself. In my family, my church, my social surroundings, there just wasn’t any connection between what I was feeling and the word “gay” – a word that described really bad people who hated God and did disgusting things.

But nevertheless, from about fourth grade onward, I had the growing sense that there was something different about me, and as puberty approached it became clear what it was. I was attracted to guys, and not girls. I remember in fifth grade finding a Playboy magazine (in a church parking lot, of all places…), and wondering what the other boys were feeling and why they were so interested in the pictures. And then about a year later stumbling across a Playgirl… aha! I started to understand.

But as I said, all that I knew about gay people was that were bad and disgusting and definitely didn’t love God, so I couldn’t be that. So how could make sense of what I was feeling throughout my teen years? My church provided me with a framework to understand it: Satan must be tempting me with these homosexual feelings, and so clearly I had to resist with all my might.

I graduated from high school and went off to college, where I got involved with InterVarsity – an interdenominational Christian campus ministry. I suppose college is a common time for faith transitions, and for me that meant a renewed fervor, a deeper personal commitment, and a growing faith in God. I got involved in leadership, and for my remaining college years, IV was the home of my faith development.

It was in this context that I “came out” for the first time.  Of course I could never have uttered the words “I’m gay” at that time (hence the scare quotes), and the extent of my boldness was to highlight passages dealing with “homosexual temptation” in a book on Christian sexual ethics, and then giving it to my staff worker. It doesn’t feel quite right to call it “coming out,” so I’ve taken to calling it Out 1.0. But nevertheless, it led to further conversation with my staff worker, and then subsequently to my coming out (still “1.0”) to several others – my closest friends, my parents, my sister, and eventually, my future wife. All were loving and supportive in their responses. But of course all of them also reaffirmed my own internalized belief that the only good response was to fight against these temptations.

Naive, Hopeful, and in Love

When my wife and I first met, we were both deeply committed to our faith, confident that God could do anything, and hopelessly naive. As I mentioned above, I was out (1.0) to her before we even started dating, and both of us were convinced that same-sex attraction was a temptation to be resisted at all costs. So we entered into our relationship cautiously, but optimistic that God would use our sincere love for one another as a part of my future “healing.” We dated, married, and started our family together.

Disillusioned and back in the Closet

Throughout all the years of our marriage, and especially in those early years, most things were pretty good. We had four beautiful, healthy children, a nice home, good jobs, and the love and support of our families. In most areas I was happy with how my life was unfolding. But my attraction to men never diminished, and my attraction to women never increased. As the years went by and it became clear that God wasn’t “healing” me, I began to lose hope. I internalized an unarticulated but persistent feeling that there must be something monstrously wrong with me. I still had every confidence that God could do anything, so if He wasn’t doing this thing for me, it must either be because He didn’t love me enough, or else I was SO inherently wicked that I stood in the way of my own healing. Too broken to be fixed. I experienced repeated bouts of depression over many years, and became withdrawn from friends and family. On the outside I tried my hardest to put on a happy facade, wanting to forestall any probing questions about why I might be feeling sad. But on the inside I felt alone, unloved, and unlovable.

Still Gay, Desperate, and Out 2.0

I spent too many years hiding and merely surviving. Moving from  Gay 1.0 (recognizing that I was attracted to guys ) to Gay 2.0 (accepting that I am gay) took over thirty years. Moving from Out 1.0 (“I struggle with homosexual temptation”) to Out 2.0 (“I. AM. GAY.”) took a couple more after that.  Maybe I’m just a slow learner… But I eventually got there. It’s been a little over five years since I first uttered those three small but powerful words to myself. I am gay. I am gay. I am gay! 

But dammit! what lousy timing to finally arrive at Gay 2.0! My wife and I were approaching our 20th anniversary, we had four kids, and I was working for a non-affirming religious organization. And so it took me another year before I was finally ready to come out to my wife. We sat on the floor of our living room in front of the fireplace, and tears flowed freely as twenty years of pain and loneliness came pouring out. The depth of her love for me was revealed that day in that her tears were genuinely for me. She was profoundly sad that I had felt such condemnation and unworthiness for so many years, and especially that I had suffered alone. She told me she loved me just as I am. And I was undone.

While coming out to my wife marked the end of my suffering alone, it also marked the beginning of a period of pain and questioning for her. Has he ever really loved me? What do I mean to him? Has our entire marriage been a sham? How could I not have known? Why would God do this to us? 

Slow Progress

Change has not come quickly in the four years since I came out to my wife, but it has come in fits and starts. We started out by reading everything we could find on mixed-orientation marriages, learning a whole new domain of vocabulary. We’ve discovered a surprisingly large community of couples in similar situations, and among them a wide range or paths forward. We’ve been in counseling, both together and individually, and I started this blog as another place to process my thoughts and feelings. I’ve come out to a dozen or so other people, including close friends and family, and most significantly to our four children (read about When I Told my Kids I’m Gay). I’ve also attended two conferences for LGBTQ people and allies, focusing on faith issues and advocacy in the church. Even without the content of the conferences, the experience of being surrounded by so many LGBTQ people – amazing, beautiful, kind, and compassionate LGBTQ people – has been transformative.

Even as I write this, I can remember on an intellectual level how my sexuality at one time inspired such fear and self-loathing. But by and large, the emotional power has been broken. I can feel sad for that person (the younger Greg), but the thoughts and attitudes that caused him so much pain are being continually exorcised. Most days, most of the time, I can look in the mirror and say “I’m Greg. I’m gay. And I’m really glad that I am!

Shallow Understanding

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It’s not his fault. I mean, at least he’s trying. I think. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you know that I’ve come out to several close friends. One of them in particular has been trying hard to understand. He’s more than willing to listen; he initiates often; and I know that in his own way, he cares about me. But sometimes his attempts at understanding are more painful than the plain-spoken hatred of homophobes.

My being gay is not analogous to your experiencing lust

I’m a little surprised how common this thinking is among evangelical Christians. Have they really not thought it through? “You know, I see women all the time that I think are sexy, but I choose not to act on it.” So, if straight guys occasionally have to curtail their sexual appetite, that’s somehow equivalent to gay people forsaking their sexuality altogether? It feels a bit like someone saying “Oh, you’re not allowed to eat food, ever? Well, I know just how you feel! One time I had to say ‘no’ to a second bowl of ice cream.”

There’s a huge difference between being told there should be some limits on your sexual expression somewhere, and being told that any expression of your sexual desire would be wrong, in every context. Matthias Roberts writes about this way of thinking in his post Stop Comparing Your Lust to My Sexual Orientation.

Your six months of studying can’t compare to my years of lived experience

This one was especially frustrating. My friend wants to discuss with me what the Bible has to say about gay sex. As far as I can tell, it’s not in a Bible-bashy kind of way – I think he’s genuinely curious about how my beliefs have evolved over time. I used to believe the standard evangelical line, and now I don’t.

The problem is that I’m not willing to engage the issue on a purely academic level. Don’t get me wrong – I’m more than capable of defending my beliefs. But for me it’s not ONLY academic. It’s personal! And if it’s personal for me, I want it to be personal for him. Get to know gay people. Listen to their stories. Hear firsthand the pain that Christians have caused, and continue to cause, to LGBT people.

In response he said that he was very invested, and that he had spent significant time praying about the issue and studying the scriptures. When I pressed for details, he elaborated that a few years ago, he and his wife thought that one of their children might be gay. So they had studied the Bible long and hard to find out what it had to say, and in the end weren’t convinced of anything other than the “traditional” view they had already held.

But where in that process did they get to know any gay people? What sources did they study? What experts did they consult? I’m with Kevin Garcia when he says I Don’t Need Another Straight Pastor to Tell My Story. If you want to engage in a conversation about gay people, make sure you START BY LISTENING TO GAY PEOPLE!

Imposed lifelong celibacy is an incredibly heavy burden

OK. I understand that in the end, not everyone will agree with me. People will reach their own conclusions. I hope that people will at least get to know gay people before deciding what they believe about the ethics of gay relationships, but even then, they still may reach different conclusions than I have. But whatever you choose to believe about the ethics of gay relationships, don’t minimize the weight of the burden of imposed celibacy. Speaking about the religious leaders of his day, Jesus said “They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden” (Matthew 23:4). It’s one thing to reach the conclusion that gay sex is wrong, and that consequently gay people should choose celibacy. It’s quite another to pretend that for them to do so is not excruciatingly difficult. And then, as some Christians do, to add the implication that if a gay person chooses another path, it’s somehow indicative of a lack of self-control.

Don’t underestimate the damage done by attitudes like yours

It’s relatively easy to discount the bile spewed by obnoxious haters. It’s much harder to reconcile the emotional dissonance caused when someone who seems to love you nevertheless embraces beliefs that deny your basic personhood. And that’s what it feels like to me.

 

January 2016 Update

_MyHusbandIsGay

Well it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and with the new year, I figured it’s time for an update. Way back in January of last year, I posted about coming out to a friend. In the year since then, I’ve come out to  two other friends, and just a few of weeks ago, my wife shared our situation with a close friend of hers. So, progress, I guess. No resolution; no major turning points; but incremental progress nonetheless.

So where do we stand? I’m still gay, my wife is still straight, and we’re still married. I’m still celibate. I still love my wife. I’m still confused. And I’m still afraid for the future. I’m out now to five friends – the five people I would consider my closest friends. My wife, a friend from high school, a college roommate, a graduate school buddy, and my writer friend. In the process of coming out over the past couple of years I’ve gain a few small insights.

Acceptance is a low bar

Four of the five people I’ve come out to already knew some of the story. Like my wife, they’re all people that I confided in early in our relationships. They all shared the same evangelical understanding that I embraced at that time – specifically that being “same-sex attracted” wasn’t a sin, but “acting on it” was (see Not Chipper). So with each of these friends, early in our relationships, there was a “round one” coming out. Not “I’m gay,” but rather “I struggle with homosexual temptation.” And I remember clearly what a relief it was when they accepted me anyway!

It now strikes me as sad that I felt like that was at stake. I trusted them enough to confide in them, but not enough that I had any confidence in their response.

Judgment is a two-way street

So from my teen years onward, I’ve had a group of friends who supported me as a “same-sex attracted” guy striving to live an “evangelical-approved” straight lifestyle. When I myself bought into that mindset, it was great to have such support; but as my own views changed, it just turned into a new and different closet. “Sure they like me now, but if they only knew…” Keeping Secrets is exhausting.

And so I feared their judgment if they were to find out. But it struck me recently that I had been guilty of judging them in the same way that I only feared that they would judge me. If they found out that I had become gay-affirming in my beliefs, I was afraid that they would reject me. But in truth, if they had been gay-affirming in the first place, I probably would have never pursued a relationship.

I need more gay friends

One constant throughout the years has been the perpetual sense of isolation. It certainly helps to be out to my closest friends (I’m no longer alone with my thoughts), but then again it can be isolating in a different way. For most of them, I’m their one gay friend. Pretty poor exemplar, wouldn’t you say? When I was fully in the closet, being gay was nothing in my life. Then as I came out, it suddenly became the most salient thing. But when I’m with other gay people, it feels like it’s no longer nothing, and it’s also not everything; it can just be something – a part of who I am.

When did you know?

When did you knowThe signs were there all along, if only I had known where to look. Or better, if only I had been willing to look. And I’m not talking about Obviously Gay Traits. Who knows – there may have been OGTs telling everyone else I was gay, but I kind of doubt it. With four older brothers, I ended up with a pretty standard boyhood experience. playing in the creek with neighborhood kids, GI Joe, little league baseball, video arcades (OK, I’m dating myself a bit there…). But when I think back to what I felt, what I thought, and what I did throughout my childhood, I’d have to say that being gay is pretty consistent with everything I remember.

I’ve seen lots of other LGBTQ people address this question, and it seems to be pretty common to know early. Like very early. And then there are also the cases of “…and then I turned 40, and it suddenly hit me…” So like I said, I knew, or could have known, very early. Before puberty, before there was anything recognizably sexual about what I was feeling. More about the way I felt toward boys in general. And then later with the dawning of adolescence, my first experiences were pretty clear cut. I remember one time in sixth grade, I had to use the rest room in a convenience store. There I found several magazines, including both a Playboy and a men’s fitness / muscle magazine. The Playboy really held no attraction for me, but the muscle magazine… (!)

And in writing about the childhood indicators, let’s be clear that I’m really only looking for signs, not causes. The discredited ex-gay movement seemed to be obsessed with finding causes. “What made him gay?” Overbearing mother. Absent father. Sexual abuse. Early experimentation with peers. Exposure to pornography. Size envy. I admit that for a long time I looked desperately for the “cause of my affliction.” If I could find it, maybe I could fix it. Well, it turns out that there’s nothing to be found, and nothing to be fixed!

One time I was describing to my therapist an incident from my childhood. At a communal campground bath house I saw a muscular naked guy in the shower, and I was mesmerized. My reaction wasn’t exactly sexual – I think I was too young for that. But close, perhaps on the cusp of my sexual awakening. Over the years I revisited this event, wondering if maybe that is what caused me to be attracted to guys. (Never mind that seeing naked women in Playboy at around the same age didn’t cause me to be attracted to women!) So when I described the episode to my therapist, his only question was this: “Do you feel like your reaction at the time was consistent with who you are?” That one question brought me waves of relief. This one experience didn’t make me gay. Neither did a dozen others that I can recall from various points in childhood. But they sure as hell are consistent with me being gay!

I wonder whether this urge to figure out what we knew and when we knew it is particular to LGBTQ people. In a recent post in Psychology Today, W. Blue writes about an experience in her first university class on women’s studies:

“After a walkthrough of the semester’s course syllabus, our teacher stepped away from the blackboard, toward my desk. Standing in front of it, he surveyed the room… Then he addressed the class, instructing us each to take out a piece of paper and a pen and write down the moment when we all realized we were gay. Well, or straight. Or bisexual. Or queer. Or whatever sexuality we identified with.”

Love this! I’ve seen this question before “When did you know you were straight?” but only as a snarky come-back to some straight person’s unwelcome probing. But it’s great as an actual question. Blue suggests that gay people face that question often, either posed by others, or in their own minds, while straight people never give it a thought. Seems plausible to me. Straight readers, help us out here. Is this a question you’ve ever asked yourself? or been asked by others? Is it one you could answer in a sensible way?

Maybe we’re just uncomfortable thinking of children identifying as gay. I would say “uncomfortable thinking of children as gay or straight,” except that I think there’s an underlying assumption that kids – even young kids – are straight by default, and being gay is something they can only figure out later in life. When five year old Mikey says “I’m gonna marry a girl just like mommy,” we say “aw shucks, isn’t that cute.” But if Mikey said “I’m gonna marry a boy just like daddy,” many Christians would probably respond with uncomfortable silence, reassuring themselves that Mikey is too young to know what he’s saying. Amelia at Huffington Post describes a situation exactly like this. Her son has been identifying as gay since he was seven years old, and at age ten he found himself the only boy in the after school Zumba club. A common reaction when people found this out was what Amelia describes as “that nudge-nudge, wink-wink, he’s-got-his-pick-of-girls reaction.” It bothered her that everyone was assuming her son was straight.

“No,” I’d say, “he’s not interested in girls like that. He’s gay. He says girls are for friends.”

Then the response came, and almost always the same response: “Really? How can he know that? He’s so young.”

These people failed to see the contradiction in their words. They’d just implied that my son had picked his after-school club so that he could get some fourth-grade-style action from the girls, but then they said he’s too young to know he likes boys. They assumed that he would be after girls, which means they assumed that he already knew he was straight, yet the idea that he might already know he is gay came as such a shock.

So there you have it. When did I know? The signs were there as long as I can remember. Even as young as five years old, my memories of self are consistent with the gay man I’ve grown to be. Alas it took me quite a long time to actually read the signs, but they were there all along nonetheless.

I did it!

iamgayI did it! I said the words “I am gay” to a friend.

If I count correctly, this is only the fifth person I’ve said those words to. First was my wife, 22 months ago. Then our counselor, a month or so later (his response was hilarious!). Then to my therapist, a year after that. And then to my writer friend, who has a heart of gold. So not counting the two professionals, this is only the third person I’ve come out to!

Well, sort of. During my college years and several years after, I “confessed my struggle with homosexual temptation” to quite a few of my closest friends. The staff worker for the Christian group on campus. My best friend at the time. A girl I had dated. The vice president of the Christian campus group. A missionary organization I was applying to. My future wife. A guy who also turned out to be in the closet (and who used it against me… that was the only one that ended badly). My parents. Another best friend and his wife. With one exception, all were kind in their responses. But all shared the opinion that I also held at the time – that it would be wrong to “live the gay lifestyle.” (Ugh, I’m rapidly using up my allotment of scare quotes!)

Then for twenty years, nothing. I was married, and I never talked to anyone about it. Until 22 months ago, when I had my “second coming out” to my wife. First time, twenty years ago, it was “I struggle with homosexual temptation.” This time it was simply “I am gay.”

So last week, I did it again! A life-long friend. And it couldn’t have gone better. He listened. Was sorry to hear of the hurt in my marriage. But said it really didn’t matter to him. That he wasn’t totally surprised (my OGTs, I suppose). And that he loved me.

To top it all off, as we were hugging goodbye, he asked “so, are you OK?” and I answered “better than the average day,” which he misheard as “better than the average gay.” I laughed the whole way home.

Religious counseling makes things worse

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I’ve been in therapy a number of times in my life. The first time was when I was in college, at the strong recommendation of the missions organization that had just rejected me for experiencing “homosexual temptation.” The referred me to a good Christian counselor in my area who probed my relationship with my father, and with my mother, and my feelings of inadequacy. Blehhh!

The second time was when I went away to graduate school. I was stressed about living in a bigger, progressive city, and fearful that I might falter in the “progress” I had made in my fight against the aforementioned temptation. Well, I call it “the second time,” but it probably really shouldn’t count. I went to just one appointment at the university counseling center, and quite logically and eloquently (I’m sure…) explained how and why I was experiencing these errant impulses. When my counselor revealed that he was gay, I elected not to return.

And more recently, since my second coming out to my wife, I’ve been working with a good individual therapist. So I was quite distressed (though not surprised) to hear of a recent study assessing the efficacy of mental health treatment in reducing the risk of suicide among LGBTQ people.

The study finds that seeking treatment from a mental health or medical provider did not reduce the odds of a suicide attempt. Respondents who sought mental health or medical treatment at some time prior to their suicide attempt (or, among those who did not attempt suicide, prior to the age when suicide might have been attempted) were as likely as respondents who did not seek any mental health treatment to have a suicide attempt or serious suicide attempt after this time. However, counseling from a religious or spiritual advisor was associated with worse outcomes. Compared with individuals who did not seek help at all, those who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor were more likely later to attempt suicide.

“The findings are troubling because seeking treatment is a recommended suicide prevention strategy and this study’s results show no more positive effect for people who sought treatment. More troubling is the finding that individuals who sought religious or spiritual treatment had higher odds of later attempting suicide than those who did not seek treatment at all,” said co-author Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy. See more at: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu

Did you catch that? Seeking help from religious or spiritual advisors actually increased the risk of suicide for LGBTQ people. Shocking, right? As I said, not surprising based on my own personal experiences, but nevertheless so very disappointing.

Signs of progress, though. Exodus International, one of the leading organizations advocating faith-based reparative therapy for gay people recently disbanded and issued an apology for the harm they have caused.  And a group of former leaders of the ex-gay conversion therapy movement have joined together and come out against conversion therapy.

If you are depressed, please don’t suffer alone. Reach out for help – but be careful who you reach out to!

The Church and Left-Handers (or, “Babes, p2”)

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After my conversation with my 12-year-old son (see post), I felt emboldened to have a conversation with my daughter, age 15. So last night we were out running errands, talking about anything and everything. Conversation flowed pretty easily to me mentioning something about one of her uncles who is gay. And then I asked her directly: “What do you think the church should do about gay people?”

<…long pause…> I could tell she was struggling. When she finally found her voice, she said “‘Do’? What do you mean, ‘do’? The church shouldn’t do anything!”

Such a GREAT response! The truth is, during that momentary pause, from the look on her face, it was as if she was trying to understand what the question even meant. As if I had asked “What should the church do about left-handed people?” “What should the church do about black people?” “What should the church do about redheads?” “What should the church do about people who prefer peas instead of corn?” She was truly at a loss to understand why the church would do anything at all ‘about’ gay people. Why should the church treat gay people any differently than anyone else?

Oh, preach it sister! (or rather, “daughter!”)

At this point she really was a bit shocked and confused, so I felt I had to give her a little context. I explained to her how historically, many churches have viewed being gay as a choice and as a sin. Many churches have excluded gay people and insisted that they either change who they are attracted to, or live without expressing affection toward those they may love. How even today, gay people feel like second-class citizens at many churches (or perhaps not even ‘citizens’ at all).

She was flabbergasted. Appalled. Vexed. She launched into “I can’t believe that! Why would they say or even think that? Boy, some people really push my buttons…”

My little girl really made me feel proud!

Common Thread

haveincommon

  • a retired computer programmer with a generous spirit
  • a passionate child-services lawyer
  • a deep-thinking and kind-hearted convert to Catholicism
  • a frequently-horny pharmaceutical sales rep
  • an award-winning business professional living in another country
  • a former pastor striving to save his marriage
  • a warm-hearted Montessori teacher
  • a college professor and language researcher
  • a poet blogger
  • a straight man who advocates for LGBTQ rights
  • a wife and mother who loves to make people laugh
  • a liberal gay atheist
  • a reflective Christian
  • a 40-something Texan teacher and writer
  • a movie fanatic living in Pakistan
  • YOU

Need some hints? Some of them are women, and some men. Some are gay, some straight. Muslims, Catholics, Atheists, and Protestants. Ranging in age from 20 to 70. Living in the US, Pakistan, Romania, Canada, Ireland, and a Caribbean Island.

Still don’t know? The answer is this: these are all people I’ve met since beginning my second coming-out journey 20 months ago, mostly through this blog and other online forums, but some in person as well. They are people who have helped me see things in new ways.

Thank you to all of you for your insights, your support, your advice, and your friendship. I can’t imagine having lived through the past 20 months without you.

Gay man, straight wife

FreierFallScreenCapsApparently we’re not alone. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been looking, but I’m seeing more and more stories about gay men married to straight women. Movies like Brokeback Mountain (trailer) and the more recent German film Freier Fall (trailer); essays like Tim Rymel’s I’m a Gay Man Who Married a Straight Woman, or Josh Weed’s Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary.

I find that I relate to many parts of many of these stories, and yet there’s also something missing. Almost without fail, the wives in these stories are flat, boring, lifeless. I feel like the wives in the two movies could have been replaced by any generic woman; They barely qualify as stick figures.

In truth, I’ve known women (and men) who are like this in real life. Dimensionless, monochrome, untouched. I think of a couple of the women in my church growing up: smiling, distant, impervious to the ups and downs of life. But my wife is not one of them! She’s not at all like that. She’s gutsy, earthy, funny, and quirky. Strong, kind, and generous. Independent, but relational and loyal. And she’s hurting. Grieving and anguished by the second-time-around revelation that I’m gay. Still gay.

If they were to make a movie of our story – hers and mine – it wouldn’t be like Brokeback or Freier Fall. Her story, and her character, would would compelling in their own right. Her half of our story would be rich, resonant, raw. We’ve laughed together,  played together, cried together. Glorious days of adventure and travel. Sleepless nights mourning those we’ve lost or worrying about our kids. Ordinary days spent shopping or painting or working in the garden. Trips to the beach; driving cross country; dreaming together of our shared future. And now, traumatized. Wracked with confusion and angst. Questioning why God didn’t come through for us. Don’t forget her half of our story.

Surviving Gay Conversion Therapy

Pray your gay away

James Guay tells his story of his hellish youth in gay conversion therapy and how [he] got out.

Though I never went through hard-core conversion therapy, I can relate to much of what Guay has written here – from an early childhood memory of “accepting Jesus,” to being raised in a conservative Christian household where homosexuality was an abomination; recognizing at an early age that I was attracted to guys rather than girls; counseling sessions with a “Christian” counselor who worked to change my orientation, but ultimately despair when I recognized that nothing was working. There are people young and old who need to hear stories like Guay’s.