Throughout puberty I wondered “why am I gay?”
Before Lady Gaga confirmed that she was born this way, before Kurt Hummel vocally expressed his problems 3 octaves higher than most 16 year old boys and before any celebrity promised that it would get better, I was a confused teenager trying to understand why I was gay.
Attending a conservative private school that prescribed to a certain Judeo-Christian religious persuasion, homosexuality was merely a subject in a health book that was superficially brushed over one afternoon in grade 9. This particular book claimed that teenagers often experienced passing attractions to the same sex as a byproduct of hormone release. I wished that when the hormones stopped releasing so would my my same-sex attraction. It wasn’t to be.
Needless to say, my understanding of homosexuality was rather limited.
Furthermore, my belief and comprehension of God was shaped by my educational institution and by all accounts, God didn’t approve of gays. So why did he make me gay?
At first I thought he was punishing me for something I may have done before I was even born. Perhaps my soul was intrinsically bad and therefore I needed to suffer the burden of being gay as a form of repenting? The future seemed very daunting.
Then I was told by a religious teacher that God doesn’t hate homosexuals but he hates the sins that homosexuals commit. Was loving another person of the same sex a sin even though it felt so natural? So, I rationalised that it was to be my test in life to resist all homosexual temptations, thoughts and desires no matter how right they felt.
In my later high school years l began to consider that perhaps God had made me gay not as punishment nor as a test but because he knew that I could handle the pressure. Other boys might not have been able to cope with life as a homosexual. I was grateful that I, a strong willed, confident boy with supportive friends and a loving family was made gay instead of someone less fortunate who may have found themselves in the same predicament.
When my faith in God began to wane, as it does for most who’ve attended a religious school, I searched for other answers to my big gay question. Did my upbringing have an impact on my sexuality? I had read somewhere about childhood trauma and troubled upbringings affecting sexual development and causing homosexuality. Reflecting on my childhood there was absolutely nothing that could have adversely affected me either obviously or subconsciously. I grew up in an “ideal” environment with parents who were besotted with each other, who provided their children with love, support and unnecessary material possessions. I had an amazing relationship with my mum and dad and my sister was one of my best friends. We lived in an affluent area, participated in extracurricular activities too many to name, traveled often, spoke openly about our dreams and fears and comforted each other when the family dog died. My friends even commented on how “extraordinary” my family life was. Surely this wasn’t the cause of my homosexuality?
During this period of questioning I had some dark days. Days when I wondered what was the point of it all. Maybe it was better not to be than to be gay? Luckily these days were few and far between but I know that others have suffered more deeply with their own feelings of confusion and questioning.
In the end, I found the answer. I was born this way. It never crossed my mind that it was a choice; that in some way I had chosen to be gay. What teenager would choose such a challenging path? I was born this way. My upbringing was not the cause, my soul was not bad and I definitely wasn’t being punished. I was born this way. It’s as simple as that. There is no other reason or further questioning needed.
I hope that by sharing my experience, others who are going through or have been through this process will see that a part of self-acceptance is undergoing a period of questioning. The greatest relief is discovering and then believing that you are the way you are because that is the way that God or nature or the universe intended you to be.
Read Rule No.1: There are no rules (except for one)
Photo Credit: Benjamin Eidem by Stefan Zchernitz
— God is a perfect being (implied) and does not make mistakes (explicit)
— Everything God makes is also perfect
— God made each person, and knew each person’s attributes
— Therefore each person’s attributes are intentional and acceptable in God’s eyes
There is a consequence of this line of thinking if we draw it out. Let’s assume this is sound reasoning; what follows from this idea that everyone’s personal attributes are intentional and acceptable?
The consequence is that we could never tell someone a desire they felt, whatever that desire, was morally wrong. Whether you realize it or not, you are subscribing to a form of moral relativism. If we can use this to argue that homosexuality is morally good or benign, we have to allow it for every sexual desire. Are you prepared to do that?
BTW, I’m not making any moral assessments here, just summarizing the consequences of the logic.
Thank you for your comment John. You’ve written a well constructed argument and I value your perspective. It’s probably best that we leave the argument at that.
You’re a conservative Christian and not only do you oppose same-sex marriage but you view homosexuality as immoral and unnatural; I will not try to convince you otherwise. Similarly you cannot convince me that homosexuality is simply a sexual desire comparable to other sexual desire (whether moral or immoral).
This blog is a discussion on life from the perspective of a homosexual (and I gather that you’re not one). While I would personally love to explore and debate your line of logic further, I don’t feel that this is the correct forum to do so.
Which desires exactly are we talking about? Let me guess… Pedophilia and beastiality? The initial comment is not that well constructed Josh, because John failed to distinguish between learned attributes and innate attributes. Let’s assume that we were all created as perfect blank canvases. What happens after that is that people screw each other up, which manifests in a wide variety of ways. I don’t know why we would talk about morals, when ethical frameworks underpin morals universally.
Virtue ethics: Character matters above all else. Courage, honesty, wisdom, and avoidance of things like…. hmmmm… discrimination.
Utilitarianism: Greatest good for greatest number. I think we all know where being truthful and expressing love sit on that scale; on the other side to pedophilia, beastiality, and most other criminal activities.
I’m pretty sure our boy Emmanuel Kant, wanting universal respect, would encourage gay people to live truthfully and with great integrity. Not that all of them do, but that’s beside the point (c’est la vie).
Contract theory proposes thinking about ethics in terms of agreements between people. In term of gayness: molesting people is wrong, but consensual activity is a-okay. Pivotal to this is the notion of a rational society. Ra-tion-al.
Care ethics: Relationship oriented. Strengthening caring relationships. Gayness: all good in the hood, as long as you build meaningful relationships.
Summary: Being gay is fine. Pretending to be straight, however, is not okay… along with beastiality and pedophilia.
I hate to say this but I have yet to visit a blog of this nature where people didn’t put words in my mouth and presume my intentions. Do you think maybe there could be a better discussion if you didn’t always try to read between the lines and instead address what was actually written?