Monday, August 31, 2009


Sometimes I have the most illuminating conversations with friends who have no personal experience with homosexuality. I am often impressed at how clearly they perceive some things, and interested to learn which things they have little to no concept of.

This weekend, I was discussing this blog with just such a friend, talking about how thrilled I am to have discovered a medium in which I can spread my knowledge about homosexuality without publicly associating myself with it. Because not only would public association as an ex-gay draw all kinds of attention (mostly negative or ostracizing) to me, but (more importantly) it would brand the children I hope to have with a terrible label. Can you imagine being raised by a woman who was known for having left the gay lifestyle? It'd be worse than being a Preacher's Kid!

My friend then spoke with great perception: I seem to still connect some part of my identity now with who was then. But I really wasn't very deep in the gay subculture; I was just a high schooler who experimented a bit. It was as if he said, Is it really so important to take your past so seriously?

He had a very good point. If people with SSA are thrown into a murky lake and are forced to just tread water for most of their lives (in such a case, it's little wonder many just give in and enter the society below the water), I was the weird kid who thought it'd be a good idea to run into the water and splash around a bit, 'cuz my friend in there wanted some company, but really, I was never so far in that I couldn't touch the ground. In fact, it's debatable whether I was ever bodily submerged. But after my miraculous healing (thank you, Eucharistic Jesus!), in which I was enabled to get up, walk out of the muddy lake, dry myself off, and clean myself thoroughly, I've been mostly surrounded by people who've done no more than look upon that lake from afar, or perhaps watched with confusion and sadness as dear friends of theirs foundered in that same lake.

So the question became: is that part of my past, which is entirely divorced from who I am now, really so important? Or can I just brush it off as something I did once when I was young and stupid?

But then reality set in. While my brief foray into the life of a lesbian is an insignificant mistake I made in high school, and fits into the grand scheme of mistakes that most people make in high school, there's one crucial difference here: other people's perceptions.

If you did drugs in high school, people are pleased that you're clean. If you were a partygoer, people are pleased that you've discovered priorities (or at least that you now only get wasted sometimes). If you slept around, that's a shame, but at least you came to a fuller understanding of sexuality with enough time to start over, if you will, before marriage. But if you committed sexual sins with another girl? Ooo, that's weird. People distance themselves from you, wonder whether that's still a part of you. Or else they think it's awesome that you had that experience because it broadens your horizons (these people then think you condone such sins). Regardless, it changes how people perceive you, and it takes either a great deal of unconditional love or a whole lot of explanation on your part for people to understand where you've been and to treat you the same way they did before they learned of your past.

Gay relationships are still scandalous. As much as they are becoming more mainstream and accepted, they still confuse people and incite strong emotions (which are often divorced from reason because of their strength). And we all struggle with judgmentalism, with treating people differently because of what we know about them.

No, I will not back down on this one. Think about how hard it was to grow up without a family reputation to break free from. The sins of my past are insignificant, but other people do not understand this, and I refuse to burden my children with my sins. These stories will stay here, remaining entirely separate from my daily life (I'll be like Batman!).


Anonymous said...

It doesn't help you that gayness in our society is more than an experiment, or a habit, or a secret perversion. It's a lifestyle, an identity, a community, and a cause to rally behind. Heterosexual men are often identified by occupation- Joe the fireman, Larry the plumber, Dave the accountant. But gay men are frequently identified by their gayness. It's their defining trait in a way. Perhaps a similar thing with lesbians, though I've known more gay men than lesbians. Hence why it would be harder to "shake off" a lesbian past than to shake off a pot habit, an alcohol problem, heterosexual promiscuity, etc.

Monica said...

I actually disagree with your post; your sins are significant. Praise God that your sins are significant! Your sins committed from your relationship with a woman for four months are significant because they still scandal. While I agree that you, and your children, do not deserve to be branded by your past transgressions, let us pray that homosexual sin does not lose its stigma so that it may not become engrained in the mainstream culture as most other forms of sexual sin have.