Friday, October 06, 2006

For The Record: I Don't Hate Being Gay

I'm currently pulling a late shift at the desk, but since it's Fall Break weekend no one's here, so I'm extremely bored, hence the blogging! I'm kidding. This is actually a subject that I've been meaning to tackle for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it until now.

I recently went to my friend Brady's blog and found a post of his that concerned this article. I suggest you read it, but if you don't want to I'll just say that it's entitled "I Hate Being Gay," and that it was written by a 19-year-old Christian SSA struggler (no, it's not me!) Surprsingly, it was published in The Advocate.

Obviously, I can really relate to the author, a one Kyle Rice. After all, we're in the same boat. We both started feeling attracted to the same sex around age 12, we both acknowledge that homosexuality is not a chosen condition (it's amazing how hard it is to get that through some people's heads sometimes) and we're both Christians who think that homosexuality is ultimately against God's will. But there a few things that Kyle says that are unsettling to me. They're nothing new, actually. They're attitudes that I have received (and perceived) from several conservatives and members of the ex-gay movement ever since I started keeping up with this subject.

Kyle's article starts out with this paragraph: In late July the Washington State supreme court upheld a law that limits marriage to heterosexual couples. As a gay 19-year-old in Longview, Wash., my delight with that ruling is probably surprising. However, I'm not your average gay person. I'm also a Christian who views living a gay lifestyle as against God's word.

Okay. Disagree with gay marriage though I do, "delight" is probably the last thing I felt when I heard that ruling. How can you possibly delight in something that you know is going to make a lot of people miserable? I agree with the ruling, but it's more of a war kind of thing--something that wasn't pretty, but had to be done. Delight? That's just a poor choice of words.

So was this next line: And because of my religious beliefs, I hate the fact that I am gay.

Alright. This post is about to get long. I've done quite a bit of soul-searching recently and I've come to a conclusion: despite all the pain, struggle, and loneliness that I've endured because of my orientation--I don't hate the fact that I am gay. For anyone who read "Bad Few Days," that might be a bit of a surprise, but it's true.

First, let me define what I think hate means. I'm a word junkie, and I think words--even words that describe feelings--have specific meanings that need to be respected. Hatred is an extreme loathing characterized most by hostility. You obviously can't be hostile towards facts, since they're not physical. At most, hatred towards a fact would be a wish that the fact wasn't true. Therefore, Kyle is wishing that he was not gay.

I don't wish that at all.

Wait, some of you are scratching your heads, and with good reason! Let me clarify myself. I view homosexuality as a part of man's corrupted nature. Just like dishonesty, pride, greed, envy, violence, anger, and all other sins. Do I wish it didn't exist? You bet! Better yet, I know that one day it won't exist anymore, just like all sins, and that is a day that I (and all Christians) look forward to very much. But I'm a realist. Just like I don't think God is going to take away my temptations to lie, I don't think He's going to take away my homosexual attraction. That doesn't mean I won't still pray for that, and it doesn't mean that I don't think that those temptations will eventually be lessened. But if God completely removed a temptation, what would be the point of following His law? Isn't the fact that we struggle for perfection--struggle for God--a sign that we are being faithful to Him? If I had never struggled with this, I know my relationship with Christ would not be where it is today.

There's another element to this, too. The fact that I've struggled with SSA has given me a rather rare perspective on the world, I think. I mean, I view things from outside of the norm. Not that I want to sound too special here, but I'm a little more tolerant than a lot of my more "normal" friends. I think the main reason for that is because I know that you can't judge a person by a label. I could easily be labeled "gay" (and I even label myself that). But there is so much more to me, so many personal experiences, so many thoughts and ideas that go along with it...I mean, just check out the length of this post alone! Everyone probably thinks about themselves to the extent that I do, but I have no idea what those thoughts are, and thus what position am I in to judge? What position am I in to judge if I don't know about the complexities that surround someone's background. True, I didn't need to be gay to understand this, but I think one does need to struggle with something. If you've never been in a position where you're going to be judged, you might not know just how hurtful it is.

So, though I do wish for attraction change, in the hope that one day I will meet a woman that I can share the rest of my life with, I will always be somewhat grateful to my SSA. It's helped make me the person that I am, and that's a person that I like very much. Still, there is a part of me that thinks it's done it's job--it can leave anytime now.

For the rest of the article Kyle simply talks about how he's praying for God to change his desires. He says he needs to "stop being gay so [he] can stop being attracted to guys." Okay, that's a little repetitive. I mean, being attracted to guys is what makes you gay, not vice-versa, but I understand his position. I'm still a little skeptical of the extent that one's desires can change (read Disputed Mutability's blog if you want to read opinions/questions similar to my own--she writes better than I do anyway), but I do believe that change is possible. I don't think it's required exactly, since celibacy is an option that's on my table.

Then Kyle talks a little about his commitment to the conservative right. I won't get started on that. This post is too long already. Let me just say that defeating the "gay agenda" is low on my priority list. If battle needs doing, I'll do it with individuals, not groups.

Okay, now that my critique is over, I'm just going to say that it is still wonderful to see an article of this nature in The Advocate. I disagreed with Kyle's wording, but overall he, like me and every other Christian, is just trying to follow God's will. I pray for him and all others like him, and I thank him for sharing his message with a community that has shown itself to be openly hostile towards that message. Now, who do I have to rub shoulders with to get my stuff in The Advocate?

Sorry about the long post. As I said, I'm bored. I'm going to be one of the only people in my dorm over Fall Break. There's no reason for me to go home, since Mom and Dad are going to be in Virginia at a crafts festival, selling pottery and sleeping in their Winnebago. Oh, I remember the days. Good times, good times. :-)

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