If you have ever been invited to participate in a gay pride event or invited to “Like” a gay pride page on Facebook, what do you do?
Because I experience same-sex attractions, I get bombarded by that kind of stuff, and have been praying about how I can respond in a loving way, without compromising my faith. I have friends who are closely tied to LGBTQ movements, and I know in their hearts, they are truly doing what they think is best. I have learned to stay quiet and keep the peace on my Facebook wall, by saying nothing. Part of this is pure cowardice—this I do admit. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that Facebook walls are not where hearts are transformed. I took this whole thing to prayer at the foot of the cross. This short letter was the result:
The world taught me to believe that just because I experience same-sex attractions, “being gay” is “who I am.” However, I noticed that countless people are forming their lives according to their expectations of “what it means” to be “gay,” and for some, it virtually consumes them. This can happen for a lot of people who are simply trying to find their place and who want to belong—that is exactly where I was at one point as well. The problem is that these types of identity labels are incapable of reflecting the fullness of truth of who we truly are. We are more that our sexualities—and if I want to be more completely honest with myself about who I am, embracing a label like “gay” or “straight” is something I will never be able to do.
It’s not a matter of shame—I don’t feel shame for attractions I did not specifically choose to experience. It’s about identity—the identity I specifically choose to embrace. I used to let myself be defined according to my sexual attractions, but today, out of my love for Jesus Christ, I specifically choose to see myself first and foremost through the lens of Christ. I do this while still being honest with myself about the attractions I experience. Therefore, today my identity is first and foremost rooted in Christ. As a result of that transformation of my self-concept, I have gone from being closed to growing in the virtue of chastity, to being open to growing in the virtue of chastity. This has been a joyful transformation that began in the heart.
People often try to tell me that I am living a lie and that the Church hates me and has even brainwashed me. Their accusations reveal their closed-mindedness to growing in their understanding of people like me. I can’t transform their hearts—that is the work of the Holy Spirit. What I can do is offer you my life as an example of the joy I now experience since this transformation of heart has occurred.
I simply invite you to come to learn more about me, and others like me, who experience same-sex attractions and who have specifically chosen to look first and foremost to Christ. In my choice to do this, I have never felt alone, and I have never been more joyful. I just hope and pray that others like me might come to know that they too can find this joy in Christ. His love is for all of us! 🙂
God Bless you. Peace in Christ.
Andrew is a Courage member and a contributor to the Pursuit of Truth Ministries website. He has come to find love and belonging in the Catholic Church—the last place the world taught that he should look, and today he shares his life to show people the true joy that is found within the virtue of chastity. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.