Same-sex attractions are a part of my story yet today I live a joyful and fulfilling life within the Catholic Church, pursuing holiness and virtue.
How did I get here? I began asking questions, and here’s what I found:
1. God loves us, no matter what attractions or inclinations we experience.
2. We shouldn’t feel shame for experiencing attractions or inclinations we didn’t specifically choose. Though we’re invited to be honest with ourselves, this doesn’t mean that we ought to be prideful about our attractions. Nor does it imply our choices are of no effect. Every choice we make forms us in some way—sometimes influencing who we trust, which impacts who we allow intimately close to our hearts.
3. All people are called to open their hearts to growing in virtue (which includes chastity and humility). This about saying “Yes” to God, instead focusing on a list of “No’s” that are centered on the roller-coaster of mere behavior management. Huge. Difference.
4. Not all attractions or inclinations are sexual and or romantic in nature.
5. Sexual and romantic exploration might feel good, but that only means our bodies are physiologically working properly.
6. That “feeling good” is often interpreted to mean “I am” ____.
7. Our perception of who “I am” influences how we see we ought to pursue fulfillment.
8. The pursuit of fulfillment is good, but the desires of our heart ought to be examined.
9. The more we pursue the fulfillment of a particular desire, the more we desire it. However, the high of achieving it eventually diminishes, while the desire to re-live and re-experience it remains, unless the desires of our hearts are transformed.
10. If God created us this way, then to not pursue those desires would be to deny our nature. However, if he didn’t create us this way, then that changes everything. Today, with even prominent gay activists now acknowledging that “environment plays a factor in the development of our attractions,” I no longer feel powerlessly attached to the false idea that “God created me this way, and it is forever who I will be.”
Today I’m empowered with a new vision of myself. I am His, and I don’t choose to “be straight.” Rather, I choose to pursue holiness and virtue. Why? Because I have encountered Christ—through the people around me serving God most humbly. Today, I realize that holiness involves respecting the art of the Divine Artist, and the order He has written into our universe—and into our bodies. Today I’m no longer powerlessly “destined” to live some cage of loneliness, feeling like I have to deny my nature “to be a good Catholic.”
The Joy of Trusting God
Trusting God has opened the door to what the Holy Spirit could write on my heart—which has included the occasional (unexpected) sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex. If it be in God’s will that something may come of it, then may He grant me the courage to pursue it prudently, despite same-sex attractions still possibly existing. The point is that becoming a husband and father one day are holy vocations that are no longer stolen from me.
I am not “living a lie” or “feeling conflicted” in saying that, despite many people interpret it that way. Perhaps it’s just so “off the radar” that people can’t make sense of it. But I live it. That’s me being most completely honest with myself.
So, is it okay to be gay?
Well, first of all, being “gay” isn’t who I am. And experiencing attractions is one thing, but taking on an identity is a whole different ballgame. The bigger question I ask myself is why would I focus on my attractions as the core of my identity when I could focus on something greater?
- It is my nature to desire unification with God.
- I fulfill my nature by opening my heart to growing in the fullness of virtue.
- The joy I experience today surpasses what I ever had before… and I ain’t looking back!
Andrew is a Courage member and Catholic Speaker who presents the message of joyful chastity to churches, schools, and colleges in both Canada and the United States. He is also a contributor to the Pursuit Of Truth Ministries website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.