Revealed! The Secret Stories of Gay Christians
GAYoda: Today’s global magazine for gay Christians
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a gay Christian?
Gay Christians comprise a small piece of the LGBTQ+ pie. “Not gay enough” while simultaneously being “too gay to be Christian.”
Similarly, gay Christians are deeply committed to Jesus while being accused by the Evangelical community of not even being “Christian.”
And yet, this group is vital for helping gays gain respect in the American culture and the Christian Church.
So, who are these gay Christians?
This article provides six stories of gay Christians, told as an amalgam of actual people’s lives. The names are fictitious, and some details have been changed to keep the real people anonymous.
Frank is a single, cisgender, closeted man of age 30. His parents are Pentecostal; Frank still attends his parents’ church.
Frank has secretly had multiple hookups with gay men (found on Grindr), resulting in unsafe anal intercourse with strangers. Frank’s pastor received an anonymous phone call informing him that Frank is gay. The pastor confronted Frank, wherein Frank confessed to having had numerous homosexual encounters. The pastor convened a meeting with the primary leaders of the church. Frank was provided an exorcism by one of the church leaders, in which “the demon of homosexuality” was assumed to have been slain.
Frank, however, still experiences same-sex attractions.
Frustrated to the point of suicide, Frank learned about “Restored Hope Network” — a Christian ministry for those who are “broken by homosexuality.” Frank was asked to more fully and completely “give his life over to Jesus.” He proclaimed to his church leaders that he is no longer a homosexual. Frank now calls himself an “ex-gay.”
Privately, though, Frank is still homoerotically and homoromantically attracted to certain men. Frank does not experience the same kind of sensations toward women. Occasionally, Frank still has anonymous sexual encounters with men. After such, Frank always feels deeply ashamed and confesses his sin to a support group provided by Restored Hope Network.
Frank’s church sincerely believes that Frank has been converted to being straight. Frank is now a celebrity speaker within Pentecostalism on “the healing power of Jesus.” The title of his presentation is “Such Were Some of You.”
Isaac is a 50-year-old, closeted, gay, cisgender man who has been married to his wife for 30 years. People describe the couple as a shining example of a successful marriage and parenting. Indeed, Isaac has always been sexually faithful to his precious wife.
Isaac and his wife have two adult sons. Isaac has come out to his wife and his two sons. Ironically, one of Isaac’s sons (Tom) came out as gay to his parents when he was in college. Tom has chosen to stay closeted to not bring national news and controversy regarding his dad. Both Isaac and Tom are committed to being closeted.
Isaac is a national leader of an Evangelical church that belongs to a “Holiness” denomination — which believes that leaders in the denomination “no longer ever sin” (due to a second sanctification). Indeed, Isaac reveres the book “Sexual Holiness.” Isaac is deeply respected by his local church, community, and national denomination.
Paradoxically, Isaac is also a leader of a confidential men’s group — for men who “struggle with same-sex attraction.” Isaac is a credible leader of the group because he informs them that his same-sex attraction is fully “under control.”
Isaac’s men’s group engages in group nudity and massages. Isaac has sent some “dick pics” to his trusted Facebook friends. Neither Isaac nor Tom engages in masturbation, fellatio, or anal intercourse with men.
Isaac’s entire world would come crashing down if anyone knew he is gay.
Brent and Michael
Both men are fully out as gay and cisgender. Brent is age 23, while Michael is 22. Both men met at their university’s LGBTQ+ club.
Brent was raised in the United Church of Christ (UCC) — a Christian denomination that affirms gay marriage. Michael, however, was raised in the Catholic Church — which does not believe in gay marriage. That said, Brent and Michael are now engaged to be married. Both men currently attend Brent’s UCC church near the campus — which will serve as the site of their marriage.
Brent’s family has always been fully supportive of his sexual identity. Accordingly, they favor his relationship with Michael and are very excited about the wedding plans. Michael’s parents, however, are devout Catholics. As such, they firmly believe that sex between men is always wrong — as are gay marriages. The parents have informed Michael that if they go forward with the wedding, both parents will not attend.
Brent is highly frustrated and perplexed. He cannot understand why the Catholic Church is so adamantly opposed to gay marriage. What’s the big deal? While Brent has received no animus from Michael’s parents, Brent is nonetheless troubled by their stance. Thus, Brent and Michael have chosen to adopt Brent’s last name at their wedding ceremony.
True to their word, Michael’s parents decided not to attend or acknowledge their legal wedding.
Both Brent and Michael are resigned to not meeting Michael’s parents again until they can demonstrate more support.
Oliver is a 40-year-old, gay, cisgender man. He came from a very conservative home and developed conservative religious and political beliefs. He was raised in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Oliver had always been told by his church that “homosexuality is a sin.” At age 12, he discovered that he was exclusively attracted to males rather than females. At age 16, he informed his pious parents that he was a homosexual.
Soon after, the parents found a local Christian psychiatrist who was purported to “turn gays into straights.” Oliver met with his psychiatrist each week for two years. Most of the therapy revolved around Oliver’s relationship with his dad. Oliver was told that an insufficient bond existed between Oliver and his dad. Accordingly, the psychiatrist encouraged Oliver to develop strong friendships with masculine peers — believing that if he became more masculine, his same-sex attraction would disappear. Furthermore, Oliver was instructed to “look away” from attractive men, never view gay porn, and confess every masturbation to an SBC accountability partner.
Oliver gave his most sincere efforts to change. When he reached out to masculine peers, he discovered they would never reciprocate. Furthermore, Oliver tried to avert his eyes whenever he saw an attractive man — which proved nearly impossible. At first, Oliver was ashamed to confess his masturbation to his Young Adults Pastor. Eventually, he stopped acknowledging it (even though his masturbation continued). Oliver sincerely loves his dad but grows to resent the fact that his dad “caused” him to be a homosexual.
Oliver attended an SBC university, then pursued becoming a pastor while graduating from an SBC seminary. At age 35, Oliver was the lead pastor of a medium-sized SBC church.
After decades of attempting to repress his homosexuality, Oliver began reading books about gay Christians. Eventually, he came to believe that there was nothing wrong with having same-sex attraction. Thus, Oliver became part of the “celibacy movement” in contemporary Christianity. Having committed himself to a celibate identity, Oliver put guards on his computer (to avoid seeing any arousing sites). Oliver even learned to stop masturbating.
At age 39, Oliver announced to his congregation that he was “gay.” He reassured his staff and church that he was not engaging in homoromantic or homoerotic behaviors. He was “clean.” The congregation gave him a standing ovation! However, the following Monday, his SBC regional director told Oliver never again to call himself “gay.” Oliver refused to hide what he knew was true. Besides, he believed that God loves him — exactly as he is.
Oliver was soon fired and removed from the SBC.
Disheartened, Oliver became an ex-Evangelical. He has maintained his sexual purity, is publicly out as gay, continues to be celibate, and is now the lead pastor in a Protestant non-denominational church.
Oliver has never been happier!
Rick is a 26-year-old gay, cisgender man. He was raised in an Evangelical home by conservative parents. Rick is a physically attractive man with a delightfully winsome personality. In high school, he was privately propositioned by a gay peer from his school. Afraid at first, Rick “threw caution to the wind” — and discovered that he immensely loved sex with men. Soon enough, Rick began having gay sex with many other males.
Rick went to a private Christian college but found the local gay bars. Being very handsome, he learned that he could get sexual offers from lots of older men. Rick was then introduced to the world of gay social media — and almost nightly hooked up with other men for anonymous gay sex. Rick habitually got high on alcohol or marijuana, which progressed into harder drugs. Eventually, Rick was removed from his college because of failed grades.
Undaunted, Rick got a job as a bartender at a local gay bar. His life spiraled out of control. His parents gave him “tough love” and refused to let him live in their home. Ricked shacked up in homes with other gay men, where drugs and sex continued. Rick was removed from his job at the gay bar because he was constantly late (or missing) his job.
Jobless, strung out, homeless, and hopeless, Rick would wander the nights looking for another homeless person’s tent. Rick then provided sexual favors to the tent owner as his payment for a warmer place to stay. Rick began standing on a street corner begging for money — which he always used for drugs.
One night, standing homeless and freezing cold, a man approached Rick. The stranger gave Rick a warm blanket, then a ride to the nearest Christian homeless shelter. Rick entered the shelter’s drug and alcohol addiction program, providing him with meals and a room. Rick was continually offered Bible studies and witnessing from Christians. At first, he disregarded and mocked their evangelicalism. However, Rick was eventually drawn to their message of kindness and love.
After graduating from the homeless shelter and their addiction program, Rick got a startup job at a used car store.
Today Rick attends the same small Evangelical church that he once begrudgingly attended. Rick enjoys that the church is full of other addicts, the homeless, and the marginalized by society. He continues to be clean of drugs while acquiring a newfound hope. Rick will always be gay, but now he is also full of gratitude.
Doug and Jeff
Doug is a 65-year-old gay, cisgender man. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Doug was faithful within the Church, but his marriage proved too difficult. He and his wife divorced 17 years ago. Doug still attends the local ward of his LDS faith.
Jeff is a 61-year-old gay, cisgender man. Jeff’s wife of 23 years died. Naturally, he was heartbroken and full of sorrow. The men in his local ward “adopted” Jeff as their widower — constantly bringing him food, friendship, and checkups. It was in that context that Jeff met Doug. Their two personalities immediately clicked, and they began to go on hikes together. On one of those hikes, Jeff learned of Doug’s suffering marriage. The two men began to comfort each other and gained a deep friendship.
Eventually, Jeff confided to Doug that he was gay. Doug merely smiled, then said, “Me too.”
One year after Doug’s divorce, he began dating Jeff. Their previous relationship was full of mutual friendship and support. Now, they are head-over-heels in love with each other. Knowing that they could never get married in their LDS church, they got married by a justice of the peace. They were ecstatic!
Both men continued to attend church at their local ward. Their church did not consider their relationship to be an “apostasy,” but the church did consider it a “serious transgression.” No matter to Doug and Jeff. They were always committed to their faith. Now, they were also committed to each other.
Doug presently suffers from health issues, with Jeff right by his side. Both men are retired and are experiencing a “second chance” in life. Their favorite song is the old Frank Sinatra melody: “Love’s more comfortable, the second time around.” It is obvious how much they cherish each other. Their marriage is a shining example of devotion and selflessness.
They feel “born again.”
The old saying that “no two gays are alike” is still true today. Furthermore, there are tens of thousands of brands of Christianity. Thus, gay Christians are as different as snowflakes. But here is what is always true for a gay Christian:
He deeply loves Jesus and has an enduring homoromantic and homoerotic attraction to certain men.
Dr. Mike Rosebush (he, him, his; Ph.D., Counseling Psychology) is the founder/writer for GAYoda: Today’s global magazine for gay Christians. Contact Dr. Rosebush at email@example.com.