The 5 Definitive Paths for Gay Christian Men
What’s your path — and can you tolerate the other tribes?
If you want to reach a destination, you must know which path you currently are on. There are five very different paths that gay Christian men take to thrive in life. However, there is rivalry afoot. People who follow a specific path have formed a tribe for themselves — and they tend to disrespect and demean the other four tribes.
This article exposes the five definitive paths and the five tribal cliques. Please be prepared to share this info with your pastor or family members.
First, however, are some important definitions for this article.
Christian: Someone aligned with Jesus and intends to love all others in Jesus’ kind and merciful way.
Sexual Attraction: Noticing a person and longing for romantic or erotic engagement.
Sexual Orientation: The sex to which you are sexually attracted. Men with a “homosexual orientation” are exclusively attracted to other men. Heterosexual orientated men are solely attracted to women. “Bisexual orientation” is sexually attracted to both men and women.
Gay/Same-Sex Attraction (SSA): A man who experiences homoromantic and homoerotic feelings toward men to whom he is attracted. Such people identify as either “gay” or “experiencing same-sex attraction.” Clinically, both terms mean the same thing.
Sexual Identity: The term you prefer to use to describe your sexual orientation/attraction. People who call themselves “gay” are proud to do so. People who call themselves as “experiencing same-sex attraction” purposefully avoid calling themselves “gay.”
Thriving: Being in harmony with your sexual orientation/identity — and what you believe God wants you to do with it. Sometimes, this requires being at odds with your religion, pastor, or family members.
1. Mixed Orientation Marriage (MOM)
The only common ingredient in a MOM is that the gay/SSA man is married to a straight woman. The gay/SSA man may have a homosexual orientation (and perhaps acquire a bisexual orientation toward women). Many gay/SSA men are only sexually attracted to their wives; such is known as a “one-woman man.” Or, the gay/SSA man may already have a bisexual orientation before marrying his wife.
The gay/SSA husband in a MOM is typically quite complex, and his marriage faces many challenges. “Complex” in that the husband is still capable of experiencing homoromantic and homoerotic feelings toward men. “Challenges” in that the husband must decide if he wants to repress all homoromantic and homoerotic feelings or instead engage in such feelings (at some level).
You may gain by reading my earlier article entitled “Gay Husband + Straight Wife = Mixed Bag.”
Thriving is viewed as peace with three factors: one’s homosexual or bisexual orientation, finding suitable ways of nurturing one’s desire for homoromantic and homoerotic relationships; and enhancing and sustaining one’s MOM.
The MOM husband’s tribe may error in haughtiness by presuming that since they experience a sexual attraction to at least one woman, then any gay/SSA man with a homosexual orientation may also acquire a sexual attraction to at least one woman. This presumption is quite false. Furthermore, the MOM tribe is not “superior” in development to the gay/SSA single man who holds a homosexual orientation. Being married to a woman (or producing a child) is no indicator of the man’s extinguishment of his homoromantic or homoerotic feelings.
2. Ex-Gay/Side X
During the 1970s through 2010 era, many homosexual men developed a union with Jesus. Some of these men ceased their previous promiscuous life of homoerotic behaviors. Thus, they declared themselves to be “Ex-Gay.” Some ex-gay men married a straight woman and thus entered into a MOM. Some ex-gay men in a MOM could produce a child through vaginal intercourse with their wives. Therefore, they created a narrative that they were no longer gay.
However, such was simply not true. These ex-gay men still possessed a homoromantic and homoerotic capability; they had not been converted into being heterosexual. These men created a misleading script: “change is possible.” Tragically, gay men believed they could extinguish all of their homoromantic and homoerotic feelings — if they only had enough faith, willpower, spiritual deliverance, or followed the sexual conversion counseling method. Such proved to be impossible.
I was one of the first gay/SSA professional counselors to publicly proclaim that one’s same-sex attraction is never going to be extinguished. Such a declaration cost me my counseling career.
You may find it fascinating to read my articles: “Pray Away: How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement;” “I’m a Gay Christian Who Tried Conversion Therapy;” and “Fired for NOT Providing Conversion Therapy”).
Ex-gay individuals commonly held a sexual identity as “ex-gay” or “straight.”
With the virtual demise of the ex-gay movement in 2013, a new group emerged from the ashes: Side X. This tribe no longer insinuated that a gay man may become a heterosexual. However, they continued to emphasize that it may be possible for a gay man to develop an attraction to one woman. Furthermore, they prescribed that the goal of everyone in the Side X tribe is “sexual holiness.” And their definition is to repress and prevent same-sex attractions as they arise, avoid all homoromantic and homoerotic relationships, and confess all violations.
Side X individuals hold a sexual identity of “I struggle with same-sex attraction.”
Thriving for the Side X individual is viewed as preventing oneself from engaging in all homoromantic and homoerotic relationships.
The Side X tribe may error in haughtiness whenever they presume they are more “holy” than the other tribes. Additionally, the tribe asserts that one might be able to develop a homoromantic and homoerotic relationship with one woman — through faith, prayer, sexual holiness, and endurance. Side X is therefore tempted to view the other tribes as lacking in faith and willpower.
3. Side A
Around the turn of the century, pious gay men (who were refraining from engaging in anal intercourse), pastors, theologians, and sexual ethics specialists concurred that God endorses gay marriages. Accordingly, they believed that anal intercourse is permissible between two married gay men. Furthermore, they concluded that homoromantic and homoerotic relationships in pursuit of monogamous, committed love, was virtuous. They called themselves “Side A.” Suddenly, Jesus’ Church became “turned upside down,” and great division arose among the Christian denominations and faiths. The “mainline” churches (i.e., more progressive and believing in gay marriages) became the home for many Side A gay men.
Side A individuals maintain a sexual identity of “gay.” They also align with the global LGBTQ community.
Thriving was viewed as harmony with one’s faith practices (e.g., which church the gay man attends), intentionality in dating men, and permitting oneself to have a gay marriage.
The Side A tribe may fall prone to haughtiness whenever they presume that every gay man needs to embrace the “progressive truth” that God endorses gay marriages. Thus, Side A shakes its head in dismay that there are still gay men who are abstaining from homoromantic and homoerotic relationships. Side A views such gay men as harming the advancement of gay rights.
4. Side B
Side B was born around 2010 in reaction to Side A’s permissiveness and Side X’s conservativeness. Side B maintains a sexual identity of “gay” (i.e., identical to Side A) and aligns with the global LGBTQ community. However, Side B distinguishes itself in its belief that it is never permissible for a gay man to engage in anal intercourse or enter into a gay marriage. Instead, Side B offers that celibacy (i.e., permanent singleness and abstinence from homoromantic and homoerotic relationships) is the only proper choice. Thus, Side B sets out to “change the evangelical Church” into a “family” that provides care for its gay members.
Thriving is viewed as peace and contentment with one’s lifelong celibacy.
The Side B tribe may engage in haughtiness as it sees itself to be more “sexually holy” than Side A. Additionally, Side B views itself as being more “progressive” than the traditionalist perspectives of Side X.
5. Side Y
Side Y emerged around 2015, in specific opposition to Side B’s progressiveness. While Side Y also embraces Side B’s reliance upon celibacy as one’s only option, it passionately refuses to sexually identify as “gay” or align with the LGBTQ global community. Rather, they prefer to describe themselves as someone who “experiences same-sex attraction.” Thus, Side Y has a more preferred status among evangelical denominations (compared to Side B) — specifically because they refuse to refer to themselves as “gay.” Most evangelical denominations chafe at SSA Brothers who refer to themselves as gay, believing that one’s identity must only be in Christ. Thus, Side Y is the darlings of the evangelical community (while Side B is viewed with resistance).
Thriving is viewed as peace and contentment with one’s lifelong celibacy (i.e., identical to Side B), plus holding a sexual identity as someone who “experiences same-sex attraction.”
The Side Y tribe may become haughty as the only viable tribe among the evangelical denominations. Thus, Side Y is prone to snubbing both Side B and X.
Gay/SSA individuals (and their pastors and family members) must understand the five distinct and definitive paths. Thriving becomes dependent upon the certainty of one’s path, in harmony with one’s belief about how God views their sexuality.
Tragically, many denominations, pastors, and family members may malign a gay/SSA man’s path. Disruptively, such nay-sayers believe that they know what the only “correct” path is — and thus influence (if not demand) that the gay/SSA man conform to their beliefs. Being gay/SSA is hard enough without having to “fight” with one’s local church or family members.
In closing, if anyone reading this article finds it informative and helpful, I strongly suggest you provide it to your pastor and family members. After all, while Christians may differ on dogma, we must honor the dignity of each other. To do anything less is to dishonor our relationship with Jesus.
GAYoda is a publication to uniquely and specifically support gay Christian men. Click here to learn more.
Dr. Mike Rosebush is the founder and author of GAYoda. He has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor with 45+ years of mentoring thousands of gay Christian men. Read a short synopsis of his story here.
Read Dr. Rosebush’s complete set of articles here.