Monthly Archives: July 2012

Being Real About My Sexuality

Tonight as we were all waiting for it to be 8pm so we could all leave work, a man that I work and I were sitting near each other. He asked me right off the bat if I had a girlfriend. I responded with “No.” He then said that I still have time to find one. I agreed and he continued to ask me other questions about myself. He and his wife work with me and have kids that are all grown. Originally they are from India and moved to the U.S. in 2003. Since that is where they grew up, they have a thick accent when they speak English. When they are talking to each other, they always speak in their native language.

From the beginning I thought about telling him that I was gay and another co-worker, that I previously wrote about, we all had interacted with. He and his wife had shared a comment after the gay guy that I work with had left but, being that it was not in English, I have no idea what they said or if they made a comment about him at all. Coming from their background, they had an arranged marriage. They meet each other before they married but it is different than marriage in the U.S. and even more different than a gay couple being married. Honestly, I do not always understand all of what they say to me because of their accent. I use the words that I hear and context to try and guess what they are saying. Sometimes I am right and sometimes not but I try my best to understand them. I did not want to start a conversation with this man I work with about my sexuality if I could not understand everything he said. Though I may be the only person that could ever talk to him about being gay, I let it go as I did not want any issues beyond possibly disagreeing with one another. With everything else that has been going on recently with me and my sexuality, I let it go.

I finished Jay Michaelson’s God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality and definitely am more confident in who I am and my sexuality. One of the points, near the end of the book, that he makes is gay people are created for a special purpose in society. His goal was not to define what that purpose was but to open it up to any and all possibilities. I think this point needs to be taught and shared because many gay teens do not feel this way at all. As a Christian, we believe that all people are created in God’s image, even gay people. As a gay man, I have a story to tell and a message within me on who God is. Some people will deny that but God ultimately wants to show more of Himself through His creation. Creating gay people says something about God. God is trying to reveal a truth about Himself to the world yet some people turn away and deny it. That is why it is so important to be real and transparent with others about our sexuality. Maybe we are the only gay person in someone’s life and without us, they would never truly understand what it is like to be gay. We cannot waste that opportunity. When it comes to me and the man at work, I feel like there are other people better suited to reach out to him but if God asks me to come out to him, I would do it.

This experience made me think about what should I be doing that helps others understand me and my sexuality better. One is definitely through conversations and creating dialogue. That is something that I am going to have to think more about.

-Josh

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Heal Before Help

I had an eye opening experience yesterday. Recently, a guy at work (who works first shift) has been working with my group of people that I work with on second shift for an hour before he leaves (He comes in an hour later than regular first shift and leaves an hour later). Two days ago we were talking about a facial skin condition – I do not remember the name of it. One of the people we work with has it and she is taking an antibiotic for it. He commented that his boyfriend had had it in the past. I had assumed this guy was gay from the first time I had seen him but what caught me off guard was how strong he was in himself and his sexuality. What also surprised me was no one that I work with made any comment negatively towards him. Yesterday, they talked again and he shared his dream of being a songwriter. He got together with his boyfriend because his boyfriend sings so they could work together and be together. If everything works out for him, he will be moving in a month and will not be at my job anymore.

One of my goals at work is to always reach out to other gay men that I know and to let them know that I am there if they ever need anything. I have not come out to this guy yet but he could probably guess that I am gay too. His strength in himself made me realize that I need to get through my own struggle before I can help others. One thing that Joyce Meyer has said that really resonated with me was “You cannot give what you do not have.” I need to have personal experiences that prove that “It Gets Better” before I can tell other people and help them through their struggle. I feel like I have put the cart before the horse. Healing for me is needed so that I can better help others in the future. It is also hard to follow a leader when they are wishy-washy. I need to find my strength though I know I am a born leader.

In the end of my middle school – early high school years, my parents made me go to a Christian psychologist because they had found me cutting. I have only done it twice in my lifetime and will never again. It is just another thing that I can use to relate to other people’s lives. I was hurting so much that it came down to that. It was such a release at the time but it just was not healthy. The psychologist had his own share of problems, as my dad told me. That is why we stopped seeing him. I think he was so willing and wanting to help other people that he repressed his own problems. I could see myself falling down this same trap and I really do want to help other people but I need to make sure I am real about my problems and work them out in my life.

It has helped me that I read God vs. Gay?: A Religious Case for Equality by Jay Michaelson. He has brought more things to the table that I had not thought about before and things that I had thought about before. For the first time, I have more peace about who I am than I ever have before. Now I ask the question: How do I continue on the road to complete healing, the road to living confidently as a gay man? (If anyone has any advice to share, feel free to say something in the comments.) I think one inevitable thing in that process is moving out of my parent’s home. In time that will happen.

Maybe I am being too hard on myself but I definitely think there is truth to this. It has been rough recently and will be for a while. I am more emotional as they have everyone working 12 days straight without a day off. When it is all said and done, it will probably be a lot more but no one knows when our next day off will be. I wanted to cry yesterday at work. I want to cry right now as I am writing this. Though it is rough now with many different things going on, I will endure and get through this.

One thing that I need to invest in is praying for my future husband on a daily basis and praying for the people struggling with their sexuality on a daily basis. I think it will help me to have more hope and to know that doors of hope are opening for others because of the prayers that I have prayed.

Thank you to everyone for your positive and encouraging comments on my last post. I really appreciate it.

-Josh


The Cages Of My Life

The purpose of this post is to open the window into my life and the experiences that I am currently dealing with. I do not write this post to hurt anyone but to expose truth – bringing situations into the light. To the gay teen readers and gay teens who stumble upon this post, I write this to share that there are other people going through the same things and hopefully we can all go through them together so that we will see a brighter day in the future.

I have come to find that parts of me are caged; parts that every human has that I cannot use. My heart is caged. With living in my parents home, I cannot have a boyfriend for they feel that it is sin. Loneliness is getting to me yet there is nothing I can do at the moment. There will a day when I leave my parent’s home for good but that day has not yet arrived unfortunately. My voice is caged. Being on Facebook, my dad has to be friends with all his children to monitor what they do. In the past, he has asked me to take down a Facebook status, about the topic of gay, down because he did not agree with it. He has also texted me about being “offended” for liking two pictures of men in their underwear. I love and respect my dad though he is close-minded and in denial of my sexuality. I wish he would see though that all he is causing is pain and hurt and is not doing anything to help. When we talk he cannot truly listen to me and what I have to say – everything is just filtered through his “Josh is not gay, he can change. I see Josh as a straight man.” mentality. I thought he was being open and willing to talk until we would make a comment that just shattered everything. How I needed a hobby to get other my sexuality or laughing at the idea of having an experimental boyfriend to figure out more about my sexuality. How I had to explain to him what “ex-gay” and “ex-gay ministries” were because he will not do the research to further understand me. Him not doing that research says to me that he does not really love me. If he loved me enough, he would do it because my sexuality is important to me and it should be important to him. He does not do it because he does not believe I am gay. As I write this I feel anger and just want to cry but this is what I deal with. I wish I had accepting parents. God is using is though so that when I look back on it, I will be stronger because of it. I feel no other choice but to move out of the house when the time is right and distance myself from my parents.  I will not hide when I get engaged from them, if that happens in my lifetime. It does not change that I still need to be real, honest, and myself to everyone. At the end of the day, I just want to be happy. God wants me to happy and enjoy my life but where I am at, with the caged heart and voice, I can only feel less than of a person and defeated. Though I do have hope that God will use these experiences to help me and others. I look forward to what is ahead and that gives me strength to carry on. We all go through times of trial and heartache, but it helps us become better people. We would not learn those lessons without the pain.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as my next step  is to write a letter to the leaders of my church about my experiences as a gay Christian man in the church. Hopefully it would not have a lot of backlash but I need to “be real” to the people around me about myself and take a stand for what I believe in. One of the reasons why my dad asked for the Facebook status to be removed was because that status “effects our whole family”. It just tells me that he is ashamed of my sexuality and in turn ashamed of me. I will never be good enough for him (because I am not straight) but I have excepted that because I do not need his approval to be successful in my relationships, in my faith, in my career, in my life. Part of my story is I was abused at the age of 10. People will look at my dad differently because of that, whether they want to or not.

In conclusion, I challenge us all (me too) to come into friendships/relationships that we have with other people, that we listen to them openly and honestly and strive to give them what they need. Let us be humble enough to step back sometimes and say “I think I should do this for this person but they really need this so I will do that instead.” Let us not become so hardhearted and close minded that we cannot love people and help when we are in need.

-Josh


Healing From A Change In Perspective

Yesterday was a full dose of emotions for me. I meet up with one of the friends from my past. He is planning to do mission work in Slovenia for a year and is raising support for that. We caught up on each other’s lives. It has been about three or fours years since the last time we have actually hung out.  I was a bit nervous meeting with him for coffee because of our past. He was a guy I latched onto before I knew I was gay. In my mind, at that time, it all made sense. I was just looking for a father’s love from another guy since I was physically abused once by my father when I was 10 years old. Living in a conservative Christian family, I was never taught what gay was. I lived a life of pain and hurt because I did not know who I really was. I knew the attributes of my sexuality but I did not have a word for it and that hurt. I was different but I could never put my finger on why I was different. It was not until my junior year of high school that I realized I was gay. Before my friend went off to college, we ended our friendship because I was so conflicted and hurt that I really needed someone but I was just pushing everyone away with my actions. So to meet up with him again after that was interesting for me. Our meeting went well. It was weird to interact with him now that I had accepted my sexuality as before when I did not even know I was gay. Everything flooded back to me about why I looked up to him and wanted to be more like him.

As I was working, the realization that he might be gay came to mind. I always doubt my guy friend’s sexuality. I do this way too much.    As far as I could remember he had never had a girlfriend. He had a strong bond with another guy that we both attended church with in our pasts but that was about it. Just a lot of different emotions happening with me. My friend is really masculine and that is why I think I am over thinking everything. I do it all too often anyway so I am just going to accept that I am wrong again. During our meeting, I had the urge to kiss him (twice) but I did not act on it as it just would not be appropriate. I also realized that I could hardly make eye contact with my friend during our meeting. I was mostly looking at his mouth when he talked. That is probably why I had the urges I did. The reason why I think I could not make eye contact with him was because I was wrestling with where our friendship was with me being aware of my sexuality. I did feel an urge to ask him about what he thought about gay people but I did not. As of right now, he is my Facebook friend and I have posts that would lead people to believe I am gay but I have not come out to him face and face. Not making eye contact was me not letting my friend in. I did not want him to see what I was really struggling with. I was afraid. We are going to meet again before he goes on his missions trip so I am going to come out to him then and see what his response is.

As I was thinking about this, God just put a song into my head. “So Small” – Carrie Underwood. I had heard it on the radio numerous times and one time it just really spoke it me. It spoke it me again as God brought it back to memory. It was reminding me not to stress out and be over emotional, to take on more stress than I needed to, and to put into perspective what I was doing. I needed to drop my friend’s sexuality and move on because it was causing me too much stress.

This was the song I needed as I am struggling with my sexuality. I am more emotional too about the whole thing because I am just so lonely. It is one thing to have friends, it is another to have people who understand you as a person – sexuality and all. Truly, I want to move on from the struggle of my sexuality but something always pulls me back in. There is wisdom in the lines that say “When you figure out love is all that matters after all, it sure makes everything sense seem so small.” I was in a nine day relationship with a guy two months ago and that was the happiest I have every been in my life but he broke up with me because he did not know what he needed to do with his sexuality. Now he lives across the country and is in another relationship. I have decided to not go behind my parent’s backs with another relationship as they both do not accept me being with another guy nor accept that I am even gay. This is a huge weight on me when I feel like, though it was be work, a boyfriend is what I need right now.

I think I have always viewed my sexuality as a mountain I have had to climb when really it was just a grain of sand. I have just made it harder than it actually is.

 

I write this post to encourage my readers to take a step back and put into perspective the issues that we are stressing over. How big are they really in the overall picture?

-Josh


Being The Person God Created You To Be

Recently, I have had a perspective shift. I have always wanted to be able to live fully as a gay Christian man but I could never justify it for myself. There would always be doubt, or fear, or just the fact I could not justify the text of the Bible with my own life. Through reading a book this week, that has changed. In the past, I have gone in circles from accepting my sexuality and faith fully to denying myself of sexual pleasure with other men. Hopefully I can continue to remind myself of this time and continue to live a life of acceptance of both my faith and my sexuality. The book I was/am reading is God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality by Jay Michaelson (It was one of the recommendations for the book discussion). Never has a book changed my life more than this one (I would say a close second would be Living Beyond Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer but that is another post). He makes a case that prohibiting our sexuality, “the closest”, and trying to change our sexuality are all against Biblical teachings and principles.

The point that hit me the strongest was his new look on the Creation of Adam and Eve. I had never heard his interpretation before. In order for this to make sense, forget all of what has been taught on Adam and Eve and sexuality from Genesis. Though I have not fully figured it out, I thought it was a very interesting perspective. Hopefully it can show more about God and who He is. Michaelson made the point from Genesis 2:18 that everyone should have a companion, whether gay or straight, as the verse states: ” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him” (NLT). Personally, I had thought about this before but he went deeper than that. Here’s the rest of the passage so Michaelson’s logic can be followed more easily.

Genesis 2:18-25: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame (NLT).

 

He went on to say, that God brought all of the animals of Creation to Adam to name BUT to ALSO find a companion, making the point that finding a companion was the main focus and God letting Adam name all of Creation secondary. God did not right off the bat give Adam Eve and told them to multiply but looked through all of His Creation for a companion. When there was not a companion in the animals of God’s creation, God created Eve from Adam’s rib. Michaelson makes the conclusion from these verses that God has a companion for everyone, whether gay or straight. Eve was specifically for Adam and God knew that they would be best for each other. He also knew He eventually needed to populate the earth with humans. Hopefully this makes sense to all my readers.

Some questions I have been pondering from this is that Genesis 1 is a summary of all of Creation. Genesis 2 specifically goes into the Creation of humans. Genesis 1:11-12 says “Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good” (NLT.) Why would God give Adam a companion (or helper in the NLT) that was an animal if His intent was for them to continue to procreate the kinds that they were? It only references this for plants but in nature we see it in plants, animals, and humans. That leads me to the question of when was human sex created? When was animal sex created?

Another thing I ponder is Michaelson universally uses that God gives a suitable to every individual person, meaning that gay relationships would be accepted by God and fully justified to have sexual relations, when he interprets God giving Adam Eve but in Genesis 1:27-28 ” So God created human beings in his own image.

    In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

My question is why do we not take “be fruitful and multiply” universally, which would condemn same sex relationships?

There is also looking at animal homosexuality vs. human sexuality. Animals do not have a soul so they do not commune with God like humans nor do they live under rules. I just wonder what animal homosexuality has to tell us about human sexuality. Is it also a consequence of sin or is it just natural? Michaelson makes the point that homosexuality is natural simply because we see it in nature – in animals.

These two verses also remind all of us that we were created in the image of God. God has no gender, no sexuality. Male and female, gay and straight are all ways of showing more about who God is. I get a little bit angry when conservative Christians force their children into gender roles. Gender roles, as we know them today, were not created by God. They were created by humans. The NIV translates the word “effeminate” as being a sin. I would argue that God is effeminate. God can show himself as effeminate. We are created in the image of God, according to Genesis, and since God did not have any gender why do we feel the need to live strictly to gender roles? We need to live how God wants us to live, without being so obsessed with how masculine or feminine we are.

I leave my readers with my one thought that I had this morning: Never apologize for the way God created you. As gay men, we may get discouraged or be afraid for being open about who we really are but God wants us to live in truth for Jesus is Truth. I challenge all of us, myself as well, to stay strong in God and the way He created us and to be who we honestly are as much as we can.

-Josh


Thoughts: Book Discussion

This thought just popped into my head: What about we have a book discussion as part of my blog? We read a book and discuss it. I am always looking to learn from stories and different perspectives on life/the world. It does not really matter the book, whether it be a gay rights book, a gay romance, or a current mainstream book such as The Hunger Games. My line though would be no deep philosophical books because people can only take so much of that. I would like this book discussion to be for any gay man that would like to participate. Though I am also a Christian, I bring that part of me into the discussion as well. There may be readers that disagree with Christianity and that is okay. I would like to encourage a respectful environment between the people who do participate.

One book that I am looking forward to reading is Justin Lee’s book entitled Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. Here is a link to more information about it: http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Rescuing-Gospel-Gays-vs-Christians-Debate/dp/1455514314  The book does not release though until November 13, 2012.

There are two books that I currently have on hold at the library:  God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality by Jay Michaelson and Catching Fire (Book 2 of The Hunger Games Series) by Suzanne Collins. If anyone has a suggestion as well, feel free to post it in the comments or e-mail me at gayeveryday@gmail.com. I am more than willing to read a book with just one other person if that is what it comes down to.

I think it would be really interesting to discuss ideas and review books as gay men – giving a different perspective that is not always seen or heard.

Hopefully this can be something productive that many people will learn and gain from. This would also open the blog up to more posts from topics that come up from the book discussions.

-Josh


The Need of a Support System

I was reminded recently of how important it is to have a support system to go to when problems arise. A group, however big or small depending on the person, of people that a person can be real with and share their deep problems and struggles; the biggest one being issues related to the person’s sexuality. Yesterday I was having a hard day at work and I have also been dealing with some gay issues. I asked myself “Who could I go to and talk to them about what I am going through?’ My good straight friend is currently on an out of the country missions trip. Another gay friend has just gotten really busy as we have gone different directions with our lives. With what I am going through, I wanted to talk to a gay guy since they could better relate. I came to the realization that there was no one I could really talk to about what I was dealing with. At that point, I just prayed to God that things would get better and had a good rest of my time at work. Maybe God is teaching me to learn that He is all I need. Sometimes though I just need to talk with another person.

Though there are different phases of  our lives that we all go through, never give up on finding good people to add to your support system. One thing I also learned is to know for sure if someone to trustworthy enough to be a part of your support system. I recently meet this guy online and just wanted to pour out my heart and soul to him as there really is not anyone else in my life to do that. The more I though about it, the more I stopped and took a step back. I do not know who this guy is yet so it is not the best for me to be real with him about everything little thing right off the bat. With time and getting to know him better, hopefully I can know that he is trustworthy enough to bring into my support system. Overall, I can be too much of a trusting person. Finding balance in that area of my life would be beneficial for me.

Sort of a side bar that connects to this topic: It is hard to find and have gay friends. Either a guy wants to date or not be a part of your life at all. If any of my readers just need someone to talk to that does not have any interest in dating them but just to talk and heal in that way, feel free to e-mail me at gayeveryday@gmail.com.

For those readers who have not come out to anyone yet and are hiding the secret that they are gay inside, do not feel like this is only your battle. You do not need to be alone in this. In that phase of life, this is where support is most needed. I did not truly find healing about my sexuality until a reached out to a gay guy that was in my choir class in college. We have been good friends since. It was truly what I needed to accept myself and move on with my life. If I had not reached out, with the gradual downward spiral I was on, I would have killed myself because the pain was just that great. There are people in the world looking for gay men struggling with their sexuality and reaching out to them but we cannot catch everyone. Though it may be scary and hard to take that step and reach out to someone else, it will make a world of difference. Whether in real life or online, reach out to someone for the help and encouragement that is needed. It is not easy to say to someone else “I need help!” As people, we want to be viewed as independent and strong. It never makes a person look weak when they ask for help. They are just using their resources wisely and doing the best they can with what they are given. Be willing  to humble yourself and ask for help.

-Josh