Setting the Spark – Part I

Last night I was pondering sending my parents another email to start another discussion about my sexuality; to set another spark. Recently I have just been feeling depressed and lonely as I long to be in the companionship of another man yet my parents do not understand me and do not accept me being gay or being with another man.

It should never have to be like this for any family or for any gay teen. To use the Bible as a means of further separating the relationship between a father and son is not what God wants to see. It is one thing to not believe that gay relationships are acceptable to God but it is another to deny someone’s sexuality out of ignorance and pride. In saying this I do not put myself above my parents but to make a point. For I am not better than anyone else and I will never know everything or do everything right. How can my father know  about my sexuality if he does not put in the time to research it? As the quote says “Knowledge is power.” I have told my dad that his lack of wanting to understand me and my sexuality shows me that he does not love me enough yet he does not research because he does not believe in God accepting gay relationships or people even being gay. He has also told me that I should change my sexual orientation to straight and marry a woman. How is that even done? It is not just going to happen magically. Is not ex-gay ministries the answer to that question? In our discussion, my dad did not even know what ex-gay ministries were because of his lack of research on the topic. Shouldn’t you have facts to back up your argument before you choose a side? Apart from sexuality, a person would look at the facts of an issue and base their beliefs on those facts. My dad has the cart before the horse in trying to use whatever evidence he can to support his conviction. I respect his conviction yet at the same time his conviction has a lot to do with me and it hurts me and causing me much stress. He does not come to the topic with an open mind and look at all the evidence to come to a conclusion. He picks and chooses what other people believe and uses that to support his beliefs. The key is to come into the topic with an open mind and to look at all of the evidence and facts.

This is the path that I have taken. My dad bought himself “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” by Joseph Nicolosi, which I later read. He also bought me an $80 kit of books for Exodus International that I read the summer before my freshman year of college. Knowing the “Christian psychology” to sexuality and being gay really helped start my journey to reconcile my faith and sexuality. The biggest thing that I dislike and disagree with when it comes to that viewpoint is the blaming of the parents for their child being gay. Do I think that my parents played a role in my sexuality? Yes. I believe that it is a combination of nature and nurture. Studies show that the brain of a gay man fires and functions similarly with a straight woman than with a straight man. That would be part of the nature side of sexuality. I try to put myself in my parent’s shoes. How would I feel if I was a conservative Christian and someone told me that my parenting was the reason that my son is gay. I would not know what to do. I would feel so much guilt and hurt that I did this to my son. In one of the discussions with my parents about my sexuality, my mom broke down crying and said something along the lines of “I’ll never stop loving you the way I know how. You are my son and I have always loved you that way.” My mom was really hurt by this view. I would totally agree that I have a distant father and an overbearing mother but not all gay men do and that is the point. No matter what my parents would have done to raise me, God wanted me to be gay because there was a purpose and a reason behind it. He is going to use it for His glory and to make His name known.

The big thing about this viewpoint is it not only says that there is a problem with the son that is gay, there is a problem with the way the parents have raised their son. I can understand the need for balance when it comes to anyone’s life, a balance of mother to father interaction with a child but this view comes to the conclusion that love can be wrong and I disagree with that. Jesus was the very essence love and through Him love was created through the Trinity. Jesus never sinned. He was the sacrifice for the world’s sin so that mankind could be reconciled back to God. A question that I have had from the beginning of my journey with my sexuality is how is my love for another man wrong? The Bible never says anything about love being wrong but encourages to love one another. I believe this discrepancy, in saying love is wrong, is a lack of human understanding of who God is.

The war on the topic of gay is not just about sexuality. It is also about a deeper understanding of God, his nature, and how He created humans. God himself is genderless and being made in the image of God, I am like God. I would disagree with the NIV’s translation of saying it is a sin to be effeminate. Effeminate is defined by dictionary.com as “(of a man or boy) having traits, tastes, habits, etc.,traditionally considered feminine, as softness or delicacy.” God does not work within our understanding of gender through from this definition God would be effeminate in society’s eyes today. God embodies both the masculine and the feminine. I am going to be bold enough to say that God is most like a gay man, having both masculine and feminine qualities. My mom and dad are very strict on gender roles, as most conservative Christians are. When I was in 5th grade, I would paint my two sister’s hands and feet with nail polish. I was never allowed to paint my own nails because it was “effeminate”. A while ago I saw a YouTube video of Darren Criss (big fan of his) do an acoustic version of a song and as he was performing I saw that his fingernails on his hands where painted. Personally, I do not express myself in that way but it is just the principle of it. I would love to do it once to see what it is like and I should be able to it. I really support Darren Criss for the fact that even though he is a straight guy, who plays a stunning gay man on Glee, he has the confidence to perform and have his nails be different colors. He simply does not care what other people think and I admire that.

We see that God is not tied down my gender expression so why should humans? There are passages of the Bible that talk about the roles of the man and the woman in a relationship and I think those verse should still be lived out.  When it comes to gender expression, I do not think it is wrong for a man to dress in drag as a woman. The problem comes in with society. Society determines what is masculine and what is feminine. Society determines who will succeed in it by what qualities they have and do not have. It is changing as more gay men come out and it is more accepted to be gay. There is still more work to do. God is not the one who put rules on gender expression, humans did. What is comes down to is someone sees a drag queen, for instance, and they think about it. It is different than the typical male or female expression we see on a daily basis. There is the opportunity of difference. At the moment, they have the choice to be open-minded and accept that person’s gender expression or to deny their gender expression. In seeing a drag queen and denying their gender expression, maybe the person who sees does not understand why a person would do that or want to do that. That is all it takes to go from being different than someone else to being against a group of people. I think there is fear in the unknown and fear towards a group of people because of a person’s lack of understanding. It is an interesting though that prejudice comes from a place of fear.

This post is getting long and there is still more I could write about so I will have another part to this post coming soon.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day!

-Josh

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4 responses to “Setting the Spark – Part I

  • Alex Diaz

    How long did it take you to figure out you were gay plus accepting it and being comfortable?

    Multiply that time by at least two and that’s how long your parents may need to work through this….

    • jmtromm

      It took me quite a while to get to where I am at right now. I do see your point Alex. Part of the reason why it has taken me so long is for most of my childhood, I did not know what gay even was so I could not better understand myself and got hurt in a lot of different situations. I just want the pain and tension in the house to stop. There has been so much of that that it has even effected my health. Right now they just want to deny everything and I do not think that will change. It has always been my hope that they would one day accept me and get past a portion of my life. Honestly I do not want to have disconnection between me and my family but I need to do what is best for me as well.

      • Alex Diaz

        I hear you. I didn’t know what gay was until I was in 9th grade. Then it took me a few years to come out as well.

        I can’t wait until you move out. Your parents may need to know what it feels like to not have a son. I mean if they can’t accept you much less have an intellectual conversation about The Bible and Gay then can you really form true mother/father-son relationships? The answer is of course not.

  • Rich

    Your parents should never feel they have done anything arong, although that is the thinking society may force them into. I am sure it is hard to move beyond the pre-established views a vocal minority has for gay life.

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