by The Former Sapphist
“Hear the other side.” — St. Augustine
Dear Catholic gay/lesbian,
I shared the same sentiments you have, when I was still actively practicing homosexuality — that feeling of being prejudiced and discriminated against, and condemned to eternal damnation. Yet, I wanted to stay Catholic. My problem is that the members of the church did not help me pursue this faith, and I felt unwelcome each time I walked through the door.
I once believed that I was born and made a lesbian. Thus, it should be alright for me to pursue a life however I pleased, so long as I had a ‘love for God’ and ‘loved my neighbor’. I cringed at any priest who included in their sermon how homosexuals are bound for hell. And just like that, I would call that priest out publicly in cyberspace, particularly on Facebook.
I would like to share with you a few things and hopefully, it may break some of the prejudices that not only the LGBT suffer from, but also some Catholics who are sincerely on the path to authentic friendship with Christ and our brothers and sisters.
I am relatively new in my journey to spiritual renewal. Like you, I maintained my religion despite my secular practice of homosexuality. After 20 years, I came to the conclusion that lesbian relationships all have the same plot and end in tragedy. Siguro nga, hindi ako pinalad (maybe I was not so lucky). Then again, God — in His infinite wisdom — allowed me to go through all the things that I had to go through because they were leading me somewhere.
Two years ago, a family member of mine fell sick, at the same time that I caught my ex cheating on me. I willingly ended the relationship and focused instead on what I could do for my family. As any lukewarm Catholic would, I went back to prayer, visited the Blessed Sacrament and started asking questions.
Is this the life that is meant for me? If so, why does it feel so empty, despite having had girlfriends who swore to love me with all they had to give? Are we humans so unfaithful to our word? I threw these questions and more, at that white piece of unleavened bread, which could not possibly speak the answers. But somehow, I heard them. Something inside me heard the whispered answers and they were all spoken with a most profound love, stripped of prejudice, of worldly promises, of anxious uncertainty. All I needed was to sit there. I had no Rosaries in hand, no Bible, nothing… just me and my broken self.
It was then that I knew that the life I was living was the one thing that was making me feel the absence of the kind of love that no person — man, woman or lesbian — could ever offer.
I grew hungry to know Mother Mary and Jesus more. I attended Catholic-based seminars. One of them was a spiritual warfare seminar which, of course, condemns homosexuality as a craft of the devil. But this time, I decided to listen and give it a chance. Maybe there was something there that no teacher, priest or book has ever told me. As I listened, I learned about the possibility of how homosexuality could indeed be manufactured by the enemy.
I don’t want to get into the details because spiritual warfare is a heady subject and often sounds all too weird. But I assure you, I was so convinced that I went back to the adoration chapel and renounced homosexuality before the Blessed Sacrament on November 23, 2015.
A month after this renunciation, the family member who fell sick was established to be on her way to full recovery. Two months after, my mother who had been battling cancer for five years was declared cancer-free. It’s all too much of a coincidence, if you ask me. I never asked to be rewarded for turning my back on the homosexual lifestyle. All I asked was for the people who may have been hurt by my life’s choices to be healed. At the time, the people I had in mind were all my exes and their families, not mine.
I continued to be hungry for answers until I found a community of persons with same sex attraction (SSA). This community is made up of LGBTs who now understand that to singularly define one’s self by way of sexual orientation limits the self, since sexuality is only a fragment of what the total self is.
As a lesbian, everything I did — the work that I chose, the clothes that I wore — were all defined by an image that I embraced by what I thought I was and not by who I truly am in the eyes of the loving God that created me.
A child, before anything else
It is interesting to note that before we were boys and girls, we were first human beings. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2270) states that ‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” We all know that in the Catholic worldview, human life begins upon the meeting of the sperm and egg cell. Medically, a fetus’ sexual organs develop at around 7 weeks. Yet, one’s homosexual (gay) or heterosexual (straight) attributes develop largely outside the womb, by social conditioning.
I do not mean to sound regretful of what happened to me as they were all part of my journey. However, had I known first that I am a child of God before my father raised me as a pseudo-son, I wouldn’t have entertained or even developed my boyish attributes.
I didn’t come to know early that it’s okay to identify myself first as a child of God, before I went on with my life identifying myself as a ‘lesbian’ or a ‘soft butch’.
Prejudice is a two-way street
I posted my second year anniversary of renouncing homosexuality as my Facebook status. Many applauded me, but one. She was indignant and accused me of throwing my friends ‘under the bus’ since turning my back on the lifestyle.
This is something I cannot understand. She reacted negatively to my post, when I don’t recall her throwing a pizza party when she learned that I was a lesbian. Somehow, she understood ‘renouncing homosexuality’ as renouncing homosexuals, when the God that I serve differentiates the sin from the sinner.
She was so indignant that she ordered me to remove her from my Facebook when it was her who was annoyed with MY facebook post on MY wall. Words were thrown around and it ended with me saying that I’ll have Mass offered to her.
It was through this experience that I understood fully how prejudice is a two-way street. As a lesbian, I knew how it felt to be discriminated, but it’s different when you’re being discriminated by a lesbian because you decided to stop being a lesbian. To pursue a life of faith and chastity makes it worse. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The saints didn’t have it any better.
On God’s design, disordered passion and love’s symptoms
What Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee calls ‘complexity of human behavior’ is, in another looking glass, a disordered passion, if we are to consider the sanctity of human life under God’s design. If we are to fully appreciate the human body, we would have a better understanding of what it is designed for.
The genitals are designed to pro-create life or to excrete liquid waste. The anus was design to expel solid human waste. The fingers are designed to do menial or creative tasks. If they were to be utilized to accentuate sexual pleasure, then let it be to pro-create human life, under the sanctity of matrimony.
Consider this. The shape of the penis — from the ‘head’ to the shaft — actually conforms to the shape of the vaginal canal and farther down her cervical crypt.
It’s so simple yet, because we are complex human beings, we wish to make it abstract, under the guise of psychology. Psychology, which had been manipulated by the errors of Russia and we had been warned about in Fatima… but that is for another blog entry.
On homosexuality, the Catholic church and church-goers
I have been a Catholic. I had been a homosexual. In all this dichotomy I have tried to reconcile my homosexuality as a definite reality and my spirituality a source of peace and hopefully, a more lasting love, because deep inside I have always known a certain hunger that no gorgeous-looking, domestic-cooking partner could give.
The only real problem that I came across in my journey to find Love was the prejudice of leaving the homosexual life while remaining true to who I am. I realize that I could never achieve this if I didn’t know the answer to the question Who am I?
This question posed a problem if I continued to answer ‘lesbian’ to the question of ‘who’, when sexuality is merely a splice of a wider, much broader spectrum of the rainbow that is my person.
If we are to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we will come to a fuller understanding that the Church does not condemn homosexuals, but instead, opens Her doors to welcome, protect and cherish homosexuals and understand their needs and longing for nothing else but love.
The usual church-goers are understandably disconnected because, sadly, there are only a few priests and laypersons who truly understand that homosexuality is but a symptom of an underlying, much deeper woundedness in the family history of brokenness of the homosexual.
For all you know, homosexuals as adults are left to sexualize the need for a father, a mother, a sister or a brother. The intimacy we found, as we thought, could only be pacified by genital contact because it was the only intimate, sensible, pleasurable and easiest way to fill the missing gaps of our formative years, when the significant parent or sibling should have been present.
Homosexuality is not the culprit. It is merely a symptom of a much deeper pain. For us to embrace homosexuality and plead for understanding, acceptance and respect, is to stop pursuing the path to healing and to ask the world outside of us to simply wrap a bandage in the name of equality and acceptance. We can never invoke equality without recognizing the Creator who made all things equal. And we do not recognize God if we only recognize what we want and insist on it.
The world does not owe us this respect, for they could never accept what we could not accept ourselves. We are first children of God, before we are male, female or otherwise.
Ironically, I find that sexuality is just as a beautiful as chastity. St. Augustine de Hippo, once a fornicator and occult believer, is now a doctor of the church. He knew all too well what it means to suffer having been a slave of bodily pleasures.
Your life and your body is beautiful. It has always been. Do not let a singular person define it for you, or until your ‘likes’ on social media on your photos with your partner tells you that it is. Kasi ang tutoo nyan, pag kayo nagka-problema ng partner mo para maghiwalay, hindi mo naman ipo-post di ba? (The truth is, if you and your partner have a problem that might cause you to breakup, you wouldn’t post it on social media, would you?)
If you are a Catholic like me, who wish to reconcile faith and sexuality, there is a place for us. We only need to look a bit further and perhaps, deeper.