by The Former Sapphist.
It’s been a good 18 months since I renounced homosexuality. For someone who had exhibited homosexual tendencies since the age of reason, I will need to make the most of the rest of my life to go on this journey to healing.
One might expect that there must have been a life-turning event for me to come to a decision to do so. While that went well and at times mystical, the events that turned the pages were a bit ironic. One of them was losing some friends. The good news is, after just two months of renouncing homosexuality, the good Lord rewarded me with my mother’s healing from breast cancer. She had been battling it then for five years. How could I go back into believing that homosexual behavior is not a sin? I didn’t even ask for it when I intended to renounce homosexuality. All I asked from the Lord was to forgive me for my previous life of sin and to heal the lives of those whom I might have hurt because of the choices I made. I had only my exes in mind, not my cancer-fighting mother.
I had quite a few observations as well, as new people came into my life while I searched for the ‘people of my tribe’. I prayed long and hard for the Lord to show me what my apostolate would be and by God’s grace, I was able to find a community of repentant homosexuals whose spiritual maturity far surpasses my own.
What’s interesting is the hodgepodge of reactions and stereotypes that I encounter when I tell people my conversion story. Most I find both irksome and challenging, as my newfound faith compels me to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate towards the unaware. I take this opportunity to share with you what it’s like to be a repentant homosexual, that you may know the joyful struggles of someone wanting to love and serve the Lord despite her past. Hopefully, these points may serve as guide to avoid awkward situations when you meet a former homosexual who has decided to pursue a life of chastity.
1) The image. “So! You’re now in the Lord’s flock. You should start growing your hair back. You’ll be wearing high heels and skirt. Let me help you get a makeover.”
This is perhaps the most embarrassing, most awkward, and most inappropriate thing to say to a lesbian butch on her way to renewal. I had to take a deep breath and say a silent prayer to my guardian angel, to give my response to someone who said this to me, laughing as they said it. I simply told them that I had been spending the past 7 or 8 months being celibate. “I hope that is good for now. Is that okay with you?” Because I think that the Lord knows what’s in my heart in the first place. This also applies to a cross-dressing gay man.
Please know that some lesbians have decided to become lesbians because they thought it was a way of protecting themselves from sexual trauma brought about by the opposite sex. You telling us to start wearing skirts is potentially bringing us back to a point in time when we were wearing a skirt and a traumatic experience took place.
2) Into the future. “You never know. You might still have time to find the man meant for you.”
Three things: marriage, the biological clock and the opposite sex.
I have never read the Bible from cover to cover, but I sure am confident that nowhere does it say that if you should decide to leave the homosexual life, you should be straight (heterosexual), get married, have three kids, a dog, and a white picket fence.
The goal is not to cure homosexuality, people! The goal is to achieve chastity. Why? Because if I were to choose to become straight, but still kept an unchaste heart, I would only end up changing sexual partners while still misusing the conjugal act. Again, the goal is not to cure homosexuality. The goal is to achieve chastity.
Even married couples are called to a life of chastity. Just because a straight man married his subdued wife doesn’t mean he can ‘use’ her in any which way he so pleases.
Sex is a gift bestowed to those who enter the Holy Sacrament of Marriage according to the design of procreation gifted to us by the God of all creations.
3) Close encounters bordering on temptation. “What if you meet a girl you might really like?”
Please know that you probing into the possibility of someone like me falling back into old temptations, that I am struggling to leave behind, is temptation in and of itself. Understand that these kinds of ‘hypothetical’ questions are not for you to raise, but for us to discern for ourselves in our time, in the way God reveals to us, in a manner that He designs in His own eternal time. We understand the curiosity over our rainbow-tinted life. However, it is not a spectacle for you to enjoy and manipulate like a kaleidoscope guised within a conversation over coffee.
Remember that only the devil is interested in bringing up the past. Jesus Christ forgets the past and is only concerned with the present time that we spend with Him, and with our future. Asking us questions like this is reminding us how deceivingly exciting, exhilarating and enjoyable our earthly, previous lives were and the question begs us to reconsider going back not only to a former life but potentially, to a former lover.
4) “You have a crush on who? Would you consider getting an exorcism?”
I know I said the makeover was the most irksome. But then, I remembered something better. Strange but true, someone asked me this.
In my experience in seeking different religious communities, I encountered a group in the healing and deliverance ministry where sadly, everything is attributed to spiritual forces. In my opinion, some of them have somehow forgotten to define the lines between the psychological, behavioral and spiritual.
A person with same sex attraction who confesses they are crushing on someone is not always under the influence of the devil. Although it could possibly be an occasion of sin, to outrightly recommend that someone get an exorcism ritual for admitting their admiration for someone else is not only insulting. It also comes across as an accusation that the person is possessed.
It is not easy to remain butch-looking while in your heart you know that this image no longer works for you, but for the meantime remains a comfort zone. I wear a Benedictine cross around my neck as if to tell people what I’m all about. Deep inside I know that the Lord will slowly shed away the pieces. I went shopping the other day and I had to acknowledge that I didn’t like what I looked like in the mirror with the tops that I had chosen. I bought them anyway. Acknowledging that small moment of confrontation with the girl in the mirror already means a lot.
Like the cross that even Christ Himself had asked to be taken away if possible, this weight is something I could only hope to be taken from me. Even in my own circle of repentant homosexuals, we are vigilant that no underlying bodily messages are inadvertently sent across.
What I notice though is that among the very few females with same sex attraction (SSA) pursuing chastity with pastoral accompaniment, we females seem to be more sensitive and cautious about how we interact with each other not only because the eyes around us might misconstrue, but also because the female psyche is so sensitive yet calculating, we silently ask ourselves if we have indeed sent the right and appropriate signals that transcends all doubt — including our own. But, female friendships is another story.
Then again, perfect love casts out fear.