11. Once Gay, Always Gay?
by Ed Hurst as told to Robbi Kenney
Please study this disclaimer before reading further
What happens when a former homosexual finds himself living in a men's dorm? Here is one man's true "adventure".
It was a warm Sunday evening in early summer. Church had just ended. Home from Bible school, I was hoping to meet a young girl, a new Christian, who had been a prostitute. I felt I could encourage her through the rough places since my past had been pretty dark.
As I pondered a nice way of approaching her, she turned to me and said, "I know you."
"From where?" I asked, completely astounded.
"You wouldn't want me to say," she replied, looking quickly at the many other people around us.
I assured her that my friends all knew my past and that she could be free to reveal it. She mentioned having met me in the sleaziest gay bar in town, then added, "I thought you were a girl!"
My friends merely smiled. I'm sure they remembered the day several years before when I had first entered the church. I had been a believer for less than a week, and it was still pretty unclear what God would ever be able to do with the likes of me. My blond hair, bleached a brassy gold, was full of ringlets; my voice was high-pitched and girlish; and my face was soft, fair and quite feminine.
The path that I walked after salvation is one that God alone mapped out. Many times I dragged my feet...even began to turn back. But Jesus was there, offering hope and encouragement; offering genuine love - offering the full reality of "new creaturehood".
Meeting Him did not automatically make me a heterosexual. Though I quit smoking and lost the desire to drink, my interest in men continued as strong as ever. But I wanted God to have His way in my life, so I decided that for no price would I yield to those temptations again. And I assumed that I was doomed to celibacy.
My self-image was the first area God tackled. Several weeks after I committed my life to Jesus, I developed a desire to leave every trace of my past behind. I already had burned my pornography and had disposed of my jewellery and feminine clothes. But I still had my beautiful hair and peculiar way of walking.
Satan lost another battle at the barber shop. All I did was get my hair cut, but the difference in my appearance was amazing. A friend whom I had seen on my way to the barber shop passed me on the street right after the hair cut, and never even recognised me. I'm only five feet tall, so I'm easy to pick out in a crowd, and he passed within two feet of me.
My walk was something I had picked up unconsciously in my exposure to the gay scene. I dropped it easily. My delicate arms gradually toughened up through work and exercise - things I avoided in my previous life because I saw them as "manly", and I was deliberately cultivating femininity.
Being asked to become a part of a Christian family also helped heal my attitudes about myself as a man. My new "dad" really treated me like a son. he taught me how to do things I never would have attempted, like fixing drains and starting a fire in the fireplace - masculine activities that I had managed to avoid as I grew up. My self-confidence grew as I dropped the feminine rôle and took on a masculine identity.
Sometimes people still tell me that I should correct my laugh. Personally I don't see a laugh as being masculine or feminine. Mike Busse of EXIT, a Christian ministry to gays in Anaheim, California, once shared this gem: "I am a man. I have a high-pitched laugh that I've always had. Therefore it must be a man's laugh." This has helped me get a grip on a proper view of masculinity vs. femininity.
The next area on which God dealt with me was "cruising". Whenever I met a guy I would look him over like I was sizing up a package that I was thinking of taking home. God had to work it out of my life.
Step one in this process began when I moved in with Bob, a Christian brother.
Bob was used to lounging in his underwear. When I asked him not to, in consideration of my "problem", his retort was unmerciful.
"If you sweep this problem under the carpet, you'll only be avoiding it, not facing it," he said.
It was a tough pill to swallow. Bob explained that it was natural for a guy to look at another and even to notice and admire his physique, but the looking had to stop there. If sexual arousal or thoughts of sex were not entertained then sin had not entered the picture. I was beginning to learn.
Step two came when I went away to Bible School. My first roommate was a six-foot cowboy from Texas who looked just like a hustler (a male prostitute).
"Oh, God, why me?" I thought.
In his spare time, he worked on a suntan and chose me to be the judge of whether he was succeeding or not. Each evening before we got into our beds, he would turn down the waistband of his underwear and ask me to compare the tanned with the un-tanned areas.
Today I can laugh about it; back then I was ready to give up Bible school.
Step three was another six-foot Casanova-type, another roommate at school. Slowly, God was getting through to me. After having a terrible time with temptation, and feeling as though I never was going to overcome, my roommate came through with a real word of wisdom.
"Listen," he said, "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I want you to know that things aren't as bad as they seem. You're condemning yourself, but actually I'm amazed that you do as well as you do. If I were living in a girl's dorm, I would've lost my control long ago. Your past sin is right in front of you every day, and this is the first I've ever seen you have a problem with it. Try to look at it that way."
It was strange, but true. An ex-pot smoker isn't faced with pot smoke every day. Nor is an ex-alcoholic faced with alcohol all the time. Nor is a heterosexual fornicator faced with women in their underclothes. But as an ex-gay on campus, I was on a constant battlefield. The solution was easy. I quit condemning myself, stopped freaking out, and got my eyes off my problem and back on to Jesus.
God's Word promises life, and that more abundantly. How abundant would my Christian walk have been if I had remained bound by the unnatural fear of or preoccupation with the male figure?
I was now free to fellowship with my brothers in Christ without being distracted by the thought patterns of my old life. With that issue settled, God began moving in another area - my relationships with those brothers.
The Bible tells us to resist evil, so I avoided close friendships with handsome males. And if they were Christians of the hugging variety, I avoided them all the more fervently. I was confusing the love that develops in Christ-centred friendships with the lust of the world. I didn't know that I could love man purely, and have a God-centred relationship with him. I was very much afraid of "falling in love" because of the vulnerability I knew I had to guys who could really reach out and care for me. Something had to change.
A friend in ministry to gays, Robbi Kenney, presented it to me quite clearly in a letter.
"All folks have a need for love and for physical affection, especially ex-gays", she said.
"Shouldn't we be affectionate with folks anyway, even at the risk of falling in love? Wouldn't that force us to deal with our wayward emotions?"
So I dropped the wall I'd built and opened myself up to male friendships. It was hard. I was so afraid that the pure Christian love I felt would be distorted into lust and infatuation.
Then the worst thing I could imagine happened. I fell in love in spite of all my good intentions. I had been out of the gay scene for three years, and here I was struggling with feelings I knew would lead only to trouble.
Satan and my flesh had me over a barrel. Rather than try to weed through my feelings and motives, I withdrew from my relationship, determined not to "sin". I justified my action by thinking of the Scripture about not being entangled again in the yoke of bondage.
But even as I tried to walk away from the friendship, I also remembered the first part of that Scripture about standing fast in the liberty in which I'd been made free in Christ. The Lord was speaking to me about running away. He didn't want me bound by sin, but I didn't want me bound by fear, either. The victories I already had attained were about to be lost.
I went to my friend and confessed I was having some trouble. He prayed with me, and somehow I was able to see my way through. My wayward emotions came back into line, and the problem has not resurfaced.
Lately, God has been opening an area I thought would always be closed to me. Last spring I fell in love with a girl for the first time in my life. At age 24 I looked and acted like a 15 year-old with his first crush. Like many ex-gays, I never believed I could be physically attracted to a woman. I had assumed that I would one day get married to a woman whom I loved deeply in the Lord, and together we would "pray through" on the sexual part of our relationship.
God had to heal my fears and attitudes about relating to the opposite sex. In coming into celibacy I gave Christ time to work through thought patterns and defences I didn't know I had.
As I see God's ideal for love and marriage. I find myself looking forward to the time when I will marry. Surely love and sex - as the Designer planned them - are amongst life's most beautiful blessings.
Reprinted from CHRISTIAN LIFE magazine, copyright © September 1977
Christian Life Inc., Gundersen Dr. & Schmale Rd, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA
as found in a tract by OUTPOST - An Exodus Int'l Agency,
P.O.Box 4222, MPLS, MN 55414, USA
This page was created on 30 January 2001
Last updated on 30 January 2001
Reproduced with Thanks