My last 2 sessions with 'T' have been really interesting and very helpful. We've started to talk about some really important issues for me - my sexuality and gender confusion.
I am taking a HUGE risk writing this post but I would not be honest about my struggles by ignoring these KEY issues in my life and not writing about them. I have alluded to these issues in previous posts and hinted at them.
Being a Christian I've tried to talk about these issues with other Christians over the years and have met with judgement and closed minds. I've had verses from the bible thrown at me. I've been shouted down. I've been told I'm "a sinner" to have such issues. I've been told I'm "a sinner" just to say that I identity as gay. I've heard gays being condemned from the pulpit hundreds upon hundreds of times over the years.
It is impossible to have a conversation about sexuality issues without the 'sin' word being thrown around and the conversation getting heated and polarised.
I've tried many times over the years to address this issue but without success. It is one of the reasons why I left the church.
Contrary to what many people believe it is not a choice to be gay or straight.
A straight person would never consider that they chose to be straight, they just happen to be straight. But when it comes to any other expression of sexuality it is always a choice, oh and it's always a sin too, oh and no one "just happens to be gay".
Well I've got news for these religious people - it is not always choice and nor is it a sin to be what you are. There has to be a separation of the "being" and the "doing".
Sadly very few Christians make that separation in their thinking. They are very black and white and in so doing express something akin to hatred for people who's sexual identity is different.
Human sexuality is not as black and white as many people, especially Christians, perceive. Human sexuality is a very complex subject and more of a continuum than something set in stone.
Another thing most Christians say is that the answer for gays is to "come to Jesus and He will free you and make you straight." That assumption and assertion is deeply flawed and certainly not my experience.
I have no doubt that my gender and sexuality confusion have their roots in the abuse in my childhood. The big question for me is "would I have had these issues anyway and has the abuse compounded them?" I will never know the answer to that question. The only thing I do know is that I could not cope with a straight sexual relationship and identify as gay. However, I also discovered that I wasn't comfortable with a lesbian sexual encounter either. I feel like there is a tird category that I fall into although I definitely identify as gay.
My own experience of God tells me that how the bible is translated and applied by the vast majority of Christians on this issue is plainly wrong. It does not marry up with my own experience of the love and acceptance of God. God loves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Many Christians would not agree with that statement but they are seriously misrepresenting God in so doing.
So many Christians have said to me "oh I love homosexuals, gays etc" but everything that has come out of their mouths has proved otherwise. It is time for a revolution of love and compassion in the body of Christ towards people who are different from the perceived norm.
The only way I've sought to honour God in my sexuality is to be celibate and I've been celibate for 25 years. However, that has not resolved the issues for me. And most importantly it has kept me alone.
In relation to my gender I've felt all my life like a male in a female body. Even as a child I wanted to be a boy kicking a football around and riding a bike in the streets. not a girl sitting indoors knitting and sewing. As an adult I've always felt like a man trapped in a woman's body. I naturally gravitate towards masculine activities, clothing and looks. I even researched how much it would cost to undergo gender reassignment surgery and very seriously considered it for several years. That is how bad I've always felt in my body.
In working with 'T' I have found someone who has a lot of understanding of these issues as well as a lot of respect for me as a Christian. Someone who is willing to talk about these very deep and painful issues in depth with compassion and understanding.
It is an enormous relief to finally talk about this stuff without being shouted down, without being judged and condemned, without the 'sin' word being thrown around. There are no easy answers and no easy solutions but boy the relief at finally being able to be free and safe to talk about this stuff is really liberating.
I know I have a long way to go on this. There is so much to talk about and think through but I have begun. Most of all I know God knows me and knows my heart and thoroughly accepts me. It is sinful, judgemental and plain wrong for anyone to say otherwise.