I’ve been debating in my mind how much of my story it would be useful to tell on this blog. After reading the story of a closet gay Christian in Ministry, and finding it encouraging for my own journey, I decided I could tell you more…

I really didn’t realize I was gay until I was about 19 years old, and even then I would never had used the word “gay.” Prior to that, I had been keenly aware that I was not sexually attracted to girls. In fact, unlike many other gay men, I had few female friends. There were a couple of girls in my church youth group I considered myself close to, but in hindsight they were just friends. I had a group of guys in high school to who I was close. I am still friends with them today, 25 years later… one of these guys, we’ll call him Bernardo, has played a significant part in my coming out to myself and to others in the last year.

Apart from not being attracted to girls, the only other inkling I had that I might be gay was an experience when I was about ten years old. A friend showed me his brother’s porn stash, and there were some gay pictures amongst them. I was mesmerized by the picture of a guy getting a blowjob. That image is still with me – for years I “knew” it was sinful, it was warped, it was not something that was pure and honourable for a Christian boy to think on. So I repeatedly put it out of my mind and didn’t even consider what it might be telling me about my sexuality.

My first job out of high school, in 1984, was in a bank. My boss, Eric, was gay. Openly gay. He acted gay. He lived with his boyfriend. He drove a Jaguar. He made subtle sexual comments that today would be considered sexual harassment. I basically ignored them, and kept work strictly work, no matter what subject he would bring up. I think he knew I was gay, but I was totally in denial and wouldn’t even think about it.

However, it wasn’t long before I discovered gay porn. I would go to a newsagent in the next suburb and buy some mags every couple of months. I would spend hours poring over the beautiful men in them. Sometimes I even went to an adult bookshop and bought the hard core stuff.

At the same time, I was growing spiritually. I had become a Christian at the age of twelve. Even though my Dad was a pastor, I really felt that this was a decision I made, and it had little to do with pleasing my parents. I was on fire for God from about the age of 15, and by the time I started work in the bank, I was helping lead the youth group, I was the church pianist, and had other responsibilities in my church. I had played a significant role in leading a couple of my high school mates to Christ.

So, whenever I used porn, I would masturbate and then decide I had to get rid of it. Usually it went in the garbage. But there were a couple of times I decided that I needed something more symbolic. I found a place I could be alone and burned it all… kind of like the way Gideon burned the Asherah pole in Judges 6. (I had a flashback the last time I went to an ex-gay support group – I had confessed that I had porn in the car. The leader suggested I bring it in and burn it in his fireplace. I was shocked that he wanted me to bring it into his home, and said no… it went into the garbage at McDonalds later that night!)

But I was still in denial.

In 1987, during a trip to North America, I met the woman who was to become my wife. We were both in youth ministry in the same denomination, and I figured that we had enough in common that she could make a good wife for me. We corresponded by writing letters – probably a couple of times a week. It was in one of these letters that I confessed my sexual attractions. But I think I made it sound like a thing of the past, and she had no idea about homosexuality at the time. It seemed like a non-issue to her.

In 1988 I enrolled in university to study sociology. I loved uni. And I soon learned where I could go for anonymous sex. I also got involved in Students for Christ… (mainly because I had a crush on the leader). At the Students for Christ autumn retreat in 1989 I sought deliverance prayer from my homosexuality. I really thought that my prayers were answered, and soon after that I came out to my Dad. By coming out, I mean I confessed that I had struggled with homosexuality, but that God had delivered me from it. That was the only time I ever talked to him about it.

In 1990, I became engaged. I did my best to avoid being too physical with my fiancé – I really wasn’t interested. As a youth leader, it was easy to simply say we had to wait until marriage. I never really admitted that, in spite of loving her in almost every way, nothing about being with her ever turned me on sexually. It was also in 1990 that I discovered the bathhouses in Darlinghurst. My life was too busy, with work, youth group, and studying, to actually experiment in these places more than once… but suddenly I was aware of a whole gay culture apart from the anonymous sex I had experienced at school.

We were married in 1991, in Canada. We had planned to move to Australia soon after that, but now, 18 years and three children later, we are still in Ontario. In many ways I am very happily married. I did indeed make a good choice for a wife! We are in a small city away that has no gay community to speak of, so the temptation to act out only really came up during times when I had to go to Toronto or other larger cities alone. I had at times met other gay men in the city we lived in, but after one or two encounters I would cut off the relationship, deciding that my marriage and my faith was more important than sex. These times were always accompanied by many tears of remorse, prayers of repentance, and feelings of victory in Christ when it was over. I felt that eventually, with Jesus’ help, I would become “more than a conqueror”.

The internet was another issue. When we first had access to the internet in 1995, I soon learned how to access gay porn. I was addicted. And I learned how to hide it. I was stupid enough to print some pictures, and my wife found them a couple of times. I would admit my sin, “repent,” and stop looking for porn online… for about two weeks. So my life became a cycle of going to church, worshipping, looking at porn, masturbating, occasionally having sex with my wife, and about every six months finding a way to get to a gay bathhouse for the real thing.

Until 2003.

But you’ll have to read part two for what happened next.

2 Responses to “My story, Part One: Faith and Sexuality in Conflict”

  1. Charlotte J Says:

    I am reading this and I can’t help but cry. I was married to a gay man for sevearl years. It hurts me to think he probably thought the same way about me that you do about your wife. I was a good wife to him, and he knew it. Yes, there is more to a marriage than sex, but I decided to “let him go” then have one or both of us sneak around looking for the fulfilment we could not give each other.

    That being said, THANK YOU for your blog! People need to hear this side of the story. Why do people stay in relationships when they are not sexually compatible? How does one wrestle with sexuality with family, faith, and community. I am straight and trying to figure it out. Once again, thank you.

  2. throughthestorm Says:

    Thanks Charlotte. A lot has changed since I last blogged. Your note has me thinking about blogging again! I moved out about eight weeks ago, and my wife is still feeling that deep rejection that is unavoidable in this situation. Yes, I believe people need to hear this side of the story. My hope is that the church will realize that the pain that encouraging gay men and women to marry causes is not worth it.

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