A blogger friend sent me a link to this coming out story on One Love (http://its-raining-men.blogspot.com/2008/02/growing-up-gay.html) with which I can identify in a number of ways. Certainly with the inner conflict the author struggled with in terms of religious belief versus who he really was. It is a sad and difficult struggle growing up gay - at least for me and many in my generation - even to this day. The following are some sections of the story that are pretty much applicable to my life:
But during this period of adolescence, I never really thought about what I was. All the things that took place in the emotional-sexual realm were, admittedly, real and concrete to me: I experienced real feelings for other boys (love, infatuation, sexual attraction). But at the same time, on an "intellectual" level, I never confronted these feelings, and so I continued having them without worrying about them or trying to transform them in any way. They just were, and that was fine with me. While some opponents of homosexuality often claim that it is "unnatural," for me, my homosexual feelings were very natural indeed.
I was very attracted to quite a few boys which I only knew from having observed them around the school, and I also experienced two strong infatuations, involving two boys in my class. Of course, as before, all of this was kept very secret! . . . And I now gradually began to realize, on an intellectual level, what I was. Why did that take so long? I think because when one grows up and hears words like "gay" or "homosexual", one thinks of rather horrid people, who are disgusting, ugly, and immoral. But at this time, while I knew what I was, nobody else knew. And it would take some more years before I told anyone. The period that started about this time was, in a way, a fairly unhappy one. While outwards a success - on the inside, the conflict grew stronger. How could I reconcile my faith in God and the Bible with being attracted to other men?
Worrying about what society and others would think about me and trying to abide by the rules of an utterly corrupt Church. That's how I lived my life. In retrospect I now see that in many ways I threw away much of my life. I in no way regret having my three wonderful children and consider them perhaps my only real achievement in life. But I wish I had had the courage/strength to be true to myself much earlier. So much pain and self-hate could have been avoided. I truly hope that others benefit by learning from my mistakes.