As usual, I know that this probably won’t be a popular opinion, which is exactly why I’m writing about it. I want to be able to talk about the things that are seemingly unspeakable, at least for “respectable” Christians.
Now, to be fair, a lot of people don’t like the term gay, and that’s totally fine. When I came out to my parents, they adamantly voiced their opinions against that label. I think at one point they outright told me that I wasn’t gay. I think I probably made some sort of face at them, but then decided not to say anything more about it because it didn’t matter. It was okay. Regardless of what they wanted to call it, that’s what I was: same-sex attracted, gay, whatever. It all really means the same thing.
What I want to talk about is why I personally don’t like the term same-sex attraction.
To me, that hyphenated three word term just sounds and feels too clean, too sterile, too medical. It screams, “I have a condition!” It screams that there’s something wrong with you, something that needs to be fixed, and I don’t like that.
I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t have a disease or a condition. I don’t need to be healed.
What I need is Jesus, and that doesn’t mutually entail that I will be changed. And that’s okay.
All of that being said, I also understand where people are coming from when they prefer to use the term same-sex attraction. They don’t want to associate themselves with sin. They don’t want to tarnish Jesus’ name by putting an adjective in front of the word ‘Christian.’ And there are a multitude of other good reasons that people don’t call themselves gay Christians. I totally understand that.
But I also want to give you some of the reasons that I do say that I’m a gay Christian.
Contrary to what some people will argue, I do believe that being gay is part of your identity. And some will say that you shouldn’t ever identify with a sin, because we don’t say ‘I’m a lustful Christian’ or ‘I’m a lying Christian,’ but I think we can all agree that being gay or struggling with same-sex attraction, whatever your preferred terminology may be, is so much different than those other things. It affects the way that you see the world, and it affects you on a day to day basis. It honestly colors every single moment of your existence in my opinion.
And again, some people may say that I’m identifying too much with my core sin, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m being real and honest with myself.
In my experience, a lot of people who choose to use the term same-sex attraction are people who are really dissatisfied with their sexuality. They want it to change and they wish that they were different. And it honestly is a struggle for them every day.
And in my opinion, I think it’s because they’re trying to change a part of who they are. There is nothing wrong with being gay or being attracted to people of the same sex. There isn’t. It isn’t sinful. God didn’t make a mistake with you. He knew that this was going to be the way that you are from the very beginning, and He doesn’t need you to change who you are.
For this reason, I think that people who use the term same-sex attraction are trying to push away a part of themselves. It seems to me like they’re trying to distance themselves from their “sin,” and I think that’s where the agony comes in. Because let’s be real, whatever you happen to call it, it’s really the same thing. If you’re gay or same-sex attracted, you’re a guy who likes other guys or you’re a girl who likes other girls. That’s the way that it’s going to be, and using a different term just seems to be a way of subtly denying who they really are, something that can make dealing with that even harder than it already is. How can you expect to work through your life and situations that may arise when you can’t even admit to yourself who you are because it sounds dirty or worldly or sinful?
For me, being able to say that I’m a gay Christian was honestly one of the most liberating things for me, and I think that God is okay with that, because He sees the heart. It enabled me to really face my sexuality and everything that came along with it. It also enabled me to see more of God for who He is, realizing that He still loves me no matter what, that He doesn’t need me to change who He made me to be in order to follow Him. It doesn’t matter that I like guys while most other Christian guys like girls. That doesn’t matter to Him. I mean, being straight doesn’t matter to Him. God is not a sexual being. Gay, straight, bisexual, it doesn’t matter to Him. What matters to Him is our hearts and our intentions and our faith, because nowhere in the Bible does it say that being a Christian also entails being straight. Take a look. It doesn’t say that anywhere. Being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive.
Finally, I think that using the term same-sex attraction can also boil down to a pride issue. I think that it takes a lot of humility to be able to say to yourself that you’re a gay Christian. I think it takes more to tell your Christian friends that you’re a gay Christian. Why?
It’s precisely because of the negative connotations and the stereotypes that spring to mind when Christian people hear the word ‘gay.’ They think of a life where everything is oversexualized and all you care about is sex, and that’s so far from the truth for many gay Christians. A lot of us are just like everyone else, we just happen to be guys who like guys or girls who like girls. But that’s still the picture that people tend to see.
And I also totally understand wanting to make sure that people know that isn’t the lifestyle that you’re living or that you’re not doing those kinds of things, but I would hope that if you’re close enough to someone that you’re telling them that you’re gay that they would already know that. I would hope that they wouldn’t make assumptions about you just because they’ve received some new information.
Thus, I think that in some cases, using the term same-sex attraction can be a way of putting ourselves above “those” gays, the ones that engage in “the lifestyle” and all of that. And I think that’s wrong. You are not above those people just because you are a Christian. You are not above those people just because you’re “fighting it.” You are in the same place as those people. You are not better than them and they are not worse than you. Period. I think that this is something that the church in general has to realize and really get through people’s skulls, because I think that this is a problem that originates in the church.
The modern church makes out homosexuality to be the mother of all sins, as if there’s nothing worse you could do than to be gay. They talk about it like “those gays” have a bigger problem to deal with than the rest of us. They talk about it like they are subhuman and beneath all of us Christians because they’re “living in sin” day in and day out, and honestly that kind of talk disgusts me. It’s horrible and unbiblical, and I think that the church needs to get out of that mentality as soon as it can, because it’s harmful for them and for the people that they’re talking down to.
Jesus never considered Himself to be above anyone during His time here on earth, and He was above them. He was literally God. He had every right to act like He was above them and to talk down to them, but He didn’t. He never talked about Himself like He was better than the people. He never isolated Himself from “the sinners.”
In fact, the exact opposite was true. Jesus was the one who had dinner with the tax collectors. He interceded for the woman caught in adultery. He was the one who was compassionate to the other criminal who was dying beside Him on another cross. Can’t we be more like that?
So, I realize that this post caught a little longwinded and veered a little off path, but that’s okay. These are the things that are coming from my heart and things that I believe God has been teaching me. But that’s why I don’t like the term same-sex attraction. I think that it makes it sound like we have a disease we need to be cured of. I think that using it prevents people from really coming to terms with their own identity with themselves and before God, and I think that it enables us to put ourselves in a place above other people, other broken people in need of Jesus.
I know there will probably be strong opinions on both sides of this, but I still want to know what you guys think. How do you feel about the term same-sex attraction? Do you use it? Why or why not?