I grew up in the 1980s and 90s fully aware of the fact that I was only sexually attracted to other women. At the time, there was a lot less freedom to talk openly about sexuality, and I’m glad that things have changed and people like me can now, generally, find others who will listen to us compassionately and not be horrified by our ‘gayness’.
I became a Christian at university in the mid-90s and was ‘out’ right at the start. I can honestly say that none of that hugely diverse group of young Christians from different backgrounds – not one – judged me, rejected me or saw the need to make me straight. They were much more concerned with loving me, introducing me to the wonderful person of Jesus, and sharing the adventure of following him with me.
Right from the start, I approached the Bible with an intellectual and spiritual honesty as I wanted to understand what it said and what it meant for my life, however costly. I came to the conclusion that the only right context for sexual expression is in a marriage between one man and one woman. This clearly had big implications for me (and straight single people, married people attracted to someone who isn’t their spouse, and so on). I’m so grateful for all the friends and church leaders over the years who have supported me, prayed with me and helped me to live my best life in line with my deeply held faith convictions.
There are some well-meaning people whose narrative forces them to conclude that I’m repressed and unhappy, but they’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m not! And that’s where my deep concern about the trajectory of the conversion therapy conversations lies.
I, like the vast majority of people, think that any coercive, manipulative or violent ‘treatment’, therapy, or attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation is dreadful and shouldn’t be allowed to happen. My heart goes out to those who have been on the receiving end of harmful practices that have sought to change them in this way.
I want the freedom to be authentically me – to bring my sexuality (and my whole life) under the lordship of Christ and enjoy a wonderful life in him.
But this is a world away from same-sex attracted Christians like me (and there are a lot of us) being able to have the prayer and support that we ask for in order to live a biblically faithful life. I want the freedom to be authentically me – to bring my sexuality (and my whole life) under the lordship of Christ and enjoy a wonderful life in him. I find it deeply ironic and sad that many straight, non-Christian legislators think that they are somehow protecting me and many others like me by restricting our freedoms in such a drastic way. I find it even sadder that fellow Christians are joining in.
I’ve found the Christian community to be the place where I’ve been able to be honest about my sexuality and where I’ve received the welcome and love that I was longing for. I would be devastated if that love, welcome, prayer and support were denied to fellow same-sex attracted Christians.