Sexual Orientation Aside, a Valued Life is Best
- Friday, January 26, 2007
I have a friend named Jim, who many people would think of as gay, or at least bisexual. However, he doesn’t see himself that way. He is married but has been attracted to men for as long as he can remember. His wife is the only girl he has ever been with and he says, “She is still the only woman that turns me on.”
Although I am not Jim’s counselor, he and I often talk about matters of sexuality since I research and write in that arena and he lives it.
So since Jim is mainly attracted to guys, why isn’t he openly gay and why did he get married? For Jim, it is a primarily a matter of being true to his beliefs.
“I wrestled with the question of what my faith teaches, what do I believe, and no matter how many different ways I look at it, I cannot reconcile my sexual attractions with my faith,” he explained.
Ironically, his church and his religion did not always support his faith.
As an evangelical Christian, Jim looked to ministries designed to help him with his struggle. Although the groups were well-intentioned, he did not find much encouragement. Jim recalls,
A few years ago, when I was debating whether or not to "embrace" my homosexuality, I heard a radio broadcast from a ministry I trusted. I still highly respect them, even today. But I believe that they have blinders on, that allow them to see homosexuality in only one way. Anyway, I listened to the broadcast on homosexuality, complete with some very moving testimonies. And then the host came on and said, essentially, that homosexuality was a sickness, and Jesus Christ was in the business of healing. Well, I've been a Christian since 1971, have asked God to take my attractions to men away so many times I've lost count, and still struggle with it.
It was a moment of complete hopelessness.
Despite many prayers and counseling sessions, Jim still felt bothered by his feelings. The alternative point of view was not attractive: perhaps God was unable to change him.
As a means to find help, he explored the reasons he was attracted to guys. “It didn’t help much. I know what all the theories say and I have been through counseling about that but I still am attracted to certain guys.”
“The theories” Jim is referring to is the oft-cited viewpoint among social conservatives that being homosexual, at least for men, stems from a lack of early bonding with one’s father. To be sure, Jim’s dad fit the stereotype.
“My relationship with my dad was very poor. Frankly, he was quite abusive. But it was so bad, that I never had any desire to bond with him, or repair anything.”
Although Jim’s life matches up well with predictions based on the common view, he does not think he is attracted to men because of his poor relationship with his father. He explains, “My brother and sister also were abused. Neither of them struggles with homosexuality, as far as I am aware.”
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