Over two years ago, I told my parents about my struggle with same-sex attraction. Putting words to the secret I had kept locked up for nearly twenty years proved to be a pivot point in my love life.
Two men of different ages (John, 67, and Charlie, 22) put questions to each other about what singleness has meant to their life and what it means to them now.
Jeanette writes in this article of how, in her early years, shame weighed upon her and left her feeling isolated. Later she came to see herself through Jesus' eyes and this liberated her from this most crushing of emotions.
“Being single sucks!” That was the mantra I had for a long time. I’m in my early thirties with 2 brothers, 1 niece and 5 nephews. Everyone in my immediate family was happily married by the age of 22. I am the black sheep. Your thirties is that time of life when everyone seems to be getting married and you seem to be waving goodbye to them all from your dusty shelf. What do I have to look forward to?
Choosing celibacy over same-sex attraction is a good thing according to God's infallible word. For me personally choosing celibacy was like a bereavement. Saying "Bon voyage" to my sexual expression and identity, the hope of finding a long term partner and physical intimacy. Feeling that something I loved was being taken away from me. For a number of years I couldn't help but experience this as a major loss.
I am only too aware of the painful experiences many TFT members have endured from fellow believers because of their sexuality. TFT has done much in its 40 years to decrease stigma in the church, but we would all agree that there is further to go. Here I share some positive experiences of being included by the church, hopefully to show what can be done when we aspire to inclusion.
In our culture people still assume everyone wants a husband or wife, or at least a partner. The majority view is that being in relationship is preferable to being single. We often refer to people as happily married. But when did you last hear someone described as happily unmarried? Sadly, this is a foreign concept even in the Church. This piles pressure on unmarried believers and particularly those who face same-sex temptations, for whom heterosexual marriage may never be viable.
I’ve always been pretty open about my struggles with sexuality, so I was up front from the start when I arrived at my church 9 years ago. In those days, there were only a few of us and we met in the minister’s house, so it was very easy to get to know people and build positive relationships.
Where to start…my name is Rob and I’m now 27 years old, so cue mid-life crisis! Although I'm not from a Christian background I did grow up in a loving family with a nice upbringing. I listened intently to Gospel messages when I was 10 years old and started going to the church youth group and other services. I experienced God's love and started to grow in faith.
My first memories of attraction and sexual feelings as a child were towards guys. I didn't realise I was 'gay' at the time as I didn't know what that word meant and had only ever heard that term used in negative ways.