I just came across this article today from LifeSiteNews. It’s a beautiful story of conversion, of hope, and the transformation of a painful life by the grace of God.
Her story calls to mind parts of my own, where both she and I felt, (in her words), that “no one would ever truly love me. Not even God.” My poem Discarded reflects the way I felt most of my life: No one, no where, would–or could–ever find me worth loving. This belief seemed borne out in my life both from perceived (and real) rejection I received from nearly every woman towards whom I ever expressed interest.
The most painful moment of rejection in my life came with the first woman I ever really dated. I was 21, working at the Epcot Center as a musician and fell in love with a woman in the orchestra. I was elated to finally be dating someone, and with the infatuation so common with first loves, I thought “she was the one.” The relationship ended after about six weeks. She was spending a lot of time with a good female friend of hers, who she said had a lot going on in her life, and “needed her support.” She broke up with me, using that familiar line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Our summer at EpCot ended, and I lost touch with her.
When I found out a year later that she broke up with me to date that woman, it confirmed in my mind what I had already assumed: that is was me. This told me that my assumptions of how women perceived me actually fell short of the truth: I was so “unmanly” and undesirable to women, that a woman was preferable to me.
With the passage of time, I realized this was a lie that I was believing, and I can now look back on that moment and realize that she and I probably had similar wounds, though I wasn’t mature enough, or self-aware enough at the time to see it. All I felt was rejection, a rejection that I felt was well-founded because it was what I believed about myself already. Partly as a result of this, my already eroticized view of what I saw as an idealized hyper-masculinity went even further, contributing towards deepening my same-sex attraction, and it made me leery of asking another woman out, ever again.
We live in a cause and effect world. Though the common thinking today is that same-sex attraction is a normal variant of sexual desire, the Catholic Church wisely teaches that in all cases, there is a psychological* genesis which results in same-sex attractions. It’s hard for some to accept this teaching, but I believe that in teaching this truth about human sexuality, the Church honors and defends the dignity of the human person. In recognizing that in all cases where same-sex attractions exist, there is a disturbance in our psyche at some point, She is being truly compassionate and merciful.
The story from Life Site News describes how this woman, Lisa, suffered “multiple sexual assaults from a male neighbor before her tenth birthday” which “wreaked spiritual and emotional havoc on the little girl, dreadfully twisting her inner beauty, innocence, and purity. Shortly after being violated, Lisa began to trade her feminine dress and appearance for something more masculine. She cut her hair short and felt more comfortable wearing sneakers and jeans. She did not want to look like a pretty little girl anymore.”
This woman’s story shows in stark relief an example of how this “cause and effect” can take place. One naturally can’t construe from her particular story a universal story for all men and women who live with same-sex attraction, i.e., that all men and women living with same-sex attraction have been abused, but the broader picture is always the same: Same-sex attractions don’t just happen.
As the quote from John Paul II that I referenced from Love and Responsibility the other day states, “in the normal course of things” men and women find themselves manifesting a “certain natural predilection for, a tendency to seek, the opposite sex.” In all cases where our desires exist with a seemingly “natural” predilection towards the same-sex, we have left the “normal course of things,” and though the cause may not be as easily ascertained as in this woman’s situation of abuse, there is always a disturbance within our nature that leads us towards the disruption of our God-given sexual desires for the opposite sex. I think part of the ministry of the Church is to bring healing of those things which caused our same-sex attraction. For some, this will lead to a great diminishing of their same-sex attractions, as in the case of Lisa.
Some people might bristle at the portion of Lisa’s story, where she speaks of “being delivered from homosexuality”:
After Lisa was healed that night at the hotel, or “delivered from homosexuality” as she likes to put it, she believes that God restored her identity as a woman and set authentic feminine inclinations and desires within her.
“Now I desire the things that my partners did. I want to be held, taken care of, protected, talked to sweetly, and treated gently,” she said. “My identity is now intact and safe in the hands of Jesus, and that is how He created me to feel.”
When I think about those who desire to see their sexual attractions change, I like to talk less about “being delivered from homosexuality” than I like to talk about the possibility that our God-given sexuality can become more realized in our lives. For some who see their sexual attractions change, there may be a dramatic turn about of sexual attractions like this woman, but those moments are few and far between. In my experience, it seems that a complete elimination of same-sex attraction is more common in women, than for men, for a variety of complex reasons. I don’t know any men who’ve lost all attractions to the same sex, and I think it unwise to suggest that this should be the goal for anyone who is hoping for change–though for those who desire to possibly marry, I believe that in many cases, one can find a woman who helps us realize our God-given sexual complementarity. For those who would like to seek change, the goal should always be motivated by trusting in Divine Providence–may this cup pass, but even so, Thy will be done. Part of this is accepting it as God’s will if those changes never occur.
As for me, I don’t pray for this any longer. I don’t really find much duress at being attracted to men. It just is, and quite frankly, I can’t imagine what a life would be like not being attracted to men. The idea of dating a woman at this point in my life really gives me the heebie-jeebies too, but I hold out the possibility, however, that God could will that I marry a woman, since all men and women are made for the opposite sex. I am open to God’s will for me if He wants me to experience the fullness of what it means to be male, made for union with a woman. Perhaps he may want me to marry, and I refuse to shut that possibility off by calling myself gay. I trust in Him completely with regards to my future: if he wants me to marry, then I will find myself attracted to the woman He wills that I marry. I think that’s the best place to be.
Go read her story. It’s a beautiful one.