Why I Don’t Call Myself A Gay Christian

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So, everyone here has probably heard the term “gay Christian” at some point. If not, then surprise! The term comes from someone who identifies as a Christian, yet also accepts their sexuality as gay.

Many people have a hard time with this idea of being both gay and Christian at the same time. It can cause confusion and a dilemma amid their emotional, psychological, and spiritual states. Others may finally “accept” who they are and put those two terms together, gay and Christian, and go on with their lives.

Other Christians, though, have a hard time with this gay label, because they see this identification as being part of “the world.” The Bible tells us not to be part of the world, because trying to be part of the world is sinful.

I bet most of us struggling with same-sex attraction have been in that area of conflict within ourselves, of asking ourselves the question:

“Should I accept my sexuality and call myself gay? And if I do, should I shun my Christian beliefs or somehow still be a devout Christian?”

I mean, I’ve dealt with this problem before! Throughout my 10 years of being a Christian, both the good and bad years, I’ve gone back and forth many times — from the point of saying “No, I’m not gay, but I’m a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction” to “I’m a Gay Christian” and everywhere in between.

All I can say is — it’s not easy!

I don’t like being like everyone else — both in the Christian community and the LGBT community. Okay, that’s a lie. I kind of like being like everyone else, but only in small doses. But still, I love being different from everyone else!

Growing up in my faith, I always wondered that if it ever came down to calling myself a gay Christian, would I actually do it?

The obvious answer now is no, as you can see from the title! But why?

When someone doesn’t call himself a gay Christian and instead decides to call himself an “ex-gay Christian” or “Christian struggling with SSA” or just “Christian,” he usually uses Scripture to back up his decision. The typical answer could be quoting Scripture like Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

or 1 Corinthians 6:11:

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Yada-Yada-Yada, typical Bible Scripture stuff. You guys get what I mean.

But what convinced me of not taking the title of gay Christian and basically just calling myself Christian comes from the passage in Luke 12 where Jesus is talking to the Sadducees about whether there’s gonna be marriage in heaven. He says in verse 25:

For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Weird, right?! There’s also 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, where Paul is talking about how our earthly bodies are like a tent that’s gonna be destroyed, and we have an eternal body waiting for us, yet we yearn and groan for it!

When the Bible talks about heaven and our new bodies, I’m convinced just to let go of the combined title gay Christian and just take on the Christian. Yeah, I guess it still goes back to Scripture talking about transformation and that we are renewed — there’s no way around it.

But the way I see it, when we die and be present with the Lord in heaven soon after, God isn’t gonna call us His little gay Christians; He’s gonna call us His children! His good and faithful servants!

With this mindset, I’m already practicing to be called by my God-given name!

In His eyes, I am a follower of His Son, I’m a disciple, etc. And my job is to share the Gospel to everyone and anyone who is willing to listen and make disciples to all nations!

Where do you land on the “gay Christian” label? Have you gone back and forth over time?

* Photo courtesy tk_five_0, Creative Commons.

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  • Karl Jacob

    For me, I’m not really likely to identify myself as a “gay Christian” less because I’m averse to the term but more because to me those two terms aren’t all that connected. I’m a Christian. And if “gay” is the clearest way for me to express who I’m naturally attracted to, I’ll say that I’m gay. Among some groups, though, that’s not the best choice of words, so I’d avoid it. I’d say, though, that being a Christian has influenced who I am a whole lot more than being gay, so making those words equal by putting them together just doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong (Wesley Hill comes to mind sas dome

    • I agree Karl. I resolved a few years ago that I couldn’t either. Perhaps it’s a semantics issue. Perhaps not. But I see a vast difference between someone who is “gay” and a homosexual. The very breakdown of the word “homo-sexual” is simple: homo -1 or same, sexual – self explanatory. This is simply a person sexually attracted to the same sex. “Gay” (a more modern term) is one who has accepted that attraction as identify and made it central to their lives. Biblically speaking, when “homosexual” is mentioned and forbidden it’s the modern term “gay” not the attraction/temptation lest the bible contradict itself and it doesn’t. All that to say “gay Christian” in my opinion speaks of two identities which you can’t have unless there is multiple personalities. Lol. So for me “Christian homosexual” is more accurate. Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better? Maybe so. Either way I’m confident in my identity as a Son of God as primary. I do say I’m “gay” depending on the context of who I’m talking to like one of you guys here but not in general. I’d never say that publicly.

  • Ashley Lavergne

    Well, being that I’m actually not “out” publicly but only to groups like these and to certain close people this isn’t something I really have deal with on a daily basis. I personally do not like to “identify” but use the words as the adjectives they are. So at times for communication purposes I do say “I’m bisexual,” but I just see that as describing my attractions. I rather say that I am attracted to both men and women instead of bisexual. I don’t say that I’m a gay Christian though. I also think that saying one “accepts” their sexuality depends on whose speaking. When I say that I mean that I’ve come to accept that this is part of my reality as part of my fallen nature and I’m not going to continue saying that I’m het but attracted to women because that was a more damaging mind set for me. I only actually talk about it when necessary and in places like this. But I dont like it when people try to say how everyone should describe themselves. I look at who I’m talking to – what will this person understand better? Gay, bi, SSA? I want to coin bisexually attracted – feel like it fits me more. So even though I don’t identify or whatever I don’t mind using the word gay or bi to describe myself or if anyone else were to do so

  • naturgesetz

    Like others here, I’m not out publicly irl, so I’d never call myself gay, homosexual, or same sex attracted (GHSSA) irl. OTOH, using my pseudonym here on the internet, I am out because I want to communicate directly with GHSSA. There, I use the term homosexual in my blog title, because I think it’s necessary to reach my intended audience, so I can do my little bit to help people, gay and straight realize that there is no contradiction between the gay “orientation” and Christianity and that the Christian Church welcomes GHSSA.

    Frankly, the idea that we can’t call ourselves gay because our sole identity is as Christian has never made sense to me. We can call ourselves American; we can call ourselves male; we can call ourselves Republican or Democrat; we can call ourselves vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore; we can call ourselves white, black, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian; we can call ourselves by our job title or field of work. Usually when we use those descriptors, it isn’t important for the topic of conversation to identify ourselves simultaneously as Christian, but we don’t think we are somehow contradicting our Christianity when we use them. When it feels relevant to what we’re talking about, it makes perfect sense to me to say what is in fact true: that we’re GHSSA Christians, using whichever term will best convey the reality to the hearers. JMO

  • Brian

    I personally do away with sexual labels. I don’t see the need to center my life and identify around a stupid label for my sexuality. And even though I am attracted to men, I’ve never desired to have sex with men so I kinda walk the edge of labels in my personality too.

  • mike

    I think what you call yourself is important both now and will be after you die! I’m glad for this good post. Thanks Matthew!
    In Acts 11:26 they were first called Christians possibly by the pagans first. But they didn’t object. Why? Because of Gal. 3:28 where when you become a follower of Jesus thus Christian you lose all and gain the oneness of Christ both now and into eternity. Thus you are no longer a Jew, or a Gentile, nor any other class in society like slave or free, nor even male or female in terms of your Kingdom identity as God sees you. In fact you lose your very self to gain Christ! And whatever self used to be self is not now (thank goodness)!
    Being in the Kingdom of God is foremost a gift and to be treasured. This is opposite of what we find today. The adjective preceding Christian is more cherished in today’s culture. I’m sad about that…

  • Great post, Matt! I’ve swung back and forth over this label over the years, so I understand people who embrace the gay Christian label as well as those who hate it. I don’t fault either one. The label has grown increasingly uncomfortable for me to embrace any longer, though, the more energy I devote to YOB and the more I share my story and connect with my other brothers here. As much as I wanted “gay” to “fit” me, it just doesn’t. It never did. I’m a Christian, I’m a human, and I’m in progress. Looking forward to that day in Paradise you foreshadowed, Matt. What a day it will be.

  • Mark Buzard

    Good thoughts. I don’t like the term gay Christian….. it is an identity and an identity that we shouldn’t want attached to us. Plus if you tell someone you are a gay Christian, people will assume you are living the gay lifestyle, unless you say you’re a gay celibate Christian, which sounds weird.

  • Joshua Johnson

    Fantastic reading.

  • Eddie

    Matt, I am so glad you posted on this very subject. Kudos!

    Speaking for myself, I tend to take a page out of Daniel Mattson’s playbook who doesn’t call himself a “gay” Christian (for more details, Google his “First things” post on this subject). And neither do I. As I mentioned in previous posts, I don’t subscribe to the idea of being called “gay” because, like Daniel, it brings too many misconstrued suppositions to people’s minds. For this very reason, I’m hesitant to bring the subject of my SSA to my father’s attention, essentially “coming out of the closet” to him. In his mind, he thinks I’m turning my back to him, to the church and to God. Therefore, I might as well be considered “dead” to him. A slow death perpetuated by the isolation and loneliness we’re all too familiar with here.

    Your position Matt to put “Christian” as first and foremost is truly admirable without the need to attach any labels that may distract or obscure from the focus on Jesus or the Heavenly Father. Additionally this is reinforced based on what you’ve spoken about your Navajo culture as homosexuality is quite unwelcomed there. You’re keeping the focus on Christ and the kind of unconditional love that Jesus demonstrates to others. Bravo!

  • Brady Cone

    Thanks for this post Matthew! I completely agree with you. As a Christian guy with SSA, and in ministry helping guys with SSA, I don’t think that a Christian accepting the identity of gay is healthy. I do understand why some guys do it. But, I don’t think that it’s the best thing for guys who are trying to live a holy and pure life.

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  • Ernest

    I respect those who do choose to use the term as well as those who do not. It took a long time for me to internally accept my attraction,
    let alone say it out loud, much less actually tell anyone (having only told 3 people), so I’m still learning to learn about dealing with this part of myself, including in using the word and how it relates to my Christian faith. And while I am gay, it isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) the entirety of who I am. I also have/am also my heritage, ethnicity, nationality, omnivore, hair colour, and more, but firstly am a Christian.

    The usefulness of putting any of those can be put in front of Christian to make me a […] Christian will depend on the context and audience
    in which it is used. For some people, a gay Christian would mean nothing more than someone whose sexual attraction is to other males and is a Christ follower, a purely factual statement. For others, that term is an oxymoron. In any discussion of this (if I were to ever discuss this), I would try to be conscious of how my words may be interpreted and be particularly conscious of the language I use to properly convey what I actually mean. At the moment, I think it would be rare that I would use the term, more instinctively thinking that I am Christian and also gay (and also enjoys reading books, watching films, and hanging out with friends).

  • C. Marque

    This has been resonating with me lately. Good stuff!

  • Joseph Bowman

    I agree with so much of what is being said here. I choose to say that I am same-sex attracted. My identity is in Jesus Christ. My identity is not in my sexual orientation. Sometimes the word “gay” is easier, I admit. I am very much “out of the closet” and to many of my non-Christian friends, they would use the word “gay”… but I don’t. This is great discussion.

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  • I’d have to completely agree, Matthew. In fact, I even have a personal issue with the whole “ex-gay” label as well! It has to do with the biblical theology I hold to, with regard to how God created us.

    In Christ, I stand upon the belief that God never created any of us to be “homosexual.” Regardless of any beliefs as to how our SSA and/or resulting homosexual behaviors do come about in this life, they are nonetheless strictly a product of our human environment and personal choices, in this life!

    So, if we were never created a homosexual, then how could we be ex-gay? I mean, we certainly can’t be “ex” to something that we never were in the first place!

    It’s basic spiritual truth, just as basic algebra says,
    “If a is equal to b, and b is equal to c, then a must also be equal to c.”

    I guess another might argue that it’s all semantics… But it is theologically imperative semantics in relating how we view God, our world, other people, and ourselves.

    Since our identity as Christians is found in Christ Jesus, I am very careful in the ways I think of myself, and in the ways I also think of other people—whether they are followers of Jesus, or not.