This next chapter of my life, my middle school years of 11 to 13, was one of the most difficult times I have ever faced.
First, my father had to work longer hours and I rarely saw him. For some reason, I also started feeling emotionally isolated from my mother, brother, and sister. As a natural introvert, I tended to spend a lot of time alone anyway, but now I just didn’t feel like I had support from anyone even if I wanted to be more social. On top of all this, my parents had an argument with the leaders of our church; our family left, not going to any other church for years.
Amid this backdrop of isolation, I started to notice other guys. At first I just craved male friendship, but soon I felt a desire to look at the masculine features of the guys I saw.
I became obsessed. I would think about them constantly when I was not focused on school work, even fantasizing about becoming romantically intimate with them. I heard other guys talking about the sexual attraction they felt for girls, and then it hit me. I felt the same way toward guys that they felt toward girls.
Did that mean I was…gay…?
This realization of my first gay feelings brought a cascade of horrible, fearful, disappointing thoughts hitting me like a ton of bricks. All my hopes and dreams came crashing down in an instant.
I was not like other guys. I would never have the normal life, wife, and family I had dreamed about. Where I grew up, the worst possible bullying was reserved for gays. If anyone figured out my sexual feelings, I would be a constant target of the worst verbal abuse and possibly physical violence. I knew these first gay feelings would have to be kept totally secret or else I would suffer the most dreaded kinds of abuse from bullies.
I determined that I could trust no one with my gay issues. I had to work through my conflicted first gay feelings all on my own so there could be no possibility of a bully finding out.
Not only would I have to keep my mouth shut, I would have to go to great lengths to hide my feelings. I would force myself to look away from guys. I couldn’t be caught staring! I did whatever I could, taking great effort to appear masculine in the way I talked, walked, dressed, and gestured.
Probably the most painful part of this experience was the persistent fear that followed me around, the fear that I would somehow slip and do or say something that would reveal my shameful secret. The constant dread, vigilance, hiding, and deceiving required enormous emotional energy, and it took its toll.
I began to hate life and sunk into a tormented, depressed state. But I couldn’t go to anyone for support for fear that they would slip and reveal my secret. I understand now how gay teens can get so depressed that they attempt suicide.
Along with all these painful things was my same-sex attractions, which kept increasing. I greatly enjoyed my sexual fantasies and my quick glances at male bodies, I couldn’t imagine giving these up. I should have called out to God for help at this point, but I did not.
I believed the Bible clearly taught that gay sex was a sin, so I would be required to reject gay sex if I turned toward God. Instead, I put God out of my mind and tried to forget about Him, the Bible, and anything else Christian.
I determined that I so wanted a gay sexual relationship that I would go after it whenever I was free from my current circumstances. I craved a man to hold me, love me, and have sex with me. It became more important to me than anything else. I dreamed of growing up and moving to San Francisco or New York, somewhere I could be openly gay and go after a gay life.
In fact, that hope for future homosexual pleasure is what kept me from letting my depression sink to the level of self-harm.
As long as I had hope that I would one day permanently escape the “hell” of bullies and reach the “heaven” of a sexual relationship with another guy, I did not need to think about suicide or other self-harm.
Yes, I said it: hope for a future gay sexual relationship was keeping me from suicidal thoughts.
Do you remember experiencing your first gay feelings? Have you ever put your hope in the pleasure of a gay relationship? Did it satisfy you or disappoint you? Did you give into it or give up on it?
* Photo courtesy Lee Morley, Creative Commons.