My younger brother Brad graduated high school one year after me, and both he and his “girlfriend” decided to attend my college. He shared a dormitory room with me his freshman year.

I don’t know if Brad actually succeeded in having gay sex in high school, but he definitely did in college. He continued keeping up the appearance of an opposite-sex relationship while secretly throwing himself into a very destructive promiscuous life of sexual encounters with other guys, often anonymously.

I discovered my brother’s sexuality even though he tried to keep it from me.

Back in the days before cell phones were common, we shared one wall phone in our shared dorm room. One time I heard the phone ring in the middle of the night, and I got up to answer it. When I picked up the phone, I recognized the voice of Jeremy who lived in our same dormitory. My voice sounded like Brad’s, so Jeremy thought I was Brad and asked me for sex in very graphic, almost poetic words which I will not repeat here.

I firmly shouted back at him, “You have the wrong number!” and hung up immediately.

I had just intercepted a “booty call” meant for my brother! There was absolutely no doubt now that Brad was having sex with other guys. I was faced with a decision: would I show Brad love or would I distance myself from him because of a booty call?

I wound up telling Brad that I’d intercepted an obscene phone call from someone who sounded like Jeremy. This was my hint to Brad that I knew everything he was doing with guys.

Embarrassed, Brad just remained silent. You have to understand the pattern of communication in our family — we never talked about sexual sin directly aloud. Instead, we would drop hints and talk in a kind of code that we understood while also giving us the ability to say “I never said that” or “he never told me,” if we wanted.

Brad and I never actually talked about his gay sex until years later when he was publicly outed as gay.

This is where I started seriously hurting Brad. I hope I never repeat that failure again with anyone else! Brad needed me to be direct and compassionately talk through this situation confidentially. I should have told him about my own sexual issues and let him know I understood what was happening, allowing him to open up to me if he wanted.

Instead, I just dropped hints, put him down, and cut myself off from him. I regret that I took the easy way out instead of initiating that difficult conversation with him.

At that time in my life, I was still very serious about following Jesus Christ. Also, I believed (as I still do) that gay sex is sin. I knew if I stayed with Brad I would be tempted to flirt with his gay friends, so I left the dorm and Brad and moved in with a group of Christian guys from my church.

To be continued…

Have you ever experienced a situation where you suspected or knew a brother or dear friend was struggling and didn’t know how to respond? In this proverbial or literal “booty call” decision, did you take “fight” or “flight”?

* Photo courtesy kdigga, Creative Commons.

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