Good morning, Starshine, the earth says hello!

I’m new here, or at least as a contributor. I’ve been lurking around this site since I randomly stumbled upon YOB on Instagram, December of 2016!

I’m not exaggerating when I say YOB’s impact on my life has been incredibly massive, as I’ve binged blog posts and podcasts and been able to resonate with people about things I thought I was forlorn with.

The best part of it all has been meeting and e-meeting brothers. Brothers who have spoken so much life and hope into me, whether they know it or not. Near, far, wherever they are, I believe that my heart will never be alone.

After almost two-and-a-half years, I’m now glad to be able to share my stories, reflections, and lamentations about the topics of faith, homosexuality, and masculinity for other people like me lurking out there.

So, hey, you never know where the hashtags and Instagram’s explore feed can take you (P.S. connect with me on the Instagrams).

Now, onto serious business before Tommie regrets inviting me to contribute.

It’s Easter season around the time of this writing, and I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of the cross. Not just the meaning of the cross for the bigger picture of salvation for humanity, but also the tangible effects the cross has been having on me.

The Cross

My sexuality is an impediment, something that cannot be used by God for anything. All of it. It’s in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I perceive beauty. It should be something to be repressed, buried down a deep hole, never to see the light of day.

This is part of the internal monologue I kept having with myself growing up. I lived in fear and shame.
The cross was once a symbol of shame. A symbol for the epitome of sin. A wooden slab displaying the highest of transgressors, well deserving of their deaths.

One of the biggest lies I once believed was that my homosexuality was the epitome of sin. Being gay also meant being one of the highest of transgressors, well deserving of hell.

And it was not only about the things I chose to do or not to do; it was also in the way I stood, the way I sat, the way I hated sports, essentially my whole being.

My sexuality was my cross.

The Resurrection

“I’ve met a new person at church, and I want you to meet him!”
“Why?” I said.
“It looked like he was struggling with his faith and identity, so I recommended he talk to you!”
“Is he gay?”
“No, he’s straight, but you’re the best person I thought would be able to help him!”

This was a conversation I had with a friend recently. It was something really unexpected. How could I, a homosexual, speak life into a heterosexual (also read as a completely perfect human being)?

I guess there’s been a big change in my sense of self-worth and attitude toward life in these recent years. But I’ve never really realised the bigger extent of it until I had this conversation with my friend.

These days, the cross has a completely different meaning culturally. I see the symbol used in healthcare organisations, hospitals where people come to be healed and literally gain another chance in life.

The cross is now a symbol of hope, of new life.

Jesus is the Son of God who willingly offered himself for my sin, taking my place and dying on a cross, buried in a tomb, never to see the light of day — the turning point being that he did not stay there. On the third day, he rose again, defeating the power of death and now giving me the power to live life to the full.

Christ repurposed the meaning of a thing that was once a symbol of torture, shame, and judgment into something of hope, life, and love. And I bet he can do the exact same thing with my sexuality. He already has.

I am done letting the enemy, with the help of misplaced Christian culture, use my sexuality as a hindrance for anything, crippling me with fear and self-doubt, hindering me from embracing God’s plans and promises for my future.

My homosexuality, just like the cross, has been and is still being repurposed for the kingdom of God.

The Great Commission

I’ve been a Christian all my life, and I grew up knowing the cross and seeing God use other people’s real-life stories in many different ways. I was able to see God use things in my life as well, from my achievements to my failures — but definitely not with my sexuality.

However, over the years, my perspective changed without my even realising it. I guess it was just a natural fruit of walking with God, discovering my real identity in Christ every day, and realising what that exactly means in my practical, daily life.

Add to that my being in a new environment — and walking with God’s people. People who encourage me, hold my future in front of me, and don’t use my past or even my present against me.

I’ve had friends use my story to reach out to people who are struggling to see Jesus as a God of love because of Christianity’s hateful reputation in the secular world. I’ve used my “gay card” time and time again to unlock conversations and things in people’s hearts, things that straight people (also read as perfect human beings) find harder to access.

Ultimately, as a Christian, that is my mandate: to point people to Jesus and help them with their personal journeys.

And if I can use my sexuality to follow this mandate, eh di bongga!*

*meaning: “that would be fabulous!” in Filipino gay slang

How long have you been lurking around these ends of the interwebs? What does the cross and resurrection mean for you and your sexuality? Have you ever used your or other people’s “gay card” to reach out to people? Can you believe?

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that others who struggle with their sexuality and faith may find their way forward as you seem to have. I love the perspective that you bring to the table! Looking forward to reading more from you! Blessings!

  • Thanks for sharing, Daniel. I find my testimony of my Savior and my experience being a celibate gay Christian to be very close to each other. It’s how I know Jesus and his I’ve come to understand just a small part of His ways.
    I’ve come to see my same-sex attraction as a blessing…a sort of superpower. I find that the love I give and receive to other men of faith (especially gay men) is representative of the love Jesus has for us.
    The Savior’s death and resurrection is a symbol of new life. Well…the new life He is currently giving me isn’t a heterosexual one. It’s a “repurposing” of my homosexuality to bring myself and others to Him and to love in the unique ways in which I was designed.

      • I love how you describe how God uses our redeemed sexuality, that it is “representative of the love Jesus has for us…“repurposing” of my homosexuality to bring myself and others to Him and to love in the unique ways in which I was designed.”

    • Alex, I love how you describe how God uses our redeemed sexuality, that it is “representative of the love Jesus has for us…“repurposing” of my homosexuality to bring myself and others to Him and to love in the unique ways in which I was designed.”
      I appreciate the imagery. I tried to “pray the gay away” for years. Now, I see that God uses our redeemed sexuality to be an example of brotherly love.

  • Daniel, thanks for such an encouraging post brother. I’d say welcome to YOB but at over 2 years I think you’ve been here longer than I have. The things you wrote about dealing with doubt and darkness are so true. It’s a crazy journey that brings us to find that there’s life through taking up our own cross as we follow Jesus. Issues with sexuality are a pretty direct route to get us to that place as we face things. Now I’m thankful for that, despite the detours.
    Thanks for the tune too. . . it’s bongga 🙂 Have a great Easter, everyone!

  • This post was everything I wanted it to be (and more) for your first post. So glad to have you aboard, Daniel. Excited for the new perspectives you bring to this community!
    I can’t even believe.

  • Daniel,
    Welcome and thanks for such a thoughtful post! Because we know each other so well offline I know that your words and actions match the sincerity of this post.
    When I hear of the cross I certainly remember that my sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did. That makes me want to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him!
    Our sin is no different than our straight friends’ sins in that we all need to repent and believe. God is so merciful!

  • Well said Daniel!
    For most of my life, I also viewed my sexuality as an impediment. The cross was where church folk told me to take my sexuality and “Lay it down. Let go, and let God!”
    But he didn’t take it away…
    What you said here :
    “However, over the years, my perspective changed without my even realising it. I guess it was just a natural fruit of walking with God, discovering my real identity in Christ every day, and realising what that exactly means in my practical, daily life.”
    I pray that the church can see this… That we are redeemed sons of God. And that Christ is still at work in us, that his saving power extends to our sexuality as well. Over the course of days, weeks, months, etc., we will see God continuing to make us more like him.
    We are salt and light (Mt 5:13-16), we can’t hide away how God has worked in us (including our sexuality), and we can potentially be special witnesses to the Gospel, particularly towards those struggling with faith and identity.
    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
    Philippians 1:6 ESV

  • Daniel! I’m so glad you’re joining the blogging team! I love your sense of humor and I’m looking forward to hearing your stories and more of your perspective. Welcome!
    I have totally used coming out to leverage people toward vulnerability and intimacy. Vulnerability invites vulnerability, so when you open up to (mature) people, they’ll usually open up to you. I’m not sure where it stops being bold and starts being manipulative, but it’s certainly possible to become skilled at playing the coming out card.

  • Mangandag umaga, kumusta ka? Good morning…how are you? I read with much interest your post and resonated with you, having been to Manila once to visit a friend who was working with an organization called Tulay Sa Pag Unlad. I first went to Hong Kong and visited that lovely place (didn’t know anyone there) and then on to Manila. The people there were wonderful. I remember people pointing at me and laughing, saying “Gigante Americano” and coming up to touch my skin. Also, everyone said, “Hi Joe”. I also took the Pantranco bus to visit lovely Baugio City.
    Anyways, welcome here and I look forward to seeing more of your posts. Sorry to not write much as I am faced with being a caregiver right now and am short of words, I am afraid. Salamat Po…thank you.

  • Awesome post, Daniel. Thank you for sharing your inner monologue/wrestling. I know what you mean about believing my sexuality was the epitome of sin. It took many years to uproot this lie and heal from the damage it did in my life. I love your analogy to the cross — that which was a symbol of shame is now a symbol of hope. In a way, my sexuality has become something similar — a reminder of the hope I have in Christ and the calling He placed in my life to spread His Gospel.
    Looking forward to so much more from you! Thanks for sneaking out from the corner of the inter webs. 🙂

  • Daniel Marquez

    I'm a mid-twenties human being born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and I'm currently residing and soul-searching in London. Having grown up in an American-influenced Asian background and now living in a European environment, I try to bridge the gap between cultures, sexes, and exes. I'm an Enneagram type 747-400 and Myers-Briggs type ICBA. My love languages are Quality GIF's and Words of Memery.

    See All Posts
    >