I often talk with our readers about YOB, as they often reach out with questions or ask for help. They bemoan how alone and isolated they feel in a world that doesn’t seem to understand or truly love them how they want.
The primary thing I often encourage our readers to do is seek out community with fellow “Side B” men (those who hold to a traditional belief on marriage/sexuality), be it through YOB and our YOBBERS group, the greater Side B world like Revoice, and other private online groups.
Half the time they go for it wholeheartedly; the other half, they are skeptical.
Why would I want to talk with other Christians who are also attracted to men? Wouldn’t there just be a temptation for us to have sex? How would that benefit me? I just want to fit in with my local church community and be accepted by “normal” men.
These are legit concerns. Indeed, is not a little backwards — and perhaps more tempting — to meet with other men like me?
The responses don’t just go like this, though. I’ll sometimes talk with guys who give these Side B communities a try only to back away and basically say, “Oh, I don’t really need this because I have plenty of community in my church.”
These same people come back going, “Aaaah someone please help! All my friends are dating or getting married and I’m all alone with no one to talk to!”
I think that response greatly illustrates why communities like this are so needed for guys like us. Of course, I don’t mean to belittle people if they truly do enjoy great community in their churches, small groups, or local communities.
If you have such community, that’s great! What a blessing. I wish I had that; in fact, that is sort of a goal for my life.
I’ve indulged so much in YOB and the broader Side B community, but I feel a longing for acceptance in the greater Christian world where I have close relationships with straight men — if I can find the cool ones who are willing.
In a time when gay people sadly get rejected or ignored by their church communities, it’s an unbelievable blessing to find accepting Christian communities. If you have that, that’s wonderful. Gives me hope to know that such great churches with great straight people indeed exist.
As great as it is to have straight Christian friends who love and accept you as you are, they’re never going to fully understand. It’s through no fault of their own, of course, especially when they’re making such commitments to listen and understand.
They’ll simply never know what same-sex attraction is like unless they’ve lived it.
In YOB and other Side B communities, we’ve all lived it. To talk with others who have gone through such similar emotions and experiences can be incredibly liberating and beautiful. Camaraderie naturally grows from shared feelings and happenings.
It’s like talking to veterans. I’m not a veteran and have never experienced war combat (closest thing for me is watching Band of Brothers). I could talk to a veteran and empathize as best as I can, but I will never truly understand his lived experience.
Veterans often form their own groups and communities — not to discriminate themselves from the rest of the world but to be among people who understand.
Our community is like that, too; in fact, it’s like a family.
These past few years I’ve grown such a huge family, far beyond my biological one. It’s like I have cousins and, yes, brothers living in cities all over the world — family who would offer me a couch if ever I passed through town.
That is an incredible feeling.
Now about that pesky possibility of things turning sexual among this family — well, I’m not gonna say it’s not a risk. It can happen; truth be told, I’ve heard it happen. But those seem more like isolated incidents than the norm.
From my experience, times with my brothers have been wonderful, especially if we’ve established boundaries and stuck to them. That’s the important thing. Boundaries should always be set before and during interactions with other guys in this community, and the results have spoken for themselves.
Ultimately, you are meeting men who share the same beliefs and aspirations for their sexualities and wish to live them out. It’s different than, say, meeting secular gay men who hold less standards for their sexuality.
If you have community and intimate relationships in your church and among straight people, then celebrate it as a blessing; it can be hard for many to find in this day and age.
But here are my main reasons for also pursuing friendship and community with other Side B Christians:
- As already mentioned, you’re meeting believers with similar attitudes and beliefs and shared experiences.
- There’s less chance of your bros dating, running off with a girl, and not having any time for you.
- In my experience it’s ridiculously easier to click and make friends with fellow SSA/gay Christian men than straight men.
I can understand if joining YOB or the greater Side B community might not be quite your thing; it can be overwhelming, that’s for sure. Or maybe you don’t entirely agree with some things.
At the bare minimum, however, you should find a few men in your circle so you have people to talk to amid your struggles.
We’re all in this together, and we need to stick together and help our movement grow. Hundreds, if not thousands of men still struggle with their faith and sexuality in isolation.
They need help, and all of us together can do it.
Have you joined any Side B communities, inside or outside YOB, or have you been hesitant about it? If you currently experience such community, what have been the primary benefits? Do you have a strong local church community?