Hey! I’m Drew, a middle-aged bisexual man in a mixed-orientation marriage with my wife of 17 years. Together we have two sons, one teen and one pre-teen. I love being outside and enjoying the beauty of creation. I’m also a movie geek — films that engage my emotions are the ones I like the best. My favorite parts of my vocations (social work and therapy, respectively) are the ones that allow me to be an active agent in God’s great healing and restoration mission for the human heart.

Let’s start with a little context. I’ve had a sense of being queer for as long as I can recall, and I’m currently 45. Growing up in a very conservative Christian homeschooling household, it’s not likely a surprise that I’ve also been a “hider” for as long as I can remember.

For over my first two decades, only one person was given an inkling of my tendencies toward sexual attraction for men. I’m technically bisexual, as I am attracted to my wife and enjoy relations with her, but my attractions skew mostly in the direction of men.

In my next two decades, I did a lot of soul-excavation and made a few close straight friends who know my story and embrace me as fully as they can. Still, something was missing. I had no friends who understood me experientially, who knew what it was like to be a mostly gay Christian man trying to walk in integrity with God, my wife, and myself.

Enter YOB in March of 2023 . . .

It’s difficult for me to express accurately what a miraculous, life-saving rescue Jesus is performing in my heart through YOB. Not to sound wispy or fairy-tale-ish, but finding and becoming part of YOB has literally been like a dream come true for me — and even more significantly, a dream of which I’d mostly given up.

Upon joining the YOBBERS community, I skipped the “lurking” phase that many have reported (mostly because of how starved I was for connection with others like me). I dove into the community headfirst and felt an almost instant connection with the other married YOBBERS. I began building several friendships through Discord chats, Zoom calls, and a handful of in-person interactions with local community members.

The sense of belonging I experience in this community has only been growing in the months since I’ve joined, as have the connections.

I learned about YOB’s annual camp retreat shortly after joining and had a deep desire and sense of destiny about attending. I bought my plane ticket and made my other reservations months in advance. Something told me the weekend would be a game-changer, a turning point, a moment of accelerated growth and healing in my journey.

I’m so grateful to say that I wasn’t wrong.

October arrived and my anticipation level was through the roof. I traveled out on Thursday with lots of butterflies, along with excited, anxious questions. How will this actually go, to be in a community of my own kind for the first time ever? Will I fit in? Will I make an idiot of myself? Will the in-person connections be as good as they’ve been in all the calls and chats?

While my hopes were indeed high, the actual experience of the weekend took my growing sense of belonging within YOB to a new level. The retreat felt like a homecoming in so many ways.

The physical touch component of the weekend was tremendous. I’d wondered in advance how that would be, as I have little to no touch in my day-to-day life. Part of me worried I’d be overwhelmed, that my abuse history would be triggered, and/or that masculine affection would trigger sexual desires and temptation.

But the touch aspect of this retreat became a true highlight of the experience. It occurred with such ease and grace. None of the things I worried about happened. I easily gave and received more healthy masculine touch over the weekend than has occurred over the past decade — probably much longer, actually.

A part of my tank that is almost never filled was suddenly overflowing. It still brings such warmth to my heart to recall the touch from that weekend.

Something else that astonished me over the weekend was how much like myself I felt; how proud I was to be seen in the company of my fellow queer brothers; how un-worried I was about what anybody else thought.

That’s not like me. At least not how I have been. It felt so refreshing and free just to be me; my usual calculating and social anxiety took a much-needed rest in the backseat that weekend.

Another rich blessing of the retreat was the obvious intention of YOB leadership toward crafting activities which maximized opportunities for people to connect and experience belonging, while also working to minimize situations where attendees may feel excluded. As an introverted Enneagram Six, it’s difficult entering social spaces, especially religious/spiritual ones — those arenas can feel especially unkind to people who tend to be shy and socially awkward like me.

Was it a perfect weekend? No. There were moments of awkwardness, uncertainty, and annoyance. There were moments of missing and feeling missed. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. Family is not perfect.

Though it wasn’t a perfect retreat, it was real. And that was beautiful.

In the days following the retreat, I felt beyond emotionally full. It was a wild rollercoaster of gratitude and joy mixed with great heaving sobs of relief — and also of longing for more of the closeness and camaraderie we experienced over the weekend.

Dealing with loneliness and longing on the homefront has been challenging. But there’s also a deeply settled peace, the peace of knowing I truly belong somewhere — with a non-straight sexuality and all.

In closing, YOB (including this camp retreat experience) has been and continues to be instrumental in saving my internal life. As someone who was experiencing a quiet soul’s death from feeling so utterly alone as a queer Christian man, I can honestly say that I don’t feel that way anymore.

And that is such a relief.

Where, or with whom, do you feel the most free to be yourself? If you don’t have a place where you feel as free to be you as you’d like, what is one step or half-step you could take toward becoming known for who you truly are?

About the Author

  • That is totally Awesome Brother. Jesus rescues us, saves us, redeems us. He loves us just the way we are, as difficult as that is to believe sometimes. Love you Brother.

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