Ah, body image. I suspect nearly all of us wrestle with it in some form or another, and in different ways – whether we’re gay/same-sex attracted or straight. These days for me, that wrestling with body image is around aging.
Perhaps it was the touch of melancholy in me that many other "Side B" Christians also feel, or simply being a disabled man, or maybe even a combination of the two – the fact that I have often felt both a physical and mental peace listening to classical music. Whatever it was, my soul felt ministered to in a previously unknown way.
You know, after fifteen years of blogging about gay things and masculine things and all the other intermingled, messy faith things, I often feel like I've run out of stories to tell here. Gay kisses, wet dreams, fetishes – what on earth is there left to say?? Ah, but then I wake up one day and suddenly remember that time another "Side B" guy from a Facebook group asked if he could do something to my genitals. Ah, yes – a new story to tell. Glory be.
I spent most of my twenties trying my best to be straight. I dated women and watched ESPN and prayed and prayed for the gay to go away. I don't suppose there was anything wrong with all that. But at some point I had to acknowledge the reality that God doesn't always remove challenges. He always works through them, though.
I was so afraid of what people thought of me that I was willing to hide who I was from family, friends, the world – and to some degree, myself. I was willing to live a life of lies to be accepted. I explained that's just how things were back then. Sadly, some people are still living this way.
I've thought a lot about writing a manifesto for Side B people. In fact, I've written multiple drafts of a manifesto for a few years now, but I've never been satisfied with the result. In the end, I figured I should get one of those drafts out there, so that people can imagine what Side B Gay people are advocating for. So, here it is...an incomplete rough draft of the Side B Manifesto.
As we got started I began with, "Well, you know I'm same-sex attracted." He then interjected, "Actually, so am I." I only had about a million questions for him at this point, but I stayed quiet and let him talk.
She had recently broken up with her boyfriend, and she was about to move for a job opportunity in a couple of weeks. We were good friends, and we'd hung out a few times, both by ourselves and within groups. But there was just never a good time to talk about how I felt about her. If I didn't get to talk to her this morning, then I might never have another chance!
YOB gave me hope, because even though I was 55 years old I had struggled accepting myself since my teen years. I had never seen myself as anything but subhuman, unworthy, and a complete reprobate because I had feelings and desires for other men.