Lost in the Closet.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 6:01 AM GMT
    Hey guys,

    So before I get into this whole thing, I'll just tell you that I'm 20 yrs old, gay (but not out), living in a small, rural farmland with a huge extended family.

    But for a few months now, I have been getting this serious urge to come out to friends and family. But of course, (and as most of you know) it's not as simple as it sounds. It might sound cliche, but I was born and raised in a very conservative Catholic family. I hear gay bashing in my family more often than not, and I witness very disgusted faces when they see 2 men kiss. Now I'm not feminine whatsoever, and I probably act more masculine than most of my straight friends; which is one good reason for serious shock if anyone found out I was gay.

    But lately I've just been asking myself why I should live my life afraid of what other people think about me. Now that I'm getting older, I shouldn't have to expect myself to keep this part of me hidden. But of course, one of my conflicts stems from how small my town is and how fast word gets around (esp. to those I don't want knowing right away). And this isn't something people are expecting; this will change my entire way of living in this town. But i'm preaching to the choir now.

    My other conflict comes from my religious views. I was born and raised Byzantine Catholic, which is much more strict than the Roman Catholics. I would never denounce my faith because so much of myself is based through my church. But I know clearly the teachings for gay men/women. We aren't condemned to hell or frowned upon by God; we are "called to a chaste life." Yes, no boyfriends. I really don't want to be put in this position where I have to choose between my significant other and my religion. But does it have to be that way?? I feel that even if I were to come out to people, the lifestyle I currently have wouldn't change because of my religious views. But of course, I want to change my lifestyle, which is my whole reasoning for coming out in the first place. So in all reality, I'm the one holding myself back because I don't know what I want. It really sucks.

    I know I'm not the only one who has been through this, and that's why I'm writing here, asking you guys for help, because I have no one else I can talk to. It feels lonely just being in my own body. I feel guilty for wanting to be with another man, yet completely compelled at the same time. I don't know guys, I'm trying to stay positive about the whole thing, but I think about it constantly, and I need to make a decision before I drive myself crazy.

    Thanks for reading this guys, I really appreciate any advice.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 6:40 AM GMT
    oh this one is easy. just selectively choose the beliefs of your religion that is favorable for yourself. For example, just ignore the whole being gay is bad part and practice everything else. Religious people do it all the time. I mean, its all comes down to interpretation anyways right?
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    Jun 10, 2011 6:44 AM GMT
    It's just the journey of life, you'll have to give up things, keep things, change things, adapt to things, and whatever. You just need to listen to what you want over what's being told to you, but without sacrificing who you are.
    If you want a boyfriend go out and find one, if you prefer the chaste life than well live it. It all comes down to what you want and well I don't think you would want to look back on your life when you're 87 and regret what you did in your life by not doing something you wanted to.
    As for the whole religion thing don't know what to say about that other than, I live my life how I want to. I know whatever I do I'm responsible for and well if I have to face God after I die (or my parent's before icon_eek.gif after I do something "wrong") than well the only thing you can do is take responsibility for what you did. If I face neither and know I did something irresponsible I'll try to make it up somehow.
  • Jonny21

    Posts: 199

    Jun 10, 2011 7:11 AM GMT
    I completely agree with avadakedavra on this one, in the sense that you can hold on to your religious belief and still be true to yourself as a gay man.

    Although religious and spiritual experiences are often realized within a community of believers, the Catholic Church in your case, at the the end of the day, the experience is also a very personal experience, one between you and God (or any or transcendent force you believe in).

    Also, Biblical interpretation is a very complex thing. Although many will ascribe to the view that the Bible is all black and white, I think that is simply not true. Although the basic message of the the Bible is obvious, God loves humankind and wants reconciliation. A lot of the particulars, especially on this topic is not nearly as cut and dry as many assert and there is much disagreement on this, but that's a topic for another day.

    So, I would seek out information, whether they are books, MP3's, the Internet or other people you know in the religious community about being gay and Christian.

    In terms of telling your love ones, I would first try to find relatives and friends that you think would be more "sympathetic" (for a lack of a better term) to you being gay and then gradually come out to others.

    Honestly, I had (or I am in the same situation). I have yet to tell everyone in my family or friends about me being gay but I have gradually picked off people one by one.

    But good luck, I would like to warn you of two things before I leave. First, sometimes it takes people awhile come around (and some might never). Also I am sure there are going to be some people in the gay community that will be just as difficult to you concerning you being Christian and gay as there will be outside the gay community. Although many of these people mean well, at the end of the day, it is your life and your spiritual journey, so be open to what they are saying, but make your own decision.

    Sorry, for being long-winded, I am in law school and I guess it is starting to rub off on me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 3:54 PM GMT
    Hmm, I would criticize you are never "born" a religion.. you are always "raised" into one ...

    Being gay however, I believe (and I know thats controversial) is something you are born as, not get raised into

    That said, personally I dont think leading a "chaste" life for the religion is really a bad thing, monks in many religions do it, and priestesses in many stay virgins.. including Buddhist, Hindu and tribal sects

    However, I am also aware that full chastity is not necessarily for everyone... I dont think it is a bad thing to have gay sex, basically....

    i think in the end you should follow where your true compulsions lie, I once pondered joining the holy ranks of a religions, but I later decided to stay away from them purely on personal moral values, besides, theres many religions where you can become a priest and still have (gay) sex...plus, as little as I would mind being one of the holy ranks, Im perfectly ok with not being one...

    but yeah, your beliefs in the matter are different from mine,...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 4:02 PM GMT
    I don't believe God would put you on this Earth to be an "abomination." being gay is not bad; it's who you are........... a loving creation of God!. I won't lie, there are many people in your faith that will try and convince you otherwise. All I can urge is that you trust yourself, your own feelings and your own relationship with God. good luck!icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 10, 2011 4:42 PM GMT
    Jonny21 saidI completely agree with avadakedavra on this one, in the sense that you can hold on to your religious belief and still be true to yourself as a gay man.

    Although religious and spiritual experiences are often realized within a community of believers, the Catholic Church in your case, at the the end of the day, the experience is also a very personal experience, one between you and God (or any or transcendent force you believe in).

    Also, Biblical interpretation is a very complex thing. Although many will ascribe to the view that the Bible is all black and white, I think that is simply not true. Although the basic message of the the Bible is obvious, God loves humankind and wants reconciliation. A lot of the particulars, especially on this topic is not nearly as cut and dry as many assert and there is much disagreement on this, but that's a topic for another day.

    So, I would seek out information, whether they are books, MP3's, the Internet or other people you know in the religious community about being gay and Christian.

    In terms of telling your love ones, I would first try to find relatives and friends that you think would be more "sympathetic" (for a lack of a better term) to you being gay and then gradually come out to others.

    Honestly, I had (or I am in the same situation). I have yet to tell everyone in my family or friends about me being gay but I have gradually picked off people one by one.

    But good luck, I would like to warn you of two things before I leave. First, sometimes it takes people awhile come around (and some might never). Also I am sure there are going to be some people in the gay community that will be just as difficult to you concerning you being Christian and gay as there will be outside the gay community. Although many of these people mean well, at the end of the day, it is your life and your spiritual journey, so be open to what they are saying, but make your own decision.

    Sorry, for being long-winded, I am in law school and I guess it is starting to rub off on me.


    This is a great answer. I have been "out" for a while. Out in the sense that I have told people who have a "need to know". I am Roman Catholic and gays are also called to be chaste. I have not been and don't believe that God wants me to be. As the poster said above, it's between you and God. At the same time, I don't sleep around like so many gay men seem to. In some ways, I think this "repressive" nature of the Catholic religion has been to my benefit. I make no judgements on those who do sleep around, but speaking strictly just for myself, it's not how I am built.

    I can tell you that while my father, surprisingly, has come to accept me my mother never has. I can actually have a discussion about men with my macho-man, strict Catholic, father. But I cannot with my mother.

    It's a difficult process, but I wish you the very best. You need to be a strong man and do what is best for you. As the old song goes "you can't please everyone, so you just have to please yourself". And, as an even more recent, very gay song says "its one life and there's no return and no deposit, one life so it's time to open up closet..." I am not saying any of those things in a cavalier way as I know the incredible difficulty you are going thru. Have strength and know that God loves you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 4:43 PM GMT
    Here is a couple of resources:

    http://www.gaychristian.net/

    http://www.gaychristianfellowship.com/index.php

    You do not have to deny who you are.

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    Jun 10, 2011 6:00 PM GMT
    I know where you're coming from as so many of us have been in your shoes. I was not raised Catholic but my faith is every bit as strict on gay teachings as yours.

    I struggled for a very very long time with my being gay and my faith. Nothing is more important or comes before God and my faith (which is very very conservative). However, it was only after I stopped trying to reconcile the two that I was okay with it all and no longer had guilt. How I did it, I don't know. All I know is that one day, it dawned.... I just thought, "Why... Why must I reconcile my being gay to what I've always been taught about God?" I realized I didn't have to reconcile the two. So, I stopped trying and just accepted things as being what they are.

    Can I be alone? Yes.
    Can I be celibate? No.

    As far as coming out. You give the impression that there are people outside your family, I'm assuming towns folk, that you don't want to know that you are gay.. yet. However, once your family knows, who gives a darned what anyone else thinks? You will most likely find that people outside your family will be more accepting than your family.

    I live in a very rural area. Our county has a population of 17,000. I know the majority of the people in the northwest quarter of the county since I used to work for the farmers coop/feed mill, etc. No one seems to have a problem with me and treat me no differently than any other farmer around. My partner (of 18-1/2 years) and I, get invited to all the local community events including all the holiday celebrations, the community dances, the cattleman's steak dinners, etc. I've often wondered why everyone is so accepting. I think it's because we are both masculine and appear no different than any other farmer or stockman around. We don't kiss in public. We don't do anything that would cast a "bad light" on us or gays. I think with, in our neighbors' minds, we are completely outside the stereotypical realm of gays so they see us different than they would have ever thought a gay couple to be. They see me on horseback, moving cattle, They see me wrestle calves. They see me sweat and ache in the hot sun building fence. They see me pulling a calf. They see me with a chainsaw cutting firewood to heat the house in winter. They see me and my partner at the livestock auctions. They see me on the dozer clearing trees, building pond dams, etc. We break all their stereotypical expectations.

    If you are as masculine as you say and have been in the closet, you most likely will also give the same impression that you aren't stereotypical, which in the minds of your neighbors will make the difference in acceptance or rejection.... especially, if they also know you have a strong faith.

    Again about faith. I know how hard it is to get away from a faith that is so ingrained into your being. No one says you have to leave it. You can be gay, eventually have a loving long term relationship and still keep your faith in God. However, your church may turn it's back on you and may not allow you to partake in communion. That is when you will have to make decisions. But just remember that your salvation is between you and God and not between you and man. Just because you may not be able to participate in your church's rituals, in no way lessens you in God's eyes and it in no way takes away from your faith.

    Study your New Testament. Learn just how much of what you are taught in your church actually follows the teachings of Jesus and his apostles and go from there.

    Good luck to you.... Once you come out, it will lift a huge heavy burden. There will be consequences. Some will be good and some bad. As someone else said, it may take years for some family members to come around. My father was always accepting of it. It was my mother that had the hardest time and took her several years to come around, but she and I are as close as ever and she has told me several times that out of all 7 of us boys, I was "the special one."

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 10, 2011 6:27 PM GMT
    I certainly concur with my friend Paul from Kansas, well put.

    I think that it boils down to how you want to live your life in the future.
    What do you really want to do? Do you see yourself living with a partner
    eventually? Is it about living an honest life? I think being clear initially
    as to what you want in your life will help. Define what you want first.

    I think that definition will help should you decide to proceed. Explain why it is important to you to be open and honest about your sexuality. Dispell any myths your family might have and if they choose not to talk about it in the beginning, don't get all offended. If nothing else, tell them how much they mean to you and that you are always welcome to talk about it. If all of them don't accept it in the beginning, life your life with the enthusiasm, honesty and self respect you deserve.

    There is a financial consideration. Do they support you currently? My suggestion is, its always better to make changes like this considering
    your ability to care for your self financially. You operate from the standpoint of strength, of careful consideration and do.. think about their feelings.
    It is a mature. loving and appropriate means of proceeding.

    I understand the religious aspect, but I like the ideas put forth by Paul and some of the others. This isn't "bad" and you aren't going to go to hell.

    Please keep us informed. We certainly want to help.

    icon_biggrin.gif
  • twentyfourhou...

    Posts: 243

    Jun 10, 2011 6:44 PM GMT
    And yet another perspective. Here is a website for catholics who happen to be gay/lesbian; hhttp://www.dignityusa.org/.
    As you continue to grow, your spritual needs and desires will continue to evolve. I would caution against any drastic changes or making too many changes at once. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and continued to practice this faith even after coming out to my then wife and two young kids. I continued to raise my kids as Catholic even after we divorced. A couple of years later, my spritual needs were such that i could no longer be a part of a religion that held such views towards......................me. I was trying to teach my kids certain beliefs that sometimes would be contradicted during a sermon. In order for me to grow closer to God i needed to suround myself with people and a church that embrased all of me - not just "accept" me. Four years later, i believe i am now closer to God and at a much more accepting place of myself than i was back then. Additionally, i believe this change has helped my teenage sons deal with the issue as well, we are part of the Episcopal faith.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2011 6:49 PM GMT
    I'll just share my experience:

    It takes time. Once you get to the point that the weight (on your conscience) of lying to your beloved family and friends outweighs the benefit of pretending to be straight (peace of mind, acceptance, maintaining appearances, avoiding change etc.) then you know you are ready to come out.

    When the time is right, you'll know. For me the weight of lying could not outweigh the love I have for my family for more than a year (after I knew for sure I was a homo).
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jun 10, 2011 6:50 PM GMT
    Two months ago, I met a gay man who was a former Catholic priest. He was defrocked because he was gay. He still has strong Catholic roots/beliefs, but the defrocking should tell you something about Catholicism's dogma. BTW, this happened to him 20 years ago, before the Catholic church began equating homosexuality with pedophilia.
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    Jun 10, 2011 11:21 PM GMT
    do what avadakedavra said. I select a few things and live by it. If your family doesn't like it, don't tell them about it. If they find out, they find out - you're not obligated to tell them. If you think it will end up hurting you, why even bother telling them if it's going to make the situation worse.
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    Jun 10, 2011 11:36 PM GMT
    kidfaith said...If your family doesn't like it, don't tell them about it. If they find out, they find out - you're not obligated to tell them. If you think it will end up hurting you, why even bother telling them if it's going to make the situation worse.


    Is living a lie all your life less hurtful than telling the truth? I think living a lie is less honorable and commands less respect than being honest.

    Not everything we do in life will please our families. We should live our lives to make ourselves happy, not to make those around us happy.

    But, again... as Chris stated, the OP needs to decide what his goals are and determine how this fits in, but... I always come down on the side of honesty. It's almost always better in the long run.
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    Jun 11, 2011 1:28 AM GMT
    Know that there is a "middle path".

    Seek and you shall find.
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    Jun 11, 2011 1:52 AM GMT
    Deciding to come out to family is really scary, especially in a family as religious as yours.

    One thing to remember is god made you just the way he wanted you, no mistakes. I'm not religious but I KNOW that being true to yourself is the most genuine way to be a good person.

    If you think your family will disown you, it may be better to wait until you move out just so you don't make things harder for yourself. Parents and family should love you unconditionally, though sometimes it takes them time to get used to something as shocking as this.

    you can make everyone else happy, but i know from experience it is so reliving to live your life for you. Good luckicon_biggrin.gif
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Jun 11, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    First off people need to stop equating being in the closet with lying. One can be in the closet while not lying to others. Equating it to lying is not different than anti-gay people equating homosexuality to pedophilia. Both are using tactics of shame and emotional thinking to try and persuade.

    Rceddpc,
    I don't know how people can pick and choose from a religion and still be happy with it. That just doesn't make sense to me. It's either right or it isn't. Picking and choosing only satisfies people who are good at being in denial about things to satisfy their ego and emotional needs.

    I don't know about starting to deal with with being gay while depending on family that might really freak out about it. Maybe you could ease them into the idea by discussing current gay issues and making rational arguments about it but it might not be wise to come out if they can't handle it and you don't have any kind of emotional or financial support system apart from them.