We all have a unique story and I think it can help each other to see the variety of experience in gay life. Just because my path went the way that it did does not mean someone else’s will go that way. Some people live a gay life for their whole life time and some do not. It is really up to each person as to what they find on their path and the happiness they find there.
Heavenly Father wants his children to be happy.
I came out gay at age 25, after BYU and a mission. It was freeing and I was very happy. I had started having crushes on women in high school, but I was dating guys, as being gay was not something I knew about. Through BYU and my mission my crushes on women became more intense. I started to realize I didn’t feel the same way about guys as I did women. I was conflicted because of my mormon upbringing, but I decided I needed to go away from the church and figure out being gay. I did not think I had a choice about how I felt. I felt it was just who I am. As I came out, my world went from shades of grey to full living color, it was very compelling. When I was young I had had very strong spiritual experiences and I did not throw these out, I just felt the church did not understand being gay.
For the first 10 years living a gay life was deeply satisfying. I dated and then I met my long term partner. She is an amazing person. I loved being with her. It was very easy in many ways, it was also hard in ways that relationships are challenging and force us to grow. With this relationship I had a lot more internal conflict about being gay because now it was real. My partner wanted to get married but It was difficult for me to think about making a long term commitment because the conflict with my faith was not resolved. Midway in our relationship I had a spiritual experience where I felt that God loved me and told me that I would be ok. This helped me relax and not worry about my faith so much. We got rings together. But as time went on the sexual experience became more frustrating and not what I expected, it was not deeply connected like I thought it should be. And our emotional interaction felt stuck to me, it did not feel like we were evolving. These aspects seemed very limiting. And because I was still divided and not able to commit, we broke up after 8 years. I was devastated.
For the next 10 years I searched and searched for a gay relationship that would feel like I wanted it to feel on a sexual connection and an emotional and spiritual growth level. I had a series of dating experiences and I felt like I was compromising more and more. It was hard to continually feel like I was not finding what I was looking for. Life started to feel pretty dark.
Towards the end of this time several things shifted. I started practicing Zen meditation which led to praying and reconnecting to my spiritual self. I always wanted to have a child so I started to pursue getting pregnant. I got pregnant and had my son. Also, my sister went through a change about just loving me and not trying to change me or overtly be against who I was. That opened a door in our relationship. When my son was born I decided to move up close to my sister for family support.
I continued to date women for a couple years but I was still not finding what I wanted and now it was more complicated. After 20 years in gay life I started feeling that gay life had just not worked for me and that I was not going to find what I wanted. However this did not change feeling that I am gay.
When my son was 2 I decided that I wanted to raise him Christian. So I started going back to the church of Jesus Christ and I stopped dating women. I didnt stop dating women because of going back to the church, it just happened about the same time. In the next couple years my emotional and spiritual happiness changed very quickly. I started having real moments of joy consistently. I started wanting to live the commandments one by one. After several years I accepted a church calling.
Then when my son was about 6, I decided to go back to the temple to be closer to God. I already felt that I was not going back to gay life. The more I thought about it the more I thought it had not worked for me. When I met with my stake president we had an amazing discussion. He asked me a lot of questions about my life and being gay, then he asked me if I thought my spirit was gay. And I told him, Yes, I could not tell the difference between my emotional, spiritual and sexual self, it felt like one to me. I believed I am gay and I just felt it did not hold what I want. At the end of our meeting my stake president promised me as I returned to the temple I would find the answers about my gay life.
At first going back to the temple was mixed. A part of me was really sad, I felt it meant I would be alone for the rest of my life. But then I experienced a couple of remarkable spiritual experiences that gave me hope. It confirmed that God was aware of me, understood me, and was there for me. There was no denying His presence in my life. So I moved forward.
At this point I have to say I was the happiest I had ever been. I did not experience loneliness or doubt about my decision. Part of it was being a mom, and part of it was being close to my family, and part of it was being connected to God in a different way than I had in the past. I felt God in my life on a daily basis. I had a real trust in God. I did not miss gay life. My desire for a relationship did not go away, but I felt very fulfilled in so many areas that there was no lack.
I came out 25 years before going back to the temple. For 28 years I saw myself as gay without a question. Someone recently told me that I wasnt that gay, but I was completely gay. On the Kinsey scale I considered myself a 5.9. I was conflicted, and I would say, “Do you think I would choose this?”
I felt there was no option for me. I also still thought the church did not understand being gay. But then I had an experience that changed my thinking.
About 3 years after going back to the temple the Spirit gave me a flashback of several points in my young life when dating guys, showing me how my thoughts and feelings evolved. Through this I know that I was not born gay, but I evolved. It was more how I had internalized the world around me and understood myself. Through my unique set of experiences, my personal strengths and weaknesses, my fears and my needs, I felt I was gay. I was gay. My unique ingredients gave me that. But it was not something that God had designed for me. It became clear that it was not something that had to stay that way. I do know that being gay helped me grow for a time. It also held me prisoner for a time. I stayed stuck in the label for a long time.
From my flashback experience I learned several very important things. We don’t know a whole lot even about ourselves let alone someone else. We are looking through a glass darkly. Our brain capacity is limited to really understand the experiences we have had, our emotions and how we internalize and interpret these.
What is significant to one person is not for another person. There is no pattern here. There is no way to know who we are without God’s help in this life. Only in the next life will we be able to see this perfectly. Because of this we have to have faith. There is no way around having faith, we are all doing it, it is implicit in life. We just have to decide what we put our faith in. By being as honest with ourselves as possible, by living with integrity to our process and by learning from our experiences as they continue to evolve and by being willing to take God’s hand I know He will lead us and teach us. This process of learning is not over for a long time.
I think it is possible that some of us are happiest living a gay life. I have no judgement about that. But I have also learned that who we are evolves and what we want can evolve. The different parts of ourselves heal and integrate and we become able to see the value of the different sides of ourselves relative to each other more clearly. I support everyone in finding their own happiness.
I believe in integrity to our own life process, to our spiritual experiences, to what we think and know about ourselves and continuing to learn. This life is our chance to learn who we are and what we want and it can take many years. Only we can limit ourselves: by what others say, by what we think, by preconceptions, by judgement and letting others judge us and most of all deciding who we are prematurely. I believe we are here to learn and discover ourselves and our happiness. I truly believe that God loves each of us and wants our best happiness and we get to decide what that is. We have to love and support each other in this process and respect each other’s journeys no matter what they are. There is no wrong journey. If we let God guide us we will find our best happiness.
Want to read another story like this one?
CLICK HERE for more!
This In My Own Words story is a contribution from Let’s Love Better, a Facebook group dedicated to helping people learn to better share love, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding. When we know better, we do better.