I grew up in Maryland and moved to Virginia to attend college. I graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Music Education in 1980. Liberty's founder is Dr. Jerry Falwell - who, unfortunately, is the source of a lot of hatred and bigotry against the gay and lesbian community. (What some people will do just to make a dollar.....) I survived and lived to tell about it!
Having been raised in a Christian (Baptist) home, being the eldest of four boys and one girl, I always felt the responsibility to set an example for my younger siblings. I always felt that there was something different about me, but I had no one to talk to about my feelings, and felt very alone with this secret.
I was always taught the difference between right and wrong. However, when it came to sex, it was not to be found in my family's dictionary. I cannot recall having any conversations about sex with my parents. The most we ever discussed was private parts - and that we certainly never talked about.
I always wondered why I was never attracted sexually or romantically towards women. Although the subject of homosexuality was never discussed at home, I remembered how my parents would address "older" singles as being old maids or confirmed bachelors. The subject of gays or lesbians even existing back in the early 60's was just not on the table to discuss. Now I know that many of those older people were gays and lesbians and most of them were hiding their true identity. To be out in the 50's, 60's and even 70's had much more severe repercussions than today.
After several attempts of trying to have a friendship / relationship with girls throughout elementary, junior and senior high school, I quit trying. Little did I know that being gay was something that I could celebrate and be proud of. Back then there were no role models or mentors like we have today, such athletes, politicians, etc.
"Christian" colleges are notorious for housing sexually bewildered young people. Of course these colleges try to weed out gay and lesbian people in the application process - but they / we / I make it through the doors somehow and are hidden behind huge closet doors. Having been there, I know this is a very fearful place to be. At most Christian schools such as Liberty University, Bob Jones University, Tennessee TempleSchools, Nyack College and many seminaries throughout the nation, to name a few, there are hundreds of students this fall who were born, from the foundations of the earth, with a gay / lesbian orientation, yet they are told this is sin, ridiculed and scorned. Unfortunately, many of these students will contemplate suicide; sadder yet, many will succeed. This is totally wrong.
I finally came to resolve my confusion and feel at peace with my sexual orientation through the ministry and friends of Evangelicals Concerned and also through 2 years of therapy. I am so happy to be out now and rejoice in feeling great about myself and am very grateful for the special people God has put into my life to help me accept who I am.
The support of my local PFLAG Chapter (a national organization-Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) has also been a great encouragement to me. This group again offers a supportive atmosphere where a person can express their fears and gain the intrinsic strength necessary to come out.
Accepting my God-given sexual orientation has been a process and a journey. This process has taken me several years to accept and deal with but it has been worth it all to come out.
In my journey, I have found the folks who are seemingly the most self-righteous and judgmental against gay and lesbian people are usually projecting onto others their own fears and inadequacies.
My life is dedicated now, not only to Christ and His church, but also to the support of other gay and lesbian Christians who need to know that God loves and accepts them and embraces their sexual diversity.
Through coming out, perhaps one person at a time, we can all change this world to be a better place for all of us.