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Eight Blissfully Gay Years
Today is my eight year anniversary of "coming out" of the stained glass closet. Here are eight reasons why I am grateful, and a few challenges I am facing head on...
“Blissfully” might be a little over the top if applied to every moment of the past eight years. But, you know, because of #life plus #, humans (including me) haven’t been perfect. However, I will keep it as a descriptor because, in many ways, genuine bliss entered my life once I took this life-changing journey.
Here are eight reasons why I am grateful for this momentous event. After this list, I will also mention a few challenges I currently face in this all too strange yet relatable journey:
My faith is my own: I thoroughly enjoy being a Christ-follower without being beholden to the errant (in my opinion) belief that the bible should be considered the fourth person of the Trinity. Furthermore, I love exploring the vast riches around us regarding cultural universals (found in all cultures) and spiritual truths.
My husband, Dan: couldn’t ask for a better half. We are our people but even better together. He’s a great husband, and I love him. I never thought I would miss someone so bad when either of us is away for work travel. He’s everything to me.
Our daughter, Autumn: I never thought I would have a young soul growing into a beautiful and bright woman under the same roof. She is amazing, intelligent, talented, and hilarious. I love being her Bonus Dad (formerly known as her Fairy Godmother).
Our home: Even though my insurance just doubled (grrrr!), it is a true “home” in every literal and figurative way. We have been here for two years and have many great memories already—nothing like a safe place to land. We survived COVID in this home, got married while living here, Autumn is almost halfway through high school here, and our two fur babies (Eli and Gigi) keep us running.
My chosen family is a wild, wise, and wacky crew! I can let my hair down with them, and while I might raise some eyebrows occasionally, they love me unconditionally.
Making an honest living: After helping to shut down Exodus, which immediately took away my pay-the-bills job (I did it anyway because it was the right thing to do). I was working at a grocery store at one point when the film crew for Pray Away was following me (that scene did not make it into the film). The camera person asked what it was like to go from first class and a huge corner office to stocking shelves. I said, “I’d rather do this honestly than live in delusion. My old job was a trap of learned helplessness. This time, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is an honest living from hard work.”
After two months at the grocery store, I have been at my current job for five years. I love my work fam, and being gay is not a big deal. Many have met Dan, and it’s just an excellent situation. They know all about my past and support me in my work and personal goals.
Speaking Freely: I love that I can say fuck publicly and not get emails talking about how unprofessional and un-christlike my foul language is. Plus, I can speak freely about anything I want. I never felt like I really could do that until I came out. Everyone should be mindful of what they say because words have power. However, this is my party, and I can say fuck if I want to.
and Sex: Speaking of fuck … I’ve always been afraid to talk about or explore sex. That’s changed quite a bit since coming out. I love sex. After twenty-two years of thinking I was called to celibacy, I can honestly say that I missed that calling BIG time. Now I know what everyone was talking about. Sex is beyond incredible.
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And here are a few challenges being worked on currently:
About the sex thing: While I honestly love and enjoy our sex life, I am still inexperienced and wary in ways I don’t need to be. l won’t go into detail because I am still trying to figure it (what is going on in my head) out. But, I am challenging myself to work through some of the fear that comes up from time to time because of past abuse. I said I would be honest on this journey, so … there’s that.
Body image and health: I weighed around 190 lbs when I first came out. Part of that was weight watchers, but most of it was because I was an absolute nervous wreck for a year and a half. When I am super scared, I don’t eat. Then on Christmas of 2021, I weighed 275 lbs! That’s the most I have ever weighed. Today I am at 257 lbs, so there’s been a little progress. My goal is to get back to at least 190 healthily this time. And yes, I have talked to my doctor, which is a good goal. Having a book coming out this year helps with motivation. At least this time, fear is not involved, and I am forcing myself to honestly assess the best thing for me to do concerning all of this.
Truly letting go of the past in more profound ways: I was challenged to think of a broader audience for the memoir and just in general. Last year was a challenge to stop giving haters free rent, in my thoughts. I need not write in response to someone or something; I am writing intentionally, not reactively. That’s going to take on new dimensions and depth this year. Believe it or not, it’s a hard thing for me to do and do consistently.
Eight years ago, on this day, it was chaos—lots of angry and upset people across the spectrum of belief. Nearly every Christian (conservative, evangelical) I knew disowned or ghosted me. I thought a lot would do that, but I am shocked that I can count on one hand the true friends from that time who have stuck with me over the past eight years.
Also, a few in the gay community were angry and didn’t trust me. I earned that anger, and of course, if I were them, I wouldn’t trust me at that time either (considering my past leadership at Exodus). It takes time to heal wounds. It also takes time to prove a change of heart. I get it; I completely understand.
That said, a tsunami of forgiveness and unearned grace came from many LGBTQ+ people and allies right out of the gate. The return of some lifelong friends I had been estranged from also helped me find the confidence to walk out what was right for me instead of someone else’s ideological ideas and unnecessary soul-crushing burdens. Plus, all the new friends and family bring a dimension I never thought I could have this side of the closet.
In Exodus, we used to say, “In Christ, freedom (or change) is possible.” But the only freedom that is lasting and true is life outside of the ex-gay conversion therapy world; because that’s where the Divine calls us to live. So Jesus sets us free to live our authentic life as LGBTQ+ people, not in culturally derived religious stigma stealing His love and creative plans for us.
I know some current ex-gay leaders will read this. Please stop what you are doing; stop the abuse. Some of you know you are ready to come out of the closet yourself but are afraid. Feel free to email me privately by replying to the version of this that comes out in the email or message me privately on Instagram or Facebook. ALL messages will be completely confidential.
So, It’s been quite the journey but one that never would have started if I hadn’t had the oomph to come out. I hope others will choose to do the same.
All the loves,