Trench Coat Thursday (TCT) :: Lesbianism // Her Story

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*Some weeks ago I decided that I wanted to do a series on sexual orientation for TCT. A few friends kindly agreed to share their stories and thoughts on the topic on this blog, this is the first of four that I will share. I have spent many weeks asking myself what my aim is and I have decided that the point is to start a conversation. Please don’t get bogged down on terminology and technical definitions about things like “gender”, “same-sex attraction”, etc let’s focus on the main issue.

Please engage: I have some questions at the bottom that I would love for you to respond to, feel free to share your thoughts. Most of all, please respect this person’s story, their experience and their views but feel free to challenge them, or disagree.

I’m going to write a follow up post to this and it will be based on your responses to this post- happy TCT!

“I’ll never forget the day – I was 11 or 12 years old when I read an article about a woman who said she was gay. She wrote about her childhood, how she had been raised by her single-parent mother and preferred spending time with boys more than she did with girls. I could relate to that. Further on, she explained how she began developing crushes on girls, in the say way as boys would. I didn’t finish reading the article as it began to make me feel uncomfortable. I knew what the end result would be and I was afraid I was heading in the same direction. I kept it to myself for a few days, but my mother could sense that something was bothering me. After endless hours of probing and interrogating, I broke down in tears and showed her the magazine article.

Sometime prior to that experience I remember my mom lamenting on how deranged and twisted homosexuals are.

I was going through puberty – apparently it was normal to be feel this way at that particular age. My mother convinced me that I was simply going through a phase. Life went on. Instead of confronting my emotions, I suppressed them.

Tertiary is where everything intensified. I entered into an environment where it was generally acceptable and encouraged to be openly gay. Once again I was plagued with feelings I had tried so long to avoid and this time they were stronger than ever. After another brief emotional breakdown, I confessed to my mom that I was attracted to women. I have always admired her for her strong faith and wisdom, but this time she looked so helpless and disappointed. I knew that she was partly blaming herself. She’d ask questions like: “If you think you’re gay, why were you in a relationship with a boy?” and “Are you saying these things to punish me for not giving you the life that you wanted?” It was an issue that would gradually cause us to drift apart.

I was raised a Christian and had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, yet there was still an emotional barrier between me and Him.

Like my earthly father I perceived God to be emotionally distant (and only willing to participate when it suited Him). Since my own mother had trouble accepting me unconditionally I had little faith in anyone else. The genuine prayers I prayed to God were for Him to either remove my attraction towards women, or to end my life. The last thing I wanted to be was gay (especially if it would bring shame to my family). Ironically, this experience eventually drew me closer to God. There were no pretenses – I was angry because I felt that He wasn’t answering my prayer.

My most severe breakdown was a turning point in my relationship with Him. Over time I was led to the right counsellors and friends who displayed compassion and unconditional love, especially when I struggled to love myself. God had kept His promise – He had been with me all along, I was just too blind to see it. As the walls of pride and distrust slowly broke down, my desire for Christ grew stronger. When I asked for my sins to be forgiven I could forgive myself for the wrong choices I had made. My relationship with my mom also improved.

Many Christians I know don’t experience same-sex attraction (I have met very few who honestly do), so they cannot relate to a gay person’s plight. Like the world, I have seen Christians fall into two extremes: they will either be liberal towards homosexuality (these tend to be young Christians), while some may hide their apparent prejudices behind Bible scriptures. Other Christians genuinely love their gay friends because they see more to them then their sexual orientation. They try to be an example of Christ and not base their acceptance on their own preferences or feelings.

I find that there appears to be too many assumptions: Christians have many preconceived ideas about gays and lesbians, and vice versa.

I have learned that when a man says he is gay, it does not necessarily mean that he is engaging in sexual activity. To him the term “being gay” is a noun as opposed to an adjective. He does not view women the same way a man with heterosexual desires would, nor does he want to be sexually intimate with her. He doesn’t believe that there is anything wrong with feeling this way, until people convince him otherwise. Perhaps then there’s also an issue with definitions?

“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it is holiness.”

I believe that until biblical singleness is revived, the Church will not be ready to address homosexuality. Singles fall into a wide spectrum and also have their own unique challenges and temptations. Their voices deserve to be heard, and they need to be utilised more efficiently in the body of Christ. Marriage is good and it certainly needs all the support it can get from the Church, but it has been idolised in so many respects. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that many gay people now view marriage as a right. We live in a sex saturated culture and it is therefore imperative that the Church does not shy away from the topic of sex and sexuality.

Ultimately our goal is to be Christ orientated, not fall into the traps the enemy has laid out.

I am not saying that we should wait until biblical singleness is addressed until we speak about homosexuality. It is a current topic that should be openly spoken about just like everything else. A Christian who experiences same-sex attraction should be comfortable in openly expressing the challenges that he/has faced among fellow Christians without feeling as though they are being patronised.”

Questions:

What kinds of assumptions do people have about homosexuality?

In what ways does her story challenge your views?

Do you think the issue of sexual orientation, particularly issues to do with lesbianism, gayness, bisexuality should be talked about more? Why/ why not?


Please comment, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading.

shula.

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15 thoughts on “Trench Coat Thursday (TCT) :: Lesbianism // Her Story

  1. Thank you, Zola for another excellent post. I commend you for your courage in writing about this issue. Following is my response:
    1. It is important that we as believers understand that people with same-sex attractions are sinners like us. We identify with them in the fact that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Having this mindset has the effect of keeping us humble, gracious, compassionate and understanding towards our fellow brothers and sisters who wrestle with this sin.
    2. When speaking gospel truth on the issue, always endeavor to convey love.

  2. This is great Zola and to the lady who’s story this is, you have a great insight into a topic that many Christians, myself included at times, shy away from. Thank you for telling your story and thanks Zola for starting a much needed conversation.

  3. Ok, I really don’t know how to “properly” reply to any of the questions. I grew up making fun of people who have same sex attractions, so much that the idea of having a gay friend at some point was a horrible picture – I just couldn’t see it happen.

    I now have a friend that I was attracted to (in high school) and she confessed (to me) a year ago that she’s lesbian. I (suprisingly) didn’t know how to be harsh to her, told her about the Jesus I know who loves her, reminded her that I love her and always will, and that if she ever needed someone to talk to I’ll always be there.

    I’m a rapper, and from the point of view of people I’ve been exposed to, homosexuality is the worst thing ever! I remember back in primary school some people used to say I was gay because I was someone who loved and cared “way too much” for people. “A Man Is Supposed To Be Heartless” is what this implied to me. From then, I struggled with letting people know I cared because I was led to believing that, that is GAY. You should probably understand if you’re familiar with “No Homo”. I’d like to help my lesbian friend, I just don’t know how.

  4. Hi Eddie. I really like your comment and question of where does one go, or what does one do after they accept salvation from Christ. (Zola forgive my forwardness). I came into the church struggling with feelings of homosexuality, and just like our friend here who has shared her story, I asked God to take away those feelings. Now it did not happen over night for me, just like anyone who struggles with anything in the church there was a process of deliverance.And no it did not take me having a boyfriend as some would like to encourage as a form of helping one get over their feelings for the same sex. I took initiative and went before God and prayed for His guidance in everything, from scripture verses to who I should go to for counselling because I looked around the church and I listened to the message that was preached and I felt like I did not belong. Like no one cared about such, I even wondered if they knew that there were people such as myself in the church. I basically took this one solo and I did it for everyone else who walked in and out of church hoping to get help in this area of struggle and walked out feeling ignored and out of place.

    I remember the first time I testified about it, the responses I got, how suddenly now I was encouraged to dress “more like a girl” so people could see what God has done in me. It baffled me, because if they saw that the way I dressed did not “glorify” God (I assume that’s what they implied) why did they never come to me and say something, try to understand. I just made me realize how ignorant the church is when it comes to homosexuality. I am glad to say that today I have people within the church that God sends to me to counsel, people that have had the same cry before God to take away the feelings and I am happy and honored that God has raised me up to be a place where those “suffering” in silence within the church can run to.

    I’m not claiming to know it all. But this one thing I know is that Jesus died for us all and His love sheds over each and everyone of us. He want’s to set people free from any kind of bondage more than they want to be free. And my best advice to anyone who is struggling with homosexuality or same sex feelings or however you would like to put it. Seek Gods face, simply just find out who God says you are, find your identity in Christ and not in your emotions and He will do the rest. It was only when I read scriptures like Psalm 139 and meditated upon it that I realized my Identity has nothing to do with what I feel but everything to do with who God says I am and me choosing to believe that and embrace it, and God took care and still takes care of my feelings. He set my heart in the right place.

    I still love my pants and t-shirts and it has nothing to do with my identity or what I feel.

    There is so much more I could say because this is a very broad subject, but I think I will leave it here for now.

    • Hi Sihle’sam! I really enjoyed reading your comment. Thank you for sharing openly and honestly about your own experience. I thought it was significant that part of the process you went through was understanding that this was not your identity but you did not deny or refuse to acknowledge what you were feeling. 3 things stand out to me:

      1. You went to God first for guidance – not your own subjective feelings or ideas, or your friends
      2. People are often more concerned about appearances than about the inward state of a person’s heart.
      3. You have found your identity in Christ – this is what the Gospel is about!

      If you don’t mind my asking, why did you “cry out to God to take away the feelings”, what motivated that decision to change?

      • Honestly it was uncomfortable. It made my life uncomfortable. I lived in fear and confusion and it really bothered me.I hated it, it kept me caged and I didn’t feel free to be “who I was” not because of society but because of the tears I cried alone at night hating myself because I felt God had made a mistake when he created me or that maybe I did not finish forming in my mothers womb (I’m not sure where I got this idea from but I guess I was just desperate for an answer). I rejected and hated myself before anyone else ever did. I just wanted to be at peace.

    • Sham

      I may not fully understand the plight faced by homosexuals in the church, but I love what you said because more than anything, it makes sense: “find your identity in Christ and not in your emotions”. That really applies to everyone. Homosexuality does not define a person and neither does heterosexuality. Our true identity is in Christ.

  5. eddie

    This is an interesting article, one that most people shy away from. Its uncomfortable and causes one to just want to easily start thumping away those verses from the bible about homosexuality. How do christians view homosexuality? As a sin…but what does this mean exactly? That its against the nature and design that God created for humanity? That its weird for people of the same sex to be together, its unfathomable, its odd, barbaric, ultimate response: “God didn’t make Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve”?

    I think christians do not understand what it means to Not be heterosexual, hence they can’t accept anything but.

    Her story challenges my views, basically when she mentions that she asked God to take away the feelings that she had for the same sex, the fact that they were there from a young age. I thought that they appeared after one had a negative encounter with the opposite sex, resulting in hating heterosexual relationships. My views, I thought that people of a different sexual orientation advocated for same sex marriage in order to feel accepted and feel like they are a part of our ever changing society. I thought that the church did not support same sex relationships and called homosexuality a sin, unforgivable even.I’d never been exposed to people who were of a different sexual orientation until I came to university.

    These issues should be discussed, definitely, so people don’t start shaming those who feel different, so people can let go of their prejudicies, and hate. As difficult as it is, it seems as though people ram it down our throats, but that’s understandable because it takes getting used to, patience and understanding, a process that’s ongoing. As christians we should still show God’s unconditional love nonetheless and not judge others and completely separate ourselves from them. Here is my question: love the person, not the action, something iv learnt, but how does one come to grips with gaysm/lesbianism?

    We can accept thievery and prostitution, not forgetting murderers as they too are loved by God, why is accepting homosexuality difficult? Can people be delivered? In what way does she mean “my sins were forgiven?” When one accepts Christ, what’s next? Do they let go of the feelings and start like people of the opposite sex?? Is this what we want?? Is that the goal/its to love, accept and let go?? Iv always thought that God hated homosexual activity because of the different sex-not sure why I felt that, and I always thought that homosexual was a lifestyle that was unredeemable, ie one can’t change who they are.Where do we go from here?

    We don’t see many open gay people in the church/at church? What are we trying to do here exactly by understanding their story, what’s our role as christians, we can accept murderers into the church as we think that they have “reformed/turned over a new leaf” but what does that mean for open gay people, does the sex stop too/same sex feelings or they resume after marriage?? The focal point is sex here I believe, whether its homo/heterosexual and marriage, the two cornerstones of christianity that continue to increase the battlefield. Then what happens?? This is where the confusion begins. So you’re gay, come to church, God loves you, I do too, then what….

    Confused christian, trying to understand my feelings too, *shrugs*

    • @Eddie, thank you for examining your own thinking on this issue and allowing your views to be challenged. What I love about your comment is that you pose many questions instead of jumping to conclusions, that is a great starting point! I am reminded of a Christian conference that I attended where one of the speakers was talking about relationships and said, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” and the whole crowd erupted with raucous laughter. I grimaced because callous statements like that are unhelpful, offensive and hurtful and in that moment, I bet we would be surprised at how many people felt alienated and targeted.

      You raise an important point about how the Church seems more comfortable in accepting prostitutes and murderers but not homosexuals and to be honest I am not sure why that is the case. Your comment also exposes some generally held assumptions, particularly about what “causes” same-sex attraction. My personal view is that the experience/ history/ motivations of each person are unique. This is a point that I am hoping to make through this conversation. You will find that each of the stories shared here are quite different.

      Your closing remark: “So you’re gay, come to church, God loves, I do too, then what…”? is very good! Here are some questions that might help us figure this out:

      What does it mean to be a Christian/ follower of Christ? At the centre of the answer to this question is what the Gospel teaches us about human nature, the need for forgiveness and repentance and salvation and lordship.

      What does the Bible say about homosexuality exactly? Is it wrong? is being attracted to the same sex wrong or is it just having sex with someone of the same sex that is wrong?

      Please look out for my follow up post where I am going to address these questions directly and thank you for giving me something to base my next post on!

  6. Tee

    Such an interesting story..got me abit confused though. Is she saying she is attracted to women but is not gay but rather is called to life of singleness?
    and to answer one of your questions at the end:
    I think we should be talking about these issues. More and more people are coming out as gay and they shouldn’t feel judged by Christians. If we are more informed on the subject I think we will be in a better place to relate to and reach them ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Tee!
      Hm, I can see why it might be confusing … In my understanding, she believes that singleness/ celibacy ought to be something that we recognise as Biblical and as acceptable, particularly in a situation where a woman is attracted to women and not men but her convictions and beliefs are that sex and marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. She presents singleness as something as an answer for Christians who are homosexual but doesn’t necessarily state that she herself has made that choice.

      I agree with you and I think that part of the reason that we โ€œjudgeโ€ is that we do not understand this issue and we donโ€™t bother to critically engage with God or each other either because itโ€™s not our personal area of struggle or because we assume that we know everything there is to know about it. Thanks for your comment, I value your input! ๐Ÿ™‚

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