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Accepting a Heterosexual Identity

By Jason Park

When faced with the choice of accepting a gay identity or a heterosexual identity, I had to choose the heterosexual identity because it was the only thing that fit with my personal values and my knowledge of what God intended me to be.

When I finally faced my same-sex attractions and used the words “homosexual” and “gay” for the first time in describing myself, I was happily married and had children. I loved them very much and felt secure in my marriage. Nevertheless, the pull of the same-sex desires was so strong that my life was turned upside down. Gay people I knew told me I should be true to myself and act on my feelings. They said that if I suppressed my “true sexuality,” I would some day regret all the life experiences I would have missed. However, I knew that I could not experiment with these sexual desires on the side and at the same time pretend to be a faithful husband and father. If I didn’t want to live a double standard, I had to make a decision. Should I leave my wife and family and dive head first into the gay world? My family life seemed quite dull compared to the excitement and mystique of the gay life! I saw a gay lifestyle as powerfully alluring. It appeared romantic and sensual, and at the same time outrageous and enticing.

I knew I couldn’t straddle the fence any longer. For my own sanity and emotional health, I had to make the choice to accept and live a gay life or a heterosexual life. But given all these feelings, I found it hard to be objective because rational thinking would quickly get swept away by the emotional fascination. I finally had to sit down and write down all the pros and cons I could think of. The following is the list I wrote in my journal.

Should I move out and live as a gay man?

Pro Con
Stop being a hypocrite; no hiding; no lying.
Could accept myself as I am and wouldn’t have to try to change.
Freedom with my time to pursue hobbies, travel, exercise. Increased financial obligations (two households, two cars, etc.).
Could live with Daniel, whom I feel deeply for. I’ve known him only six weeks! I can’t marry him. The romantic relationship with him can’t last forever.
I’ve been committed to my wife for six years. The romantic relationship with her can last forever.

Limited access to children; could not be the father to them that I want to be.

I would get divorced.

Eternal joy and progression would be limited until I began living as I know God wants me to live.

I then wrote in my journal about the risks, my needs, and my fears.

Risks: After a few years, I’ll probably decide I really want what I had. Even after I made the long trek back in my relationships with God and with others, my wife and children would likely be gone forever and I’d have to start over again at nearly age forty.

Needs: I need the love of a man. Even with the love of a wife and family, I feel a big emotional deficit. I hurt inside and am left wanting.

Fears: If I were to try to change, I am afraid I may not be able to, and I would continue trying to live the lie for many years while I see my relationship with my wife deteriorate.

Once I had all this on paper, I could objectively see the options open to me.

I am a spiritual man and I believe in God. I believe that eternal truth stands on its own and is not subject to our opinions. There are not several versions of truth that we may choose and make them fit our personal situations. God has a plan for the salvation of all His children and the only true way for us to be happy is to follow His plan for us. As I evaluated my options, I considered the following three questions to help clarify my thinking: “Who am I?” “Why am I here on earth?” “Where am I going after this life?” Truthful answers to these three questions reminded me of eternal principles to consider as I made my decision.

I was reminded of the words of Elijah: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him….” (1 Kings 18:21)

I determined to live by God’s plan, and realized that I had to use my God-given agency to make decisions based on revealed truth, not on the opinions of others or on the current thinking of the world.

I knew that my decisions would not only affect my short-term happiness, but would have eternal consequences and affect the lives of other people. I realized I had an important mission in life to fulfill, which for some reason included challenges with same-sex attraction.

I had to be careful how far to trust my current feelings. Emotional feelings can be fleeting and can change from time to time. I knew that if I pursued my current whim, my emotions could be different a year from now. But since God’s Spirit works through feelings and impressions, I also needed to be sure to follow the whisperings from God. I knew those feelings would always be in line with revealed truth. I knew that the Spirit would never prompt me in a way that is contrary to the truth. The promptings from God come from deep within and can be distinguished from the surface emotions that may change from time to time. God can help us to know good from evil. If it entices us to do good and to believe in Him, it is sent by Him.

Many people today say that homosexuality is a healthy, alternative lifestyle. Deep down, I knew that it wasn’t a healthy alternative for me. Several years after beginning to work on issues surrounding my same-sex attractions, I reflected back on where I was and recorded the following in my journal, entitled, “What I wanted from a gay lifestyle.”

Relationships: I searched for love in all the wrong places. Now I am learning how to build healthy relationships. I am meeting new people at my support group meetings, at my therapy group, and at the sports program. I am also learning how to reach out and build relationships with other men at work and at church.

Romance: I wanted men to love me and care about me, and I tried to feel it through a romantic involvement with them. I now realize that physical involvement destroys any hope of real love and caring. I can develop caring relationships with men, but I can only have a romantic relationship with my wife. I need to date my wife more and spend weekends away occasionally to awaken the romantic feelings we have. We need to go out dancing.

Excitement: In the gay lifestyle, I found new friends and new activities that added excitement to my life. However, I can feel the thrill of exciting activities with male friends, like waterskiing, SCUBA diving, river running, and wind surfing.

Individuality: Involvement in the gay lifestyle was a way to prove that I wasn’t a dull, stereotypical man. I need to find healthy, constructive ways to show my individuality.

Intrigue: The gay lifestyle was exciting because it is a mystery to most of the world. Most people don’t know about it and don’t want to know about it. I enjoyed its mystique. However, there are other ways I can feel that same excitement. I am now working with my church group in a pioneering effort to apply new theories to counseling and support groups to help myself and others find resolutions to the issues in our lives.

Freedom: I want to feel I have freedom to do what I want. As I come to trust myself more, and earn my wife’s trust, I’ll feel less confined and more free. As I bring my actions more in line with my value system, I’ll realize that when I am doing what I want to do I am free.