In writing my original blog post about my same-sex attraction, I got feedback from a lot of people. Most of it included kind words and support. Other people, with their support, had questions for me. Most of them are common questions about same-sex attraction, so I decided to turn it into a blog post. Keep in mind that the answers in this post are MY answers. Same-sex attraction is a very complicated subject and we do not know near everything about it. With that in mind, let’s get started.
Question: How long have you know that you were attracted to the same sex?
Answer: My earliest recollection of being attracted to another man was in seventh grade when I was attracted to one of my teachers. However, I can see inklings of SSA before that, but never enough to have made me think that I was “gay” or that I was different.
Question: Do you think it was something that you were born with?
Answer: No. I know some people will be not agree with this and may be offended (because of how sensitive this topic is) but there is no evidence that homosexuality is innate. In fact, there is evidence that it isn’t innate. However, based on how many pairs of siblings I’ve seen on North Star, I do believe there is a genetic component that makes one more likely to develop same-sex attraction, given the right environment. I like the way my therapist has described it, that SSA is an adaptation my body has developed in order to try and meet the needs I have for male connection in whatever way possible (which means I have to find other ways to feel that connection with men, besides sexual ways).
Question: Is your attraction exclusively to males, or are females also included?
Answer: I have been attracted to women (Hallelujah!) in the past. I would say, however, that my attraction to men is stronger and more frequent. Also, I would say that my attraction to women comes differently than my attraction to men. For example, like anyone with eyes, I can notice when a woman is beautiful. However, it’s rare that I’ll see a girl and have her “turn my head” (though it has happened before). My attraction to women typically develops as I get to know them. For example, there have been a few girls that I’ve gotten to know and become good friends with (I’ve never had a problem being able to relate to girls and become friends with them) and then suddenly, while talking to them, I realize “Oh… she’s really cute.” I guess you could say that as a general rule, my attraction to women is more personality based. On the other hand, my attraction to men is almost always a physical appeal.
Question: Does this mean you’re leaving the church?
Answer: I’d hoped my blog post had been clear enough when I wrote it that there wouldn’t be any question about this. However, someone had this concern… No, I am not leaving the church. Though I can find it hard at church sometimes (especially with the constant push about dating and marriage, here at BYU), I am not leaving the church. I have a testimony of the gospel, of the restoration, and of the Atonement… in fact, my SSA has helped me develop a better, stronger testimony of the Atonement. If anything, since my “coming out”, I have a stronger commitment to stay in the church and to help it be a more welcoming place for anyone with trials, whether it be SSA, depression, or anything (which includes all of us).
That's all for the questions today. If you have your own questions, about me or about SSA, please feel free to ask, either in the comments here or you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I’m going to end off here with my testimony. I know that the gospel path is the only way to find lasting happiness. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and cares for me. It’s because of His love that I have friends who exhibit that Christ-like love to me. I have a testimony of the Atonement, of its healing and strengthening power. Through my trials and my struggles, I have learned that it is through the Atonement that it gets better.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
(this is me, by the Sacred Grove, this past summer)