Question: Doesn’t being “gay” mean you’re acting on your same-sex attraction? Isn’t that the implication of the word?
Answer: The simple answer is yes. That’s the implication. The complex answer is that it’s a word. In the end, we have our meanings behind words that may or may not match up with others’ meanings of that word. Personally, I choose not to call myself gay… ok, yes, sometimes I do, but I don’t consider myself gay… it’s just a lot easier sometimes to say “gay” instead of “same-sex attraction” (my friend David hit on that point really well on a blog post he did over two years ago). And I’ll be honest, sometimes I’ll use the word gay to catch people’s eye when I share a post on Facebook. I promise; it works. For me though, no, I do not consider myself gay. However, the label is arbitrary to some. For example, Josh Weed refers to himself as gay, even though he’s married to a woman. My friend Benjamin calls himself gay, though he has no plans to leave the church or anything of the sort. In the end, here’s the thing: “gay” is a just word and it often changes meaning depending on who’s using it, so know who you’re talking to and clarify the use of the word if necessary.
Question: How do you feel SSA plays into your eternal identity? What do you feel it will be like after this life? Will your desires be the same?
Answer: The short answer to this question is that, in my understanding, I will not be attracted to men anymore after this life. Some people counter this belief with Alma 34:34, but I’ll counter that counter with Alma 41:5. Honestly, I feel that my SSA is both a trial and a blessing in this life. It’s a trial because I’m tempted to act out with men sexually. It’s a blessing because I enjoy a non-sexual closeness with other men that most straight guys don’t, because of the homophobic mindset of our culture. I thoroughly enjoy tight hugs (not bro-hugs, with a double pat on the back before letting go, but real hugs) from other men and having another man’s arm around me at times. After this life, the SSA won’t be necessary for me to feel that closeness with other men (because there won’t be the homophobic stigma anymore). In the end, it is a refining characteristic. It has helped me develop charity, empathy, and a degree of humility. I believe it has made me more Christ-like. In that way, I suppose it will never leave me. However, the sexual attraction to men will not be a trial for me after this life anymore. I desire righteousness, so that’s what I will receive if I live worthily.
Please send me any questions you have about SSA! I want to answer them! :) Either leave them in the comments or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!