SSA Questions

This is a compilation of my "Q&A Session" blog posts. To see the individual blog posts, click here.

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).

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.

Question: What is your opinion on the Supreme Court debate on gay marriage?
Answer: I stand with the church and its stance on the definition of marriage. For more on my opinion on the subject, read "Supreme Court Debate".

1 comment:

  1. From a new visitor- Thank you! Such an important message to be shared.


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