Coming Out (of the Church) Bisexual: A Work In Progress
I wrote a blog piece* about the beginning of my journey coming out as queer/gay/bisexual (all apply). I am attracted to both men and women, and it took me many years to come to terms with the entire thing.
In the blog, there’s a large part of my life I didn’t get into and that’s the whole part from Grade 2 – 12, when I went to and grew up in a Christian school and church. Faith and religion were very large parts of my life for years–something that people that know me now, don’t really know about me. Even though it was such a major part of my growing up, it’s not a very happy part to look back on, to be completely honest.
I was outed to the entire school in Grade 2 when I was caught kissing a girl. I was teased mercilessly and eventually had my face smashed into a window. Naturally, my parents switched me to a new school where I started again with a new slate and nobody ever had to know anything. I was a shy, quiet little French girl and I thrived in my new environment. I enjoyed my time at the school, I made so many friends and I became very invested in what the school had to teach about Christianity.
With a great theatre program at the school, I was actively involved from the beginning of school. Through musicals and music classes, I slowly came out of my shell. I used that strength to become a faithful and passionate follower of God. I led worship teams, went to retreats, helped out at youth groups, and spread the ‘Good Word’ around. I wept in His presence. Even though my parents weren’t Christian, it became my life and I was eventually baptized in Grade 11.
I became a ‘Stereotypical Christian’. What I mean by that is, since the church was my life, I truly believed I had it all figured out. I believed that I had the answers and others who weren’t ‘followers’ were #instasinners and if I spent time with them I’d instantly fall into their sinful ways. That made me very popular outside of school as you can imagine. (I hope you felt that sarcasm.) But as I grew older and befriended more people from outside of the school/church, I learnt they often showed more kindness and acceptance to the world — something I often failed to see in the church.
This caused me to question: why were they sinners? They were kind and caring people! This isn’t what we were taught sinners were like. Are they disguised to look good to suck you in? They went against what we were told in school. Some drank on the weekends, swore, had premarital sex, and some even had premarital sex WITH the same sex. *Gasp*. Didn’t they know they were going to hell?
I was raised by the church on the fear that all sin is equal and that murdering a person is equal to loving someone of the same sex. I’m not a murderer. Thus, I must not be gay (straight thinking, I know (no pun intended)). I also liked boys. So I definitely wasn’t gay, right?
Truthfully, I would be filled with anger and frustration when someone who was very obviously gay in the church would live like they were straight. Didn’t they know? It was obvious to everyone else. Why wouldn’t they just come out? We’d love them just as much if they came out. It took me years later to realize that no, it’s not that easy coming out in the church.
Since coming out, I feel such shame for ever thinking I was better and not flawed. Shame for being frustrated and judgemental towards them.
In my second last year of high school, we had a very controversial sermon about ‘Homosexuality and the Church’. It was the first time I had ever heard a Christian standing (or debating) on the subject. It left many people angry and disgusted. I was silent. A couple weeks later our youth pastor, who I had become very close with and looked up to so much, left the church very suddenly and I was lost as to why. I later found out that she came out to the church and decided to silently leave. I can’t exactly imagine it was the most supportive environment.
Things started to crack after that and I noticed the church and school I was so devoted to maybe weren’t practicing all that they said they were. We were told love should be unconditional, but it actually had many conditions. I felt they were contradicting every word they taught us and I was being silenced for it.
I was slowly taken off of the worship teams, student leadership committees, and most of the other students I called friends drifted away. I fell into a deep depression that lasted long into the next couple of years. I felt lost as to who I was after all of these years of devotion, and I was only hurt in the end.
I made the decision to distance myself from the church. I still believed in God, but I simply had to take a break from the people. I wanted to go to the basics — to love everyone equally.
Through this new mentality, I was able to take away the judgements I had towards people and that also reflected how I judged myself. Without these walls, I began baby steps to accepting my affection towards women. It was an incredibly long process. I had to start by not punishing myself every single time I thought about a girl the same way I thought about a boy. I gave up on trying often. Because it took so much work and effort, I would think maybe I wasn’t attracted to them after all. You can’t like both sexes and something instinctual shouldn’t take this much effort, is what I thought.
It was a war of my mind against my heart. It was years of damage done and the only thing convincing me that I wasn’t gay was the years of anger and hatred I felt towards other gay people in my teenage years. It was self-destruction at its finest. I still sometimes feel like I’m not worthy of being queer because of how I used to think.
It took me 4 years after leaving the church to muster up the courage to go on a date with a girl. It took me another year until I was able to openly express my feelings to a girl. To passionately kiss her. And I cried. I cried with relief and joy, but also with shame. I cried with shame because I finally accepted that I was attracted to girls and my life was about to get much harder.
Knowing who I am now, and being open about it, is an incredible relief but it was still years in the process. Luckily, we live in a time where we can be more open and try to be accepted. Being bisexual does makes it all a bit more confusing to others. I’m often hit with the classic line: “it’s just a phase”. It isn’t. It’s a choice of who I love. I choose to love all equally, whatever gender they identify.
To be honest, I don’t know when I’ll be comfortable with it all and be able to love myself with the love I know I deserve. I may not be part of the church now, but I do believe in loving everyone equally is something I try to live by. And so far I am a much happier and relaxed person knowing I am who I want to be. And I am loved for it.
** Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope my story can influence others, especially in the church, to be more understanding of the LGBTQ community. It took me at least 10 different versions of to write this because I felt ashamed of myself. But I hope my vulnerability can shed light to others. So, be kind, and love everyone.
* Here’s a link to my blog piece in hopes in helps others, or you want more insight.
This narrative is a part of our “Out of the Tomb” blog series focused on Christian experiences with gender & sexual diversity.
In the Christian narrative of the resurrection, Jesus enters into the tomb dead and carrying all of humanity’s darkness, fear, hatred, and shame. When he rises from death to life and comes out of the tomb, he leaves all of the darkness behind and steps freely into life. The tomb is the place where everything that is not life is left behind.
For LGBTQ+ Christians and Christian allies, this narrative is an invitation to step OUT OF THE TOMB and find fulfillment, acceptance, and life in the ways in which we have been created in God’s image–including our spirituality, sexuality and gender identity.
Interested in reading more? Check out these other great blogs that are part of the “Out of the Tomb” Series: