|Posted on May 19, 2017 at 2:05 PM|
Some might not like to hear what I am saying, but it needs to be said. No wonder the ex-gay (or "purity" or whatever you call it)-movement has so little impact on society! Look at its "leaders": They brag with scientific credentials in psychiatry and/or psychology while most have no credentials at all or at best low-level ones. Extremely few really are psychiatrists. Others point out their theological "achievements". It is not an achievement when you were appointed pastor by some small church - which would not be recognized by 99% of Christianity! Others try to make their own name big, forgetting who really set them free. Then you have those who studied theology or whatever else and now claim to be expert on any given field. Most of their "knowledge" comes from stuff they have read somewhere. Finally you have those who travel across the globe and write books about how to find freedom from same-sex attractions, how to look at them from a Christian and scientific point of view, how to deal with them from a political perspective - you get the picture. The "I-know-everything"-types. However, if you look at their private lives things do not look so shiny - they might be divorced or married a divorced partner, which makes their cohabitation a form of adultry no better than any homosexual act.
So what am I getting at? That we are all liars and hypocrites?
I can't look into someone's heart, so it is not up to me to say that. But! we should stick at what we truly know about and not try to beat the world in areas where it is better than we will ever be. God does not need credentials. Your own life story is worth a whole lot more if you present it - and yourself - authentically! Don't try to brush it up, to make it look better. Don't push your own agenda, but God's.
As Doug from Homosexuals Anonymous used to say: "The only thing that keeps us from finding true freedom is the belief that it can be done!"
He sometimes told me how they started off in 1976, having no fancy psychology books, but the Bible. Yet to this day I have not met a man with a stronger faith than Dr. Douglas McIntyre, who passed away in 2015.
He did not put human science down, but he gave credit where credit was due.
Finally, at the end of the day, we need a love bigger than whatever our hearts and bodies held on to so far. A love that can give eternal life.
Director Homosexuals Anonymous
|Posted on January 10, 2016 at 1:35 PM|
A Happy Ending to my Daughter’s Situational Lesbianism
by Hope (Posted Nov 2011)
For two long years I dreamed about being able to write this letter. My story is that of a mother who fought with the proverbial "nails and teeth" to "rescue" her now 40 year old daughter from the tentacles of what I believe was a woman looking to take advantage of the tragedy my daughter had suffered.
Since her days in High school, my daughter Leeron was what you'd call a very attractive and popular teenager. Girls wanted to be her friends, boys wanted to date her. She was popular and well accepted by her peers. Leeron is not only beautiful but also smart; she was always an overachiever in school. Not once during her growing up years however, did I get any indication or suspicion that she might have same sex sexual inclinations.
When she met and married Shai in 2001, we all shared their happiness. Leeron and Shai built a beautiful family in a few short years; G-d blessed them with four beautiful children. But then something terrible happened, Shai was diagnosed with colon cancer and all their dreams and hopes for a beautiful future came crushing down. He passed away in 2008. That was one of those instances in which people try to make sense of something very painful and ask themselves, why? Why did this tragedy happen to such a nice, complete, and happy family?
The following two years were very challenging for the young family. Shai fought for his life like a lion. For Leeron and the children, watching him getting consumed by the cancer day by day was like living a nightmare. Leeron was now the only bread winner in the family. In her desperation, she clung to her family and her work friends for moral support. She was devastated by life's circumstances and sought comfort and support wherever she could find it.
Maureen was a colleague at the company where Leeron worked. It was only a few months later (after Shai's death) that I noticed something new going on in my daughter's life. At first I thought she was dating a male colleague but soon enough the shocking reality revealed itself in its full colors. Her "friend" was a WOMAN. Once I got over the initial shock, I decided to approach my daughter, questioning her reasoning over her decision to experience a same sex emotional and sexual relationship.
Leeron never came clear about the facts. She did not care to explain nor to reason with her own mother. She felt that she had gone through so much pain and suffering, that nobody had the right to dictate her how to live her life. I could only assume certain things, based upon the advice and reading materials provided to me by JONAH. And, I was determined to discover what caused this loving and devoted wife and mother of 4 children to enter into a lesbian relationship and to also do whatever I could to help her overcome this relationship.
Deep down, she was dealing with a sense of emotional neediness, having spent so much emotion on Shai's care over the last two years. She felt empty and lost without him. Along came a new-found friend who preyed upon my bewildered, frightened and angry daughter; they shared a mutual confidence level while exploring their deepest feelings. At the same time, however, I believe Maureen, the new friend, used the confidences shared by my daughter as a way to meet her own emotional needs for attachment to a woman while simultaneously providing Leeron with what appeared to be empathetic and unconditional love for the pain she was suffering. In this process, Maureen subtly encouraged my daughter to find love, acceptance and satisfaction in her lesbian lifestyle. I also believe she encouraged my daughter to distance herself from others like me who would or could have voiced an opinion about this new life she was embarking upon. With Maureen's encouragement, she had consciously alienated herself from our entire family. Leeron did not want to be confronted about what she was doing nor to be criticized. And, she would not communicate with me about her deep wounds. Bottom line, I believe that Maureen deliberately encouraged Leeron to be emotionally dependent upon her.
One of the things the therapist Janelle Hallman said (on the JONAH web site) really resonated with me: “When another woman comes along that triggers a sense of familiarity or presents herself to be a strong and competent woman, the lesbian literally wants to lose herself in this woman, hoping to find rest, receive the care and nurture she craves and to finally appropriate, albeit vicariously, an identity.” I saw Leeron feeling totally reliant on this other woman, both for safety and in order to continue to function. This is distinguished from an emotionally healthy relationship where two people know who they are and recognize themselves as individuals. This “emotional dependency” is characteristic of lesbian relationships and often is the consequence of a woman's deep fear of or inability to sustain intimacy.
Another relevant factor became evident from a different article I saw on the JONAH web site. Therapist Diane Eller-Boyko (who is also an ex-lesbian) wrote, “In falling in love with another woman, [Leeron] is really seeking to connect with herself…. A woman is [often] drawn to other women because she seeks heart and soul connection." Or, in Leeron's case, I believe my daughter was trying to replenish a heart and soul connection that was depleted or was no longer visible to her through the years of Shai’s illness. In this process, such women often reject their own femininity and effectively end up seeking it through another. “In seeking to unite with [another] women, she is trying to unite with herself, and this type of union will not, ultimately, heal the psyche. With another woman, she will have only the illusion of wholeness. The shadow, representing those real developmental needs that were never met, will continue to haunt her.”
During this time, I was still worried about the mental health of my 4 young grandchildren after they lost their beloved father, but now I had to also deal with their stories about what was going on at home. One time I witnessed a bitter argument between 2 of the siblings about whether Maureen was a "boy" or a "girl". My life became hell on earth. Not only was I still grieving for my beloved son-in-law but now I had to worry about the psychological implications of my daughter’s actions upon my grandchildren.
These kind of situations teach a human being that we are stronger than we think we are. To me this situation felt like "the end of the world" but I still survived. I took comfort in praying, sometimes softly and sometimes desperately. I'll never forget that time when I felt so desolated that I needed to be alone and away from the concerned eyes of my own husband. I locked myself in the bathroom and got on my knees in prayer... Some of you might say that it is not the end of the world, but for me it was. As a religious person, I truly believe that the SSA condition should be fought because it is inconsistent with G-d’s commandments for us. Many rabbis have commented how everyone is capable of transforming and that psychological counseling can be immensely beneficial to someone dealing with this condition. (The most recent pronouncement to this effect is from the noted Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky in Hakirah: the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought, Vol. 12, Fall, 2011.)
I truly believe that G-d heard my prayers and took pity on my misery. Something miraculous happened! About a year ago, Leeron met David and the rest is history. David is a wonderful man who cares enough about Leeron to be willing to help her raise her 4 children. I am unaware whether Leeron had the courage to tell David about her experience with lesbianism. (I believe my daughter knows, deep inside, that her relationship with Maureen was wrong.) I hope she informs David about her past activity as I fear he may find out through a third party or from the children, and finding out that way could destroy the trust and love that has been built up between them. Without a doubt, however, I am extremely happy with her relationship with David . My prayers have been answered. Moreover, David is helping her shed her grief, anger, and loneliness. He is assisting her in tearing down the walls of distrust she had built after the loss of her husband.
As a religious person, I recognize how part of our hunger for G-d, that we as humans seek, is to truly experience our inner-most selves, our souls if you will. Lesbianism can provide a false sense of connected souls but only authentic man-woman relationships provide a sense of completion as well as a connection of souls that truly represents a gift provided to us by G-d.
I got my life back. My grandchildren are happy again. No one can substitute for a real father, but a loving stepfather is the next best thing. And, my daughter appears to be in a relatively good space. Her lesbian affair is behind her and she appears very happy with David. She is still somewhat detached from her family, most likely because of the guilt and shame she may still be feeling. I continue to pray that she will engage in counseling to understand where she came from and where she is going and in the process to totally reconnect with all who truly love her.
Why am I telling my story? Because I am convinced that among same sex couples, there are those who got there because of their own difficult life circumstances. I have seen in my community that some lesbians take satisfaction and pride in "converting" otherwise completely "normal" women into lesbians. What a better way to obtain this than to prey on a distressed woman who is going through a tragedy in her life. I believe that my daughter was so vulnerable that any kind of "gentle" attention attracted her to the attention giver. Thank G-d, Leeron was able to see the light, and walk away from lesbianism.
And one more thing, during this whole ordeal, JONAH, was a real source of help and guidance to me. I wish to thank Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Berk from the bottom of my heart for their guidance and compassion and also wish to have them share with their readers this one story with a happy ending!
|Posted on January 7, 2016 at 4:05 PM|
How I Told My Fiancée about my SSA
Written by Michael
(Posted October 2014)
I just had the most amazing experience of my life. It was worth telling my fiancée about my SSA just for the experience itself.
The girl who I am dating (her name is xxxx) is a truly amazing woman! I took her to Central Park and we went to the Lobe Boathouse. We went rafting for an hour and it was so beautiful. Great place for a date. (highly recommended). Then I took out the towels and kosher food I brought with us. I made a beautiful picnic and we ate lunch there. Then, I went for the "dive."
I started by telling her how beautiful I thought she was and about all the amazing things I have seen in her since I met her. I told her that I trust her completely and that I am only sharing this information because I love her so much. I felt it important and wanted her to see the *REAL* me, and thus understand the true source for my growth.
I started by telling her a summary of all that I had shared with her already. Then I went on to tell her about the sexual abuse that I went through at ages 7-10. As I was explaining this, she started to tear, and I asked her what the tears were about. She responded "that must have been so hard for you". We spoke about the abuse for 20 minutes and I reassured her that I am no longer bothered by it because I have done my work around that. She responded with awe.
Finally, I told her what all my issues resulted in. I said that I had developed attraction to other males and that at one point I was totally lost in how to deal with these feelings. I went to my rabbi, and he referred me to a JONAH referral therapist. I have been working on my "issues" for the past 2 and half years. I told her about all my struggles and she listened intently. After I had finished, she responded with the following " it must have been so hard for you to tell me that. Thank you so much for being honest and opening up to me. The fact the you are being so open with me and trusting me with your struggles makes me more attracted to you than I have ever been before. I am so impressed that you can be so emotionally open with me". She then went on to ask me questions about my therapy. She asked me to repeat the main core issues underlying SSA and to explain how it applied to my life. She had already met my family twice and gotten to know their personalities a bit. After I had told her everything, she told me "now it all makes sense".
She totally "got me" guys. I was totally amazed at her sincerity and understanding. She kept emphasizing how happy she was that I was honest with her, and that it would have been a big slap in her face if she found out after marriage some other way. She now knows my struggles and is willing to stand by my side.
I also spoke to her about my social work degree and the field of interest I am planning on working in (SSA and Sexual abuse). She responded "of course! this is something you went through, and it would be a shame if you didn't utilize your unique gifts, understanding, and knowledge to help those who are struggling". My fiancée and I have a meeting with Enrique, my therapist from JONAH next week. she is excited to meet the man who i have learned so much from about myself for the past year. (And of course to meet my mentor Arthur at the same time).
Basically, to follow up,I told her to take her time on things, And I encouraged her to meet my Rabbi as well. She told me that she has no concerns and because she trusts me fully, she does not need to speak with anyone else. She told me that her trust in me before I told her was 100%,but now it's 150%. She saw my "GOLD" guys! Its amazing what authenticity feels like!
I can finally be *ME.* I don't have to live with a double-bind. I feel alive. I am only 24 years old; yet, I feel like I have come to place of well being such as a healthy 80 year old man feels. Thank you to all of you who took the time to pray for me. I'm sure everyone created a stir up in Heaven for me. You guys rock!
Postscript: Before their marriage, Michael and his bride to be went to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky for a blessing where they fully disclosed the issues with which he was dealing. Rabbi Kamenetsky was delighted to provide such a blessing for a happy and healthy marriage.
This email was written to others in JONAH during 2011. The writer is now happily married, has a healthy child, and is helping others heal as a licensed mental health professional.
|Posted on January 6, 2016 at 9:00 AM|
An Epiphany About My SSA: The Relationship Between My Acting Out and My Need For a Best Friend.
Written By: Nathan
(Posted Jan 2011)
First, let me introduce myself: My name is Nathan, I am married with 3 children. In my life, I have constantly “needed” or at least sought out a best friend. One good friend. That's all I needed, that's all I wanted. Of course, after a while, my need became obsessive. During the time I actually had such a friendship, my same-sex attraction (SSA) was virtually nil. When I didn’t have these intimate connections, I was more prone to acting out with other men.
I always focused on and looked for this best friend rather than choosing a larger circle of men with whom to have relationship. My effort was to have a few deep friendships that provided an emotional connection. Ultimately such friendships did not last. This then left me feeling emotionally drained and craving to replenish this feeling of closeness I lost. I would then look elsewhere to fill the void and start all over again. For several years, I have been trying to figure out why I had this repetitive need to find this one best friend.
When I first joined JONAH (www.jonahweb.org) several years ago, I kept telling myself that I didn't seem to fit the mold of those with SSA. I chose to not engage in therapy. After all, the classic risk factors or causes didn’t seem to apply to me. The story I told myself was that I never had issues with my peers; and, that I was close with my father, even though emotionally he wasn't demonstrative. Deep down, I told myself that I “knew” how he felt about me: I believed that he loved me and was proud of me.
So the only issue that seemed to fit the risk factors or causes concerning my early childhood was sexual involvement with an older male that I never accepted as (and to a large degree still don't) characterize as sexual abuse. I was a willing and eager participant in the activity and I never felt bad about it. (Please don't try to convince me that it was “abuse” –even though I was young-- because at this point it would be counter productive.)
This past weekend I attended a Call of the Shofar mens experiential weekend in Israel (www.calloftheshofar.org). While working on some of my issues there, I developed a theory about why I constantly looked for a best friend. While working on my issues, I was able to get in touch with my feelings and realized that although I had a close relationship with my father, a major part of that relationship was him teaching me and my siblings how to do work around the house that involved fixing things. I wasn't very good at it, and when I would mess up my father would yell at me. Eventually he stopped trying to teach me how to do the "men’s work" and I was in turn relegated to cleaning up after my siblings and preparing lunch. What came to me during the weekend work was a recognition of the deep pain of this childhood experience and such understanding brought about some major clarity: My SSA was caused by my father giving up on me, relegating me to “woman’s work,” and not teaching and mentoring me with the patience and understanding that I felt I needed.
I realize now that I felt like a failure because my father gave up on trying to teach me how to do the "men's work" around the house. This in turn has led to a lifetime of low self-confidence. As my self-confidence waned in childhood, I developed a sexual relationship with an older boy. Like I said earlier, I never considered the situation abusive. However, what came to me during the weekend processes was the interconnection between the early sexual activity and my perceptions about my father’s put down. I began to realize that my sexual activity was my psyche’s way of compensating for this perceived inadequacy. I attempted to satisfy another man, to make him happy and proud of me. Indeed, whenever I felt down, I would seek out a man to please so I could feel that I WAS A SOMEBODY. In some cases, I sexualized it; in other cases, I simply sought out a best friend. Either way, I engaged in what some psychologists call a “repetition compulsion"—a continual recreating of a past traumatic event. In other words, continue to attempt in the here and now to recreate the traumatic failure of my father relegating me to “woman’s work” by seeking out masculine approval in the hope of a better outcome.
Of course it didn't work because I quickly went back to being me with all of my insecurities and perceived inadequacies. I also recognized during the weekend that whenever I had this best friend (non-sexual) or sexualized relationship, I was substituting that person as an idealized version for the attention, affection, and approval (three A’s) that I was seeking and needed from my father. These needs, call them core needs or developmental needs, went unmet. And, my unfilled yearning for fulfillment of these needs, coupled with my detachment from my sense of masculinity through these childhood incidents with my father, expressed itself as unhealthy attachments to another male—whether it be sexualized or simply by clinging to someone as a best friend.
This led me to a further epiphany. When I have an emotional relationship with this one friend that I so desperately need, I am using him as a father figure. I realized that I became obsessive in my need to be in touch with him, to know what is going on with him, and having him know about me. I needed to please him and required his affirmation and love. I currently have such a friend, but I find that if something changes, like I don't speak to him as often as I did, or I don't think he gave me the affirmation I was seeking, I begin to panic that I did something wrong and fear that he isn't going to be there for me anymore. So while I know that this type of relationship isn't healthy, at least I have come to an understanding of where it all stems from.
Regardless of the symptom I utilize to decrease my anxiety and father wounds, and whether I work to continually reduce my acting out and simultaneously make efforts to reduce my compulsion to find a best friend, I understand it can take time. However, the major step is the first one I have taken---which is to understand the common story behind my SSA and my obsessive compulsion to always find a best friend. This insight represents a huge awakening! I then need to accept this pattern for what it is: a pattern I built up a long time ago which enabled me to move forward in my life. The insight also allows me to see this pattern for what it is not: the thinking that I was born this way as many elements of society continually preach or a belief that my SSA is so ingrained that it can never be overcome. Baruch Hashem [Blessed be G-d], I understand the impact all this has had upon my life and what I need to do to continually diminish these symptoms until they are practically gone. Rather than continually recreate the traumatic failure of the non-acceptance of my masculinity by my father, I now realize I have the ability to develop healing relationships which offer me the chance to do in adulthood what I could not do as a child, that is, to acknowledge and grieve the loss I felt from my father's actions while stopping my attempts to “import” happiness and fulfillment from another human being.
I still have major work to do, but I am on my way.
|Posted on January 2, 2015 at 12:40 AM|
From some of our members:
For those of you who embraced the gay life: What do you think was the reason for you to do that? What was the big hook?
„Personally talking, as far as I can remember, I was looking for an ideal relationship with a guy at my age. Before living the gay life, the boys at my age never behave to me like being equal. My self esteem was extremely low and it seemed to me like a dream if one of those boys who rejected me wanted to have a love affair with me.
Of course that kind of love affair never appeared. Instead of that , other kind of sexual relationships came to my way, especially those who are motivated from sexual pleasure. “
“I was isolated at the time. I did not realize there were other options. I did not know I could make choices. I blamed God at the time (Who is now Our Father to me). I did not know where to go for help. I had no guidance. I came from a single parent back ground. I grow up in an inner city hostile, violent ghetto. I was lost. I was ashamed to talk about what happened to me. I was just a small child. The people who could have helped me didn't. I needed help but did not know where to go. Then the stigma, the shame, the embarrassment, the ridicule was a complete attack on my broken little self. Who could I talk to; not even my Mom. I was too ashamed, embarrassed and scared I was just a small developing boy. I was already hurt & broken. My only options were suicide and drugs so i thought. Later I went to a gay bar and met new people. I started talking, having fun, drinking all my problems away. Made new friends, discover a whole new world the gay ghetto even had lovers. Then I go to sleep with drugs and wake up the next day and start over again. I was lost with no where to go.“
|Posted on November 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM|
We just got this one:
Hello! My Name is Thomas K. I am from Zurich, Switzerland. I am an Ex-Gay. I am pleased and at the same time surprised somehow to see here on Facebook that by far I am not the only one, because in my real life I am looked at as if I came frome another planet when I tell to someone being an Ex-Gay. I do not know if you understand German language; perhaps you do and so will read the text I wrote about my way becoming an Ex:
Der Weg war hart und schmerzvoll. Die Kraft, ihn zu begehen, fand ich erst, nachdem aus verschwommener, wertloser Gewohnheitsgläubigkeit wirklicher Glaube geworden war. Durch ihn fand ich letztlich zu tiefer Überzeugung und quellklarem Empfindungswissen. Und damit gleichzeitig zu einer so kraftvollen, lebendigen und mächtigen Hilfe, die rational zu beschreiben mir als unmöglich erscheint. Heute, da ich meine Vergangenheit ungeschönt im Lichte der Wahrheit sehe und mich von den mich niederhaltenden Fesseln befreit weiss, erscheint mir der Mensch, der zu werden ich durch den falschen Weg der Homosexualität zugelassen hatte und der ich ausserhalb meines innersten seelischen Kerns geworden war, zu einem beträchtlichen Teile äusserst fremd. Mir ist dabei, als würde ich auf die von mir verlassene Hülle einer menschlichen Gestalt zurückblicken; zwar wissend, dass ich sie ausfüllte und dennoch befremdet ob dieser Tatsache.
Ich weiss, wovon ich schreibe, denn ich habe es 38 Jahre lang erlebt und beobachtet: Homosexuelle haben den Kern ihres männlichen Selbst unzureichend entwickelt. Auf dieser Entwicklungsblockade beruht eine unheilvolle Störung in ihrer Persönlichkeit, die sich auf vielfältigste und unterschiedlichste Weise bemerkbar machen kann. Aufgrund eines zu schwach entwickelten männlichen Selbst besteht kein tieferes, männliches Identitätsempfinden; auch die attraktivsten äusseren Männlichkeitsattribute vermögen daran nichts zu ändern. Sie sehnen sich deshalb nach der für sie „geheimnisvollen“, da ihrem eigenen Kern fremden Männlichkeit heterosexueller Männer, die sie eben deshalb erotisch in Bann zieht, weil sie diese in sich selbst nicht empfinden. Ihr rastloses getrieben Sein, wofür sich die Bezeichnung „Cruising“ ergab, hat so gut wie nichts mit einer Suche nach Zuwendung, Partnerschaft und Liebe zu tun. Sie nennen es zuweilen selbstironisch die Suche nach dem Traumprinzen, die Suche nach dem Supermann – also nach dem, was es nicht geben kann. In der Tat – was gesucht wird, kann es nicht geben, denn die Suche beinhaltet einen durch die psychosexuelle Fehlentwicklung entstandenen, unbewussten Drang nach Erlösung von der eigenen Unmännlichkeit durch sexuelle Kontakte mit anderen Männern, wenngleich in der Regel zwangsläufig solchen, denen dasselbe Männlichkeitsdefizit eigen ist. Ein Orgasmus kann Erlösung dieser Art nicht bringen und so geht die Suche, die naturgemäss erfolglos bleiben muss, da der unerkannte Ursprung des Problems nicht auf der körperlichen Ebene liegt und sich - unter anderem - auf Letzterer bloss auswirkt, danach unvermindert weiter. Es ist, als würde mit jedem Orgasmus ein noch stärkerer Geist aus der Flasche gelassen, der die Betreffenden mit den Jahren in eine zusehends unersättlicher werdende sexuelle Begierde versetzt, die unstillbar bleiben muss, vergleichbar mit lauter positiven Energiepolen, die sich lediglich hochzuschaukeln, den unabänderlichen Gesetzen der Natur entsprechend aber niemals aufzuheben vermögen. So wird zusehends der Weg ständigen Suchens nach einem Phantom zum suchtgewordenen Ziel, versklavt sich fast unmerklich das Seelische - und damit Eigentliche eines Menschen – den entfesselten Trieben des Körpers und wird von Letzterem beherrscht anstatt umgekehrt. Wie immer ein solches Leben von aussen besehen dem ahnungslosen und oberflächlichen Betrachter erscheinen mag und in Medien dargestellt wird – hip, aufregend, bunt, selbstbestimmt – es ist ein in sich unfreier, unerfüllter, glückloser Weg, der wie in einer vorgegebenen, naturgemässen Spirale in jeder Hinsicht nur in eine Richtung führen kann: Nach unten. Es ist der luziferische Paradeweg – die Verführung zum körperlichen Ausleben und zum Kompensationsversuch einer im seelisch-geistigen Bereich bestehenden Schwäche anstelle ihres Erkennens und Überwindens in dem Bereich, wo sie entstand.
(Used with permission)
|Posted on November 2, 2014 at 8:25 AM|
Before I share my thoughts, I think it's best to tell you a little about myself. I was born in 1961 in the state of Florida and remained there until 1982 when I left for the army. Being raised by my mom, a strong black woman, I had to take on many roles when she was at work: cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping on occasion and taking care of my 2 younger sisters. Most of these roles one would call feminine roles or women's work, but I never looked at it that way; maybe it's because it's all I knew. When I think back, I realize that I also picked up a few feminine mannerisms:
*Holding my school books up to my chest instead of down by my side like a guy should,
*Getting into a car butt first instead of leg first,
*Making sure my nails were long and clean,
*Crossing my legs at the ankles,
*Taking an interest in interior design & fashion and
*The dreaded "prissy" walk.
Not one of these occurred to me as being wrong or improper for a male. Again, it was all I knew. Being that I had no strong male role models in my life, I never played sports or had interest in them. The same is true for working on cars or any other "manly" jobs.
On May 5th of 1979, I had sex for the first time with a woman (notice how I remembered the date there?). Being that I never had "the talk" with anyone and I wasn't allowed to attend the school's sex education classes, I really didn't know what to do or expect. I knew absolutely nothing about foreplay or lube or condoms. Needless to say, it could've been better. A few days after that, I had this overwhelming urge to try sex with a guy. (I think this stems from being forced to take group showers for the first time in grade 8 after gym class.) Not knowing where to go or what to look for, I just thought about it. Then one day while waiting on a bus to go home, I saw this guy looking at me. We started talking and he suggested we go somewhere to have sex. And I must say, I enjoyed it. I really did, but now I was torn between what was expected of me as a black male and what I wanted and was easier to get, so I tried sex with the same woman again.
During the summer, I kept going out looking for sex with men. In August of 1979, I'd become a Christian. And during the first few months, the guilt of having these feelings for men was overwhelming. It just felt wrong. I wasn't sure what to do. When you grow up as a black male in the Bible Belt, there's a lot of pressure to fit a certain image. You're supposed to be strong and very masculine. That wasn't me by any stretch of the imagination. I wanted to be with men, but also wanted to live the life of a good Christian. There was so much conflict within me.
I tried talking to my then best friend about what I was going through; hoping he could help in some way. He didn't know what to say to me, so he talked to the singles pastor about it. The singles pastor came to me and told me that I needed to leave the church. All I was doing was seeking help...advice, but instead, I was turned away from the very people who I thought would accept me and help guide me through this struggle.
For months, I would leave home giving my family the impression that I was still going to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I was "dating" a girl from church at the time who knew of my struggle. The following summer, I went down to the church to see her off the church's summer camp. The security guards at the church called police and had me escorted off the property. It was truly embarrassing. After that, I stopped pretending to attend church. Even though I wasn't going anymore, the desire to be close to God was strong, but also was my desire to have sex with guys. I'd go to malls, parks, clubs and anywhere else I could think of to find it. The thing is, after I'd have sex with them, I felt overwhelmingly guilty about it and would buy Christian music immediately after to help relieve the guilt. The more sex I had, the more music I bought. Needless to say, I'd become a regular at the Christian music store.
For the next couple of years, I kept going back and forth between sex with guys and the Christian music store. One day I decided to go into the army. My thought was it'd make me more of a real man and I wouldn't have feelings for them, but for women. It worked for a while, but I found myself doing the same old thing. Over the years, I'd joined 2 more churches and explained my situation to each, but again I was rejected instead of reaching out to help me. My faith in Christians, God and church was thrown out the window. I went on a 4 year sex binge.
One thing I couldn't understand was how could all these churches be such hypocrites? For years I'd go to church and see other guys who were effeminate--guys who obviously had to be gay--singing in the choir, working as a choir director or playing the piano. Why are these guys allowed to remain in the church, but a guy like me who's actively seeking help/support for this gets turned away time after time after time? The only thing I could come up with is maybe I should've just kept it on the "DL" (the down-low). For those who aren't familiar with that term, it means that certain guys in certain ethnic groups have sex with other guys but don't look at themselves as being gay. It's just sex. Two of the most prominent ethnic groups are the Black and Latino cultures. It's been going on for decades and decades and most of the churches have just turned a blind eye to it all. It was true back in the '70s/'80s and it's still true today. The church body would rather ignore what's going on instead of reaching out to guys/women (of all ages) dealing with SSA (same-sex attraction) or struggling to get away from homosexuality. And the sadest part of it all, those sneaking around hooking up/having sex, don't see anything wrong with it. And without strong leadership in their lives, it'll just continue. What does this say about their faith or the guidance from other Christians?
I have to ask myself, "Why do we allow this to happen?" They have groups for gambling addiction, alcohol and drug abuse, support for those who have committed adultery, and so on, but THEY ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS EVER GROWING PART OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. As one who has seen the effects first-hand, and have heard of others who are afraid to share because of being ostracized, it's very evident that the need is there for support, encouragement and the love of Christ to these hurting and lonely people.
When will the church open its eyes and ears to see the damage they are causing amongst its own? Every day more and more people go to work, school or family functions pretending everything is hunky dorey when it's not. Most of them go home alone and spend hours crying because of the pain and rejection they deal with. Some even go to the extreme and commit suicide because they don't know who they can trust with any of this. I myself, tried suicide over 50 times. The need for help is real. The need for love is real. The numbers grow daily and so does the pain. Wake up church. Wake up!!
The desire...the need for acceptance in the Christian community, with family and friends is so strong that those dealing with SSA or struggling to leave homosexuality, that many would rather give the appearance that they're happy in a heterosexual relationship or at least looking to be in one when the actuality is they're miserable inside. Sometimes the SSA becomes so strong that it ears away at them, but they're willing to tough it out as long as humanly possible because of all the pressure placed on them. They go to family functions or get-togethers with their friends who are married or dating and think things like: "I wish I could be in a relationship like this." or "Will I ever have a family of my own?" The world, especially that of the Christian community, gives the impression that one isn't whole unless they're married and have a family. That couldn't be further from the truth. Many a person has shown how productive, successful and happy they can be living a life of singleness, but many of the Christians in our lives insist on fixing us up and/or making comments about when we're going to get married, especially to men in ethnic cultures because it's expected of them. If you're not married, especially at a certain age, something's wrong with you. It's completely unfair! Again, I say, wake up!
I lived with sexual addiction, depression, anxiety, loneliness and so much more for almost 3 decades, but that's all behind me now. The last time I was with a guy sexually was March 26, 2008 and haven't regretted it once. Sure, there are times when I reminisce about it all, but I wouldn't go back to it for a minute. God has done some great things in my life since putting all that behind me:
*Given me a great church family
*Opened doors for me to share my story with others without feeling afraid or ashamed
*Finally found true Christian male friends (something I longed for for years) and
*Given me the opportunity to work with other guys dealing with SSA and/or trying to leave homosexuality and even straight guys dealing with porn and masturbation addiction.
As one who'll be 53 in a couple of days, I feel closer to God more now than I ever have. Do I regret any of the stuff I did? Sure I do; at least most of it. But you know, it's made me who I am now.
Those struggling with SSA or homosexuality should be loved, not turned away. The latter has being going on for far too long. Why does the church body insist on judging those who aren't like them--who make them feel uncomfortable? Christ talked to AND died for the lame, the broken, the hurt, the sinner. We are ALL those people. Don't forget that.
2 November 2014
|Posted on October 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM|
FLIGHT FROM PAIN:
JOURNEY INTO AND OUT OF TRANSEXUALITY THROUGH CHRIST
Bio: Susan T. is the youngest of three girls born and still resides in the eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. Gender Identity Confusion began when she was a toddler, continuing even when she made Jesus Saviour of her life in 1980. In the early 90's she enrolled in Another Chance Ministries (Marjorie Hopper - Director) as Steve. During this programme, Jesus became Lord of her life and with the power of God beside her began her healing journey. Susan was a pastor for a short time, volunteered in various committees such as Another Chance Ministries. She has been helping in many organizations such as 100 Huntley Street, Vancouver Challenge (Teen Challenge), and various street missions. She is an itinerate evangelist (Phillippines, Indonesia, Canada, Caribbean) and itinerate worship leader.
After taking a sabbatical from ex-gay ministry she began being connected with Exodus Global Alliance in Canada and she is now being used by the Lord to show that though going through the journey to understand Gender Identity Confusion and walk in truth of who she is may come through overcoming some painful steps, it is worth it. And now walks in freedom.
I accepted the Lord as Saviour in July 1980 @ 16 yrs old. He knew where I was but He was waiting for me to see Him. Though born a girl, most of my childhood was filled with my mother implying that I was not a typical Japanese girl & didn't belong. I didn't like what girls were supposed to like, etc. This started my self identification as "I must be a boy" starting in toddler ages. Meanwhile there was always a nagging feeling that my father was missing out because he didn't have a son. The words I chose to embrace from my mother were, “if you were a boy,” etc. or “you're just like your father.” I tried to ignore the words & feelings given from my mother.
When I was 5 our family, except for my dad, went on a trip to Japan from Canada.
At that time people who were in the plane’s boarding area could see their loved ones waiting for takeoff. I remember seeing my father hanging his head and looking so lonely. It was then that I decided that I was going to be the son he never had. I was sad to go but relieved too because there was some molestation happening. But the trip to Japan confirmed that I wasn't feminine. I did not fit in.
When we returned home to Canada, I kept getting worse because the Canadian families I was exposed to (next-door neighbours, TV, etc.) all regularly said “I love you” to each other but my family did not. I did not realize that in the Japanese culture they say I love you by providing for you, taking care of family members, etc. I didn’t understand so I felt totally unloved by my real family. By the age of eight I came very close to stabbing myself a few times but, even though I was a Buddhist, I heard God say ``don`t do it.”
At age 10 (March 11, 1974), I was raped. At this point disassociation started occurring. While the rape was happening to me the sensation was akin to me going out of my body and the experience was happening to someone else. This started my coping
mechanism for flight from pain. I`m a boy -- all that ugly stuff happening to me is because of that body on the outside. As a result at the age of 12 I contemplated more heavily the thought of suicide. I remember I was in my bedroom, placed a knife to my stomach and just as I was about to plunge The Spirit spoke to me and said He loved me which made me stop.
When I was thirteen, CKVU (Channel 13) began airing soft-core porn (geared more for men with sexuality from a man`s perspective) after midnight, starting a 25 year habit for me. At this time I was aspiring to be a male rock singer like BTO and The Guess Who which led me to have long hair. Nobody suspected my problem because I didn`t look butch. My father and I started having physical fights (but we are pretty good father & daughter now). And my mother began blaming me for the problems between her and Dad. I began to look into the Occult.
The Lord really protected me at this time – any relationships with women didn`t last when I told them I was becoming a male (straight or lesbian). On the other hand, men interested in me were all dedicated Christian boys but even during the date I was preoccupied with finding them good Christian women because I saw me dating a male as being a homosexual and I wasn`t a homosexual.
During this time every rejection I felt, every time I wasn't included in group activities, every failure, etc. I accounted to being a failure as a female. I began internally calling myself Steve while still answering to Sue. I decided to be the male. I decided to pursue a normal family where I would be the husband to a normal wife with kids.
I pursued relationships with normal women but they were short-lived because I felt as a Christian I loved them too much to be deceptive (I told them I wasn't physically a male). The lesbians didn't want me because I told them I was pursuing a sex-change operation. The lesbians were all after me until I told them I was having the operation to become a man. The local lesbian (women's) club advised me that I could attend their meetings only until I had my operation. Also my Father in Heaven kept reminding me if I really loved these women I wouldn't lead them to do anything that would jeopardize their relationship with Him. So my love for these people was bitter-sweet cause deep down I knew He was saying truth.
After a while I notified my sisters and sought out my general practitioner. The doctor said she would approve the operation and that I needed to get further approval from a psychiatrist at a Gender Dysphoria Clinic. I had already been passing as a male for a long time even without the hormones. (You had to be living as a male at that time for one year). My non-Christian friends were calling me Steve. I was a rock'n roll musician so having long hair was a norm.
During this time I started going to Christian Life Assembly. I wanted to stop the pain by becoming a male but I also didn't want to lose my relationship with the Lord. After seeing the doctor many times and getting ready to go to the clinic, the time for disclosure was at hand. We were in the chapel and I exclaimed to some of the congregation, “Don't call me Sue, call me Steve. Sue will be no more.” Thank God for a pastor who was growing in the Lord. He began speaking life to me. A conversation I remember is when I stated I felt inferior because I wasn't a pastor, he stated that he thought I had gone farther because I was the first Christian in my family. At this point many of my friends in the church began to really minister to me.
Many of my guy friends took me aside and let me still be one of the guys but I'm sure they prayed for me every day. I got together with 3 guys and we prayed with each other.
My Christian friends also let me know about their own personal struggles so I didn't feel like they treated me as inferior or like a project. By their actions my friends began to instill in me a desire to know The Truth and to live in the Truth. The truth is always the truth no matter how much we try to lie to ourselves. No matter how deceived we are in our gender we can never run away from what came out originally.
My prayer now became ‘Lord Change Me to who You want me to be.’ Either I believe that God will do it or I don't believe in God at all. Either God is Truth (and all His decisions) or He is a liar. My pastor who was humble enough to admit that his 12 pastor staff didn't have the resources to “fix” me referred me to Another Chance Ministries with Marjorie Hopper. Because she was also a struggler of trans-gender issues Marjorie knew better than to call me a lesbian. But I was perplexed as to why I was put in this ex-gay ministry when my being attracted to women was quite heterosexual because I thought of myself as a male. I was indignant when she insisted I join the woman's group instead of the men’s group. I kept wondering what I was doing there. But this was the hand of God.
My small group leader Ruth took the brunt of my “I don't belong in this women’s group” mentality and patiently started talking to me. Ruth never had lesbian issues but she ministered to me better than someone who had been in the lifestyle. She ministered God. As we went through the 32 week programme, she did not put me in a box but uniquely asked the Lord to speak to me. I stayed in the women's group. It would be another 3 years (I was a small group leader) when Marjorie associated me with the L word.
The road to Wholeness in Christ means a break from the flight from pain. When we receive Christ we are broken vessels. As we continue to grow in Him, He takes these broken pieces and makes an object for His pleasure as He heals the pieces. In order to create the object the pieces have to be moved -- they have to submit to the Potter even if it means they go through the fire again. Most importantly they don't react in the same way they did before. As we desire the Lord to set us free we must realize that whatever coping mechanisms we used for our suffering must be submitted to Christ. Continuous surrender. Wholeness in Christ means to give God the final say. He is the only One who can be our all in all. He has big shoulders and just as a raging wound may have to hurt for awhile to properly heal The Lord is with us to walk us through but walking through is imperative. He may do things like corner us to uncomfortable situations to help us get set free.
This began the journey of discovering the lies I believed about myself, lies I believed about others, the damaging effect of labels, inner vows, the importance of understanding inter-cultural practices and communication between generations, the importance of being a team player, that no business is new business (1st Cor. 10:13) – the thought that no one can minister to me because no one has gone through what I went through – is a lie.
BE PATIENT – BE WILLING TO CHANGE IN GOD'S TIME – NOT YOURS.
I am no longer a transsexual and have no desire to be a man. I am happy as the female I was born to be.
(Susan's testimony - used with permission).
|Posted on September 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM|
Message from one of our online members:
"To be honest, there is no true joy or pure love found in the LGBT world... only a false sense of security while engaging in everything that GOD despises and that which is endangering your very soul and physical health. I had never experienced true, pure love & joy in my life until I was rescued by CHRIST and taken out of that sinful world..... lifestyle??? More like a death-style!!!"
(used with permission)
|Posted on September 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM|
From a member of our online group:
"I can only speak for myself, I knew from a young age that experiencing SSA was anything but normal for everyone else. Why would I chose to be this way, but somehow it seemed to be who I was, it didn't seemed that I had any choice. I lived for years (decades) hating who I was. There wasn't a moment of any day where I didn't feel deeply sad and broken. I eventually gave up the fight to be normal, like other men, realising that there was nothing that I could do to change, so I decide to embrace the lifestyle, thinking that this would set me free, but instead I found my world spiralling further downward and out of control. Brief sexual encounters and pornography would cover the pain of my life for a while, but soon the rush of guilt and shame flooded over me once more. I would spend nights depressed, hating and ashamed of who I was and who I had become, an addict to lust and brief illicit encounters which promised hope and love for a moment but no matter how I indulged the sadness and emptiness of my soul never could be filled. At night I would lay on my bed and want to die from the loneliness that I lived no matter how many encounters I had during that day, and I would hate myself more for being so broken.
Then one day God spoke into my life, through the story in Mark 5:24-34 a women who had suffered with an illness for many years who was healed by just touching Jesus cloak, I knew if I could touch god that he could heal me, I heard him speak to my heart "do you want to be healed?", all I could hope for was that He would heal me. And that began my journey to where I am today. It has been a long journey back from my brokenness.
I can honestly say that I never believed that it could be true for me that I would finally find happiness and contentment in living the life I now live. I have walked away from homosexuality and I have gotten my life back. I no longer live with the deep sadness that characterised my life before, it has been replaced by peace and love, and confidence and unspeakable joy, where once I was living but dead, and now I am alive to the very core of my being. God has saved me from a prison that I believe il would never escape...... tony"
(used with permission)