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  • #2200 Reply
    Titian
    Guest

    Hi everyone,
    One simple question: how does one find courage to come out? And by coming out I mean to the Church and… to public in general. I think I need to do both, I feel the need to do it but I just can’t make myself do it. I know that there will be severe consequences and I think I also need a strategy in order to prevent some of them.
    I should mention that I teach religion in school and my country is one of the most homophobic countries in Europe (including the Church). I wonder if this is a good idea at all, but I know that I have no other choice.

    #2201 Reply
    James
    Guest

    Titan, I live in one of the least homophobic countries in Europe, and that includes the Church, so can’t say anything about the courage needed to come out. More important than coming out, I think, is having the self-confidence not to allow yourself to get pushed into something you know isn’t right for you even when ‘everyone else’ is doing it. By that I’m thinking of things like getting married, taking monastic vows, bashing minorities—-or coming out.

    You write, “I wonder if this is a good idea at all, but I know that I have no other choice.” There is always another choice. Even if we don’t make any sort of coming out announcement, I tend to think those people who know us well are already aware of our ‘secret’, and fine with it as long as they can pretend they don’t know. When we come out verbally, we force them to acknowledge our ‘secret’. And to judge from comments on Orthodox and general Christian websites, that seems to make many people very uncomfortable, which often causes them to become quite hostile.

    Finding the balance that’s right for you between ‘living in the closet’ and ‘flaunting your lifestyle in everyone’s face’ probably isn’t going to be easy. It’s a great pity that in this area your priest is likely to be one of the least sympathetic people to turn to as you try to discover what is acceptable to God and right for you. If you live in a homophobic society, you may want to proceed slowly and cautiously.

    #2203 Reply
    Titian
    Guest

    Thank you James for your quick reply.
    I asked this question because I’ve been trying to find the way out of the anonymity and the invisibility that have been surrounding my life for years now. In the last few months I started feeling like I have suddenly awoken and found myself in this situation that is the product of my biased theological views that kept me from living as a normal human being. Thank you for pointing out that there is the risk of following the trend or the “everyone is doing it so why can’t we” syndrome. That can be a subtle psychological trap and I most certainly am not immune to falling into it. However, I’m still wondering what the other options are. What are the cures for the self-imposed anonymity and over-cautiousness that by the way can ruin a person’s life if they become a predominant characteristic that pervades all the aspects of every-day life…
    Sometimes I find myself desperately wanting to come out of the eggshell without breaking … the eggshell. And as I am saying it now, it occurs to me that this was the “technique” that Jesus once applied on the locked door, isn’t it? Maybe we are being wrongly told that “coming out” as gay is a necessary way of breaking free, but what we actually need to do, as Christians, is to “come in”, to “step into” our communities even if the doors are closed. I guess what I’m trying to do in my life is the latter. And maybe I, and all other LGBT Christians out there, have already done that. We have all entered the Church despite its doors being closed for us (isn’t that a miracle?). What we… I, need to do next is to speak up and say “It’s just me; do not be afraid of me”. Silence seems to be the last obstacle towards a full integration, and that’s why it is so frustrating to stay quiet. It is not just about our ego, or about a sentimental satisfaction that comes from telling our “secret” to other people.
    I hope people who read this will forgive me for speaking in plural. This is just my immediate reflection and I don’t want to suggest what other people should do. However it looks like the situation we as gay Christians are in is universal no matter the society we live in or the level of homophobia we face in our Churches. Maybe if we found a stronger common voice, the voice of all orthodox gay Christians, maybe the burden of speaking up wouldn’t fall so hard on one individual’s shoulders. I am aware that there is no such voice at the moment so the only thing I, as a gay Christian, can now do is to confess my personal lack of courage to say out loud what needs to be said. So I ask for your prayers.

    #2210 Reply
    Nikola
    Guest

    Hello, my name is Nikola and I wanted to share my story with you and get a statement or an advise.

    I was raised in a serbian-orthodox family in Germany, a religious and loveful family.
    When I was 16 I realized that I felt attracted to other boys, but at these days I whiped the thoughts out, because I don’t wanted to believe that that is true.
    After years (I’m 20 years old now) in March I desided to take the opportunity to test it and to make this clear for myself. After some dates and a summer affair in Greece I met a boy I really felt in love with. His parents actually lives in our region but he is studying in Austria. It is a distance-relationship.
    I visited him two times, 5-7 days each time, and we spended every day together, when he was here. At least we saw each other every 20-25 days. I truly never had that strong feelings to anybody although I had girlfriends, too. But I think they were just a replacement for some kind of love I wanted to have but didn’t felt.

    Afterwards at the end of October my parents got to know about this relationship and love… and started crying and praying for my salvation. My dad burnt the T-Shirt my boyfriend gave me, when I was in Austria in September and we also talked to the priest of our chirch who told me that I have to stop this and to come back to the right path and to take the decision against this perverted kind of “love”, telling me I can’t even know what love is. He and my parents just gave me the opportunity to choose:
    1. Will I stay at that path and choose the devil, make the people around me sad and also get barred of the church and the orthodox religion (pravoslavlje)… or
    2. Choose my family and break up with my beloved one and find a way back to the “right” path.

    They think beeing gay is decision and not a fixed nature and now I’m in a war between family, religion and love – my eternal life.
    I wanted to quit the contact to my boyfriend but this ended up in 4 break-ups, an endless mass of tears and the obvious fact that we are unable to quit our relationship like that… So we are staying together now. Im trying to find a people sharing appartment to move out, what my parents don’t know now, too.

    So I think I already made a decision but I would just like to hear what do you think. My brother and sister, who are not homophobic at all, told me to let my beloved one go and to try something with girls again and to deside then.

    Thank you in advance…

    #2211 Reply
    James
    Guest

    Hi Nikola,

    First of all, I am not a priest. And I hope one of the sympathetic priests who reads this website will reply to you either privately or here with advice. The Serbian church is more strict than some of the other Orthodox churches.

    While you wait to hear from others, I would say it is worth keeping in mind that one’s first same-sex relationship is always a very intense one, but it is not necessarily with that person that one settles down for the rest of one’s life. Perhaps your brother and sister are right to think that you could learn much from dating a girl for a time to see how that makes you feel. They must surely know you better than anyone who writes here does.

    Moving into an apartment with others away from your parent’s house could give you the freedom to explore a bit without causing pain to your parents. You realize that you have a big decision to make, but there is no need to rush into making it. Take the time you need to consider your future, and while you are doing so keep up a regular prayer life and try not to lose contact with your parents or your Church.

    #2245 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    James, forgive me if I come across as rude, but your advice that “perhaps you could learn much from dating a girl for a time to see how it makes you feel” sounds homophobic to me. While sexuality can be confusing for some, it is not so for others. Perhaps our brother Nikola already understands his. I also think it is likely not going to be fair or charitable to the hypothetical girl in this situation – she is not a guinea pig, and would be hurt if Nikola left her for a man/found out the reason behind his dating her.
    When my parents (who accept my sexuality) found out I was getting married, they advised that I “sleep with men first”. I was very hurt by this. So I speak with some experience.

    This is a horrible, difficult situation 🙁

    #2246 Reply
    Titian
    Guest

    Hello Nikola,
    Even though the serbian orthodox Church is one of the most homophobic, there are still very good shepherds among its clergy. I have a friend who lives with his partner in Germany and the local (serbian) priest gladly blessed their union. So, no. Not all the serbian priests out there are homophobic and this is certainly not an isolated case, that of two men living as spouses being integrated in the church life. It is not unlikely that some day soon you will find a welcoming church comunity in Germany where you will be fully integrated as a gay believing man. It is important though to keep in mind that people lie, or just speak out of ignorance, when they say that eternal salvation and having a same-sex relationship are in collision. And also the great advantage you have in Germany is that one day you will be able to marry the person you love even if he is man.
    So this may be a tough situation for you but it is also a chance for becoming a more mature person. It’s very difficult to say a concrete advice because you’re the one who’s in the situation, but to me it looks like you need to work on your autonomy before making big decisions, like finding your own place to live etc. Sometimes our family needs to go a long way before getting to accepting us for who we are.
    Good luck and stay in touch!

    #2250 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    Titian, it is so awesome that you know of a couple and a priest like that! 🙂 Hearing little things like that give me hope.

    #2251 Reply
    Titian
    Guest

    I know, Maria. It gives me hope as well. 🙂

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