I have one more revelation to share about why I am deliberately not identifying as heterosexual.
Right now, I want to focus specifically on the value Christians place on being heterosexual because that continues to be a major game changer that is impacting countless numbers of people.
It’s needless to describe on so many obvious grounds, but I’m explaining it so that I can be clear when I renounce it.
As I understand it, there is a common narrative: Christians associate being heterosexual with what is good and right, with what is natural and normal, with what is holy in God’s sight. Along with that, everything else apart from heterosexuality tends to get lumped together and appraised as deviant, sinful, or whatever non-positive word you like. And while making these associations, Christians, even the most well-intentioned ones, can block, burden, and condemn others who possess non-heterosexual attraction in all sorts of ways.
Generally speaking, many people know about this narrative, at least indirectly if not directly. Regardless of one’s religious or sexual identity, I would like to think that if it’s not your story, then it’s the story of someone you know and love, and if not that, then of someone you’ve met briefly or heard about or something.
Personally, I have lived this narrative, so I know plenty about it. I have been in church my whole life, and I have numerous accounts of Christian folks valuing my heterosexuality, wanting me to be the good and straight man they believed God made me to be.
Though they certainly weren’t perfect, I can thankfully say that I didn’t have any of the stereotypical bad stuff as a kid; my parents never kicked me out of the house nor did my pastors condemn me to hell for eternity. More times than not, I was surrounded by people who loved me no matter what, and that empowered me to believe in a God that loved me no matter what.
As much as the heterosexual narrative has persisted, it has never overshadowed the larger narrative of God’s love.
I came across a prime example of this at a Christian conference I attended while in college called Urbana. There, I heard a man named Christopher Yuan tell his dynamic story about coming to Christ, a personal story I will not even attempt to recount; trust me when I say it was life-changing and worth researching.
The thing from his testimony that still stands out to me was a particular comment he made about being a “holy-sexual.” As I recall, it was his way of rejecting the common sexual labels in use while bringing attention to biblical emphasis on holiness. He referred to St. Peter who basically says to be holy for God is holy, highlighting specifically that he did not say be heterosexual for God is heterosexual.
Hearing that comment and how he talked about holiness and sexuality within the context of his story blew my mind. He spoke courageously and truthfully about everything, and I mean everything, and it was incredible.
Up until that point, I had never witnessed someone simultaneously draw closer to God and renounce heterosexuality in one candid move.
From that point forward, something like a domino effect was sparked within me, and I know I’ve been different ever since.
Once I realized that my life could be way less about being heterosexual and way more about being holy, I was renewed from deep within. I discovered more connections between holiness and love, and I went to a whole new place of contentment in God. I was freed from a lot of pressure that people had put on me to be heterosexual rather than to be holy as God intended.
Taken together, I am fine to be the atypically masculine, Christ-following person that does not identify as heterosexual or as anything for that matter. And being completely honest, I think we all could benefit from releasing those labels and values a bit more. For me, letting go of some of that stuff has allowed me to better grab onto who God says I am and do what He says I can do.
It has given me more insights about sexual sin and kept me from indulging. It has motivated me to resist heterosexist agendas and consider how non-heterosexual people are being oppressed and marginalized. It has widened my capacity to forgive Christians who misrepresent God and cosign Jesus to all kinds of foolishness. It has enabled me to be more like Jesus and act out of radical love rather than hate or fear.
To me, all of that is way more important than people knowing I want to have sex with women.
I’m sure there are some virtuous reasons why we Christians value heterosexuality. And being completely honest, I probably agree with many of those reasons. Whatever those reasons are, they cannot take away from the less than virtuous realities that have come with such a high value on heterosexuality.
Thus, I will continue to focus more on being holy rather than on being heterosexual. I figure, if I remain committed to the former and can get that right more times than not, then everything else, including the latter, will work out.
Love Love Love,