Although I spent over a decade in the homosexual enclaves of San Francisco and Los Angeles, I never met a “gay” man…the people I did meet were mostly battered and wounded souls that somehow wound up in either the Castro District or West Hollywood, because they thought happiness awaited them in the arms of another man. Of these men, backgrounds were diverse, but there always remained a common denominator: an almost unquenchable need to be loved, but not just any love – it had to come from a man. Most of us thought we were just born that way; as we could never recall a time when we didn’t have such feelings. We once felt different, odd, but “coming out” and “accepting” ourselves as “gay” had changed all of that. But what had it changed?

Accepting that I was “gay” meant that I no longer denied my feelings – for other men. It also meant that I would no longer harbor any shame about those emotions, or, even about openly expressing them. Lastly, it meant that in order to be happy, in order to be fulfilled as a human being, I needed to be “gay;” that I was not complete without that; denying my “gayness” would be like denying myself. Only, it never quite worked that way. For, the more I got lost in “gay” the more I just got lost. Because, here I was: I was “gay,” I was with other men, getting and giving love to other men, but, something wasn’t right. It wasn’t working. I wasn’t fulfilled and I wasn’t complete. A piece was still missing. I thought to myself: “I must be doing something wrong.”

After that, like everyone who invests time, energy, and suffering into a failing project – you tend not to pull back and reexamine, but you get desperate and try forcing things into place. I did this by getting more “gay;” I tried it all: more one-hour stands; a few “exclusive” partnerships; and then, a final slide into “gay” overdose – pulling in as much manliness and masculinity as I could handle, hoping beyond hope that some of it would stick. It didn’t. Then, at that point, there was nothing left to do – I had truly tried it all. “Gay” was turning out to be a bust; but, I am “gay;” does that mean there is something wrong with me as well? I looked back, and saw the faces of those who had died: perhaps none of us were meant to be here; I came to believe we had all been destined for death.

But I didn’t die. God found me. I was a heap of flesh: soiled and covered in filth. He washed me; when everyone passed by, He took me to His home. There, I was bathed in His Blood. Everything was stripped from my skin – it was a strange sort of acid immersion that hurt but soothed. The first thing to rinse away into the gutter was “gay.” For, it was at the center of all my confusion and pain. “Gay” was not who I ever was: “gay” was an explanation, a false hope, a stinking balm like rancid butter – it covered my wounds, but they never healed. And, all of us, we were that way – we were sick and we were doing that best we could, but we weren’t gay. We were lost boys still looking for our fathers, for a place on the team, for a man to simply say that: “Yes, we mattered.” Are those exclusively “gay” desires? No…they are the simple joys that every child needs in order to grow. Yet, we didn’t get them when it most mattered. Does that make us gay? No…but it makes us in need of healing; true healing. The kind that can only come from Our Lord Jesus Christ: the God made Man. When he embraces us, we are no longer “gay,” but His child – and, in that we are recreated in His image.

Many years have passed since then, and, oftentimes, “gay” seems so far away; it was the past – a past in which I hurt deeply. Sometimes, I remember all those men and women, and, I can see them clearly. None of them were gay…they were just children who had been hurt. And, God loves them all.