I'm Different From You, and I Hope That's OK

Though I experience same-sex attraction at times, I do not identify as homosexual or lesbian. Actually, I don't talk about it much; I often wonder how people get into conversations that lead them to discus things like that. It doesn't often happen in my world. In any case, as I was sharing something on one of my social media pages that really encouraged me, it also occurred to me that there are others who may see the image or articles and feel alienated. So, I wanted to take a minute to address it.

I love stories from people who've been freed from homosexuality. They are often extreme and exciting conversion stories that give me a special sense of hope. They speak to me, confirming that God is at work, remarkably, all around us and all the time. Often his working is private, personal, and we just don't know. I find this incredibly encouraging.

The issue of SSA is complex, and I don't intend to address it here. As I may have mentioned before, I consider it a symptom of dysfunction. Having other symptoms of chronic mental illness has probably helped me in this. I know that I can't trust my own view of things implicitly. At times I think my neighbors are all conspiring against me. I consider myself capable of things I cannot physically do. I see things that aren't always there. I have to regularly remind myself of what is in fact real; often, this includes remembering I am a woman and not a man.

God is at work, remarkably, all around us and all the time. Often his working is private, personal, and we just don't know. And I find this incredibly encouraging.

It is worth mentioning that though I disagree with sexual disorders as identities, I regularly come across hateful statements and mindsets that I do not align with at all. Our disagreement, though serious, gives me no right to label someone a "freak." Lesbian, gay, trans-male, uncertain -- you're not a freak, and neither am I.

When I hear of worries about treatments like so-called conversion therapy, I am always reminded of the muddy history of psychiatry and psychotherapy. Not long ago showing signs of mental illness, any mental illness, made you a danger. Even now, the idea of requiring psychiatric treatment, especially in-patient, brings up ideas of Arkham-like asylums, padded rooms, and straight jackets. Any talk of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) requires a preface because everyone thinks of the awful shock treatments of 50 years ago that are depicted in movies. It's stigma, sometimes grounded in real, harmful experience, and treatments for gender dysfunctions are not immune.

It's stigma, sometimes grounded in harmful experience, and treatments for gender dysfunctions are not immune.

I used the word experience above instead of struggle deliberately even though both are appropriate. When the sexualization of relationships is generally a problem, the word struggle is a better fit, but there is nothing about being same-sex attracted that is particularly difficult of itself. Regardless of preferences, outside of your spouse (or prospective spouse to some extent) relationships have little to no sexual element anyway. So, it follows that SSA would only be a significant struggle for you if your many platonic relationships were somehow sexualized. For me sometimes it's an issue, and sometimes it isn't -- usually aligning with my mood changes.

It's freeing, really, being able to interact with others without caring so much about attraction. I remember in school how exceptional it was, and still now, I highly value the safety of monogamy. It allows me to interact and relate in real and personal ways with men and women I know who are friends, neighbors, coworkers,and other acquaintances without wondering about them being potential mates. Attraction makes no difference in daily life -- outside of plain lust and all the complications it always brings.

And lust is lust.