My name is Kevin. I used to be “gay”. No, I wasn’t just your average
guy with same-sex attractions. I was, instead, a proud member of
that aggressive group of activists that still today demands total
social acceptance and legal sanction of homosexuality. My story is
also my way of making up for, at least, some of the damage I caused
over the years. I will tell you the truth about homosexuality and
what the “gay” lifestyle really involves. The entire homosexual
issue can be divided into three areas: psychological, spiritual, and
From the age of 11 to 33, I was attracted to men, although I was always afraid of real men and didn’t enjoy their company. When I was a child my father was ill for quite some time and he died when I was almost ten, so I really had no father figure or male role model to teach me how to be a boy. I had several older brothers, but I wasn’t very close to any of them. I was close to my sisters and my mother, however, and they were to always remain my best friends. I also didn’t have any friends who were boys because I was always afraid of them. I was only close to my friends who were girls. These girls didn’t care how fat I was or whether or not I could throw a baseball.
My lack of “connecting” with boys my age and my lack of a father figure set me on a path that led to same-sex attraction during adolescence. As a teenager, I disliked the sexual feelings I had toward boys and I wished I didn’t have them.
For the most part, I was very selfish. I felt inferior to others and especially inferior to boys my age. I hated being around guys! I felt rejected by my father and my older brothers because I knew they were thinking I was ugly and stupid. I felt very alone, so I sought all the attention I could get. I was a spoiled and pampered teenager who was angry at my lack of close male relationships as a child. I felt abandoned and rejected by adults and others, and I was very easily insulted or hurt by the slightest criticism.
When I was a high school senior I tried dating girls. It was fun because I enjoyed their company over the company of other guys anyway. These girls also served to help me appear “straight”.
By the time I was in my twenties, I had moved out on my own and went to college. I chose to study in the field of theatre arts. In time I won some awards and scholarships for my work on the stage as an actor. Plays and dramas were very attractive to me. Why? It was simple. Theatre gave me a mask. I could win acceptance, praise or just plain attention by standing up before many people and pretending to be someone else.
Meanwhile, I met some new friends in the “gay” life. They were college friends and barroom buddies within my new gay life that I kept underground. With their help I finally accepted my “orientation” as a gay man. I didn’t realize it then, but I was being recruited. It wasn’t easy at first to accept my new sexual identity, but my already inflated ego was fed even more when I was told by several of my new friends that same-sex attractions were a special gift from God. These older and “wiser” men told me that I was a victim and that so many people, including my mother and family members, surely were to blame. Therefore, I was told that I deserved to surround myself with people who really loved me, and that was only other gays.
I was no longer ashamed of my “orientation”! I’m a guy who no longer struggles with same-sex attraction. Oh, no! I’m proud of myself now! I’m now queer! I’m now “gay”! In other words, I was now recruited!
I was happy for a time as I marched in Gay Pride parades, hung out in bookstores and gay bars. I had platonic relationships with several friends who also saw themselves as victims. I felt sorry for them and they felt sorry for me. I can assure you that my life with these friends back in the 80’s was one big pity party. Do you think self-pity is sort of contagious and habit-forming? I mean, I liked these guys because they felt sorry for poor little me. If I had to feel sorry for them and pat their backs once in a while, well it was a small price to pay for the pity and attention I received in return. This self-pity among us led, automatically, to public protest. Self-pity and protest are pretty much the same things. These feelings really explain my overt, melodramatic and sometimes shocking public escapades that all too often gained public support.
This kind of self-absorption made it very difficult for me to love. I was like a child who wanted all the attention and love directed to him. But, this didn’t stop me from pursuing my dream. All I wanted from life now was what I was told was the perfect goal: find a man to be your “lover”, move in together and stay happy for the rest of your lives. In the meantime, it’s still okay if you find others with whom you can play, party and sleep. This was my dream. But I didn’t always find these “lovers” and when I did, the scenarios didn’t fit the dream I was promised. I was restless. I was restless because I was motivated by a desire for that unattainable fantasy figure: a father who loved me and who was there for me.
I wasn’t really interested in these “lovers” either. I was just too interested in myself and my own wants. I used those men because I wanted someone to take care of me, but not someone who needed anything from me. My “perfect goal” and my “dream” was, therefore, nothing but several clinging relationships made up of two self-absorbed “poor me-s.”
While all this was going on, my family accepted me into their homes and I was never forbidden to see any of my nieces and nephews. I was accepted as being part of a lifestyle that was no longer underground. I had convinced them that I was born “gay”. My friends and I were out of the closet, liberated, tolerated and happy. Well, anything but happy. This life was, by its makeup, very selfish and very angry. I had no room in my life for anyone but me. Anyone I claimed to love was someone I used for what can only be called “mutual masturbation”, not “love-making”. The friendships I had were like my many “lovers” – very fleeting and conditional. All my relationships were hollow.
What was the “gay” life really like? It was a very easy lifestyle because I was responsible to no one: no responsibility for a wife, child or family. For your average nineteen-year-old guy, the gay lifestyle is very attractive in the short-term because it sounds like one big college party. You can have all the advantages of a straight lifestyle without any of the responsibilities. Keep this in mind when you hear activists make the same arguments I used to make: “Don’t call this a ‘lifestyle choice!’ I didn’t choose this for myself! I was born this way. To prove it, let me ask you this: why would I choose such a difficult life for myself? Huh? Why would I choose to put myself through the everyday burden of being gay in such an intolerant, bigoted world?” Yes, I sounded like that, but I wasn’t being honest with you or with myself. In reality, it’s a very easy lifestyle!
Though easy, it still wasn’t very satisfying. As I got older into my late twenties, I grew more and more unhappy. I started losing some hair and gaining some weight. I was like Andrew Kunanan: too old to be of any value in a youthful “gay” culture.
But I still thought my unhappiness was the fault of others. I was angry at all the “homophobes” out there and I was very angry with the Church. That’s why I chose to get involved in a pro-gay church group called DIGNITY. Though it wasn’t sanctioned by the Church, it was where I could pretend that “gay” is O.K. and pretend to stay within the Church.
In the late 80’s, I heard about a group called EXODUS. It was helping some guys leave the lifestyle and some were even able to change their orientation. This made me curious because I was still restless! From EXODUS I learned about a Catholic group started by Father John Harvey about twenty years earlier called COURAGE. I contacted that group and learned a lot of stuff about Church teaching and about myself, too.
COURAGE was a fresh, new kind of group for me. Its basic foundation was as solid as the Catholic Church herself. Its five goals for helping overcome same-sex attraction were easy for me to understand. They were refreshing for someone lost in the wilderness like me. COURAGE was a place where I developed chaste friendships with other men who also shared this challenge with me. I not only was treated like an adult but I was also expected to act like one. These men did not pity me, but rather challenged me to understand that I was powerless to control my urges and that I needed the help of the Holy Spirit to change my life once and for all! After only about five years COURAGE brought me back to the Sacraments and my life turned around.
I an now ex-gay and my lifestyle has changed. I married the most beautiful woman in the world and we now have three children. As a kid, I didn’t have any male friends, but now, as an adult, that changed. I now enjoy the company of real men for the first time in my life because I’m no longer afraid of them.
As you can imagine, I had rather unusual responses to this life change from my old friends and some family members. They all seemed distant. When I was a struggling, depressed, restless, and out-of-the-closet “gay” activist, I had most of my “straight” friends willing to tolerate me. Some of them even accepted me and endorsed me as I had convinced them that I was born that way. I guess I should now recognize them as “foul weather friends”.
In our current culture, I’m afraid, when you are dysfunctional, down-and-out, sad, drug-addicted and depressed, you will have more friends than you could ever want. But, when you start to turn your life around and clean yourself up, you’re on your own. You’re not even welcome around some people’s families and you are definitely not welcome around the “gay” activists because now you are considered a threat to them. Francis Cardinal George once said, “I have often wondered why a supposedly heterosexual man, perhaps married and with children, is admired and celebrated when he declares himself a homosexual, but a journey in the opposite direction is excoriated as repressive.”
So, it is true that I’m frustrated with this kind of response from our culture, but I’m not going to wallow in more self-pity. I don’t want to mirror that same response I had as an activist by being unjustly forced to go underground again. After all, I helped create this gay culture!
One way people are harmed today is when activists redefine terms by giving them new meaning. Let’s take the word “phobia”. The dictionary defines “phobia” as “…an irrational persistent fear or dread.” The operative word there is “irrational”. That’s why homophobia doesn’t work when applied to me, because there isn’t anything irrational about my persistent fear or dread of homosexuality. My belief that I wouldn’t want my children to go through what I went through is very rational and based on a lot of understanding and reason.
Another word is “recruit.” As an activist, I supported things like junior high school programs that taught “tolerance” and “acceptance” of “gays”. Well, I got very angry with you “homophobes” because you accused me of trying to recruit young boys and girls into the “gay” lifestyle. I didn’t believe in my heart that I was lying to you. We firmly insisted that “gays” don’t recruit young men and boys because we thought that it was not possible to change someone’s orientation from “gay” to “straight” or “straight” to “gay”.
Well, the dictionary defines “recruit” as “…to form or strengthen with new members.” It’s important to understand, too, just what is involved with recruiting. Recruiting into what? To understand this I need to first explain another word: “gay”. “Gay” is a socially charged word within the homosexual community that means “I’m out of the closet, I’m proud of my same-sex attraction, and you’re sick if you aren’t proud of me too!”
This attitude is expressed for a purpose. It has an audience. The target audience for this is not just all of the “homophobes” in this mean, cruel world, but also the rest of us “gays” out there who supposedly have been forced to hate themselves so much that they want to commit suicide. You see, most people who have same-sex attractions don’t like this about themselves. Many people with same-sex attractions do not want to act on these attractions and they feel trapped by their emotional desires. In other words, most homosexuals are not “gay”. And we “gay” activists knew it! It is the sexually confused person, therefore, that “gay” activists are targeting.
Activists want to get to those young boys who, at age 14 are struggling with sexual confusion. They need to convince them that “gay is good”, that they cannot possibly change their attractions and that this “wholesome sexuality” is a gift from God and it would even be sinful to deny it. Even though I didn’t call it at the time, I was, in effect, recruiting them! Not recruiting them to have same-sex attractions, but rather to become “gay”.
What I have learned on this difficult journey is what I hope you can learn, too: people with motivation and God’s help can and do change their orientation. My life with my wonderful wife and three children would not have been possible if I had continued to buy the lie “once gay, always gay.” I’m here as God’s “recruit” to spread the word to as many of you as possible.
Kevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
He is available for speaking engagements.