fbpx

Our Stories

Our Stories

Kinship is diverse in age, language, culture, and identity and we value our differences as we experience community. Below you will find many stories of our members and other LGBTQIA+ people who are current and former Adventists. If you are LGBTQIA+ we hope that you know you are not alone, and although the journey may not be easy, there is hope and a community for you in Kinship.

If you are not LGBTQIA+ we hope that you can understand that there are many more stories and experiences within the LGBTQIA+ world and in the Adventist church. 

“And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Our Stories

Journey

by Jerry McKay

JerryMcKayMost of what characterizes my life today—work, family, and faith—looks little like what I thought it would when I graduated from college in 1980.

Naturally, people want to know when and how I first became aware of my orienta­tion. Others are interested in my spiritual experience and how my faith and my orientation intersect and perhaps collide. Many questions revolve around my reparative therapy journey and how that impacted my belief in God and my relationship with the church.

I am often asked about the pivotal moment I decided to stop trying to change my orientation and the events that led up to that moment. Related to that decision is the question of short- and long-term consequences. I’ve been asked about where I see God in the whole journey—before counseling, during counseling, and since accepting my orientation.

And, finally, others want to know about my relationship, how it has evolved over the years, and the impact it has had on my life. This is my story.

Read Journey here...

My Son, Beloved Stranger

By Carrol Grady

Table of Contents
My Son, Beloved Stranger

Table of Contents

  1. Broken Engagement
  2. Thinking the Unthinkable
  3. What is a Homosexual?
  4. Spring Break
  5. How Will I Tell Michael?
  6. Is Danny Going to be Lost?
  7. A Heartache Shared
  8. It’s Not Fair!
  9. Prejudice
  10. Christmas
  11. Steve
  12. AIDS Conference
  13. Graduation
  14. Ups and Downs: Letters From Danny
  15. Bittersweet Wedding
  16. Michael
  17. Danny’s Decision

    Epilogue
Dedicated to Danny
Because of you, we have a clearer understanding of God’s everlasting love for each of us, His broken, sin-scarred children.

Acknowledgments
Without the encouragement, prodding, suggestions, and advice of the following people, this book might not have been written: Danny, Nancy Irland, Fern Babcock, Dorothy Watts, Miriam Wood, and members of the Western Washington Adventist Writers Association, especially Maylan Schurch and Marian Forschler.

Explanation
Names and events have been altered to protect the privacy of some individuals.
by Carrol Grady  Copyright ©1995 by Carrol Grady

Stories from and For Parents

compiled by Carrol Grady

A Minister Father Tries to Understand

When I heard that my son, whom I will call Danny, was a homosexual, I refused to believe it was true. I thought he was confused because he had grown up almost exclusively with girls in the small church school he had attended.     

From what I had read on the subject, I believed he could change. After all, he had been engaged for over two years to a girl we all loved and admired. I thought maybe this idea of being a homosexual was a reaction to their breakup six months before their planned wedding.

Surely, he couldn’t be serious! The whole idea of homosexual behavior was repulsive to me. Pictures I had seen of gay couples on the TV news flashed through my mind, and I was sickened by the thoughts they suggested.

My talks with Danny left me, as well as him, really frustrated. Without a doubt, it was going to take a while for him to seriously want to change; in fact, it didn’t seem that he was interested in changing. He tried to make me understand that he couldn’t change, but to me that was ridiculous!

Then, as my wife and I got to talking with others who had had experience with this subject and I began to read some books and articles about homosexuality, I realized that this wasn’t just a phase Danny was going through. It was, very possibly, a genetic condition.

With this understanding, my feelings about Danny changed. I knew it was not something he had chosen, and my heart went out to him. I realized he would never know the joys of a heterosexual marriage or have a family to enjoy. In spite of his outgoing personality, he would be alone in the world and would constantly have to hide his identity or face the persecution that would follow.

This change in my thinking did not come overnight, I assure you. It has taken several years to come to my present understanding of Danny’s dilemma. Once he faced the fact that he was a homosexual and God wasn’t going to change him, Danny decided to "come out" and let his friends know who he really was. That was not a prudent thing to do in an Adventist college. I tried to warn him about what would happen, but he was naive and trusting. Before long, his life was being threatened and he was being called every ugly name that has been applied to homosexuals. From that point, his life went downhill for some time.

I have to hand it to my wife. Her loving personality couldn’t let her son destroy himself. She earnestly studied the subject and prayed. Never losing faith in Danny, she kept in constant contact with him, doing more listening than counseling (preaching). Danny needed a loving mother to talk to who could understand his pain, loss of self-confidence, and anxiety.

Since there was so little helpful information on homosexuality for Christian parents, she decided to put her writing skills together with her compassion and write a book, telling our story. She checked everything with Danny, not only to be sure that it was accurate but that, from his viewpoint, it would help others to better understand the plight of homosexuals and their parents.

I believe that what a homosexual young person needs is constant, understanding, unconditional love; affirmation in good decisions, and encouragement to believe that God loves him/her, and that, because of this, he/she can have a bright, meaningful, and valuable future.

For other fathers going through this difficult experience, I want to say that I believe it is harder for a father than for a mother because homosexuality strikes at the very heart of your sense of masculinity. But let your love for your child overcome your natural revulsion, and remember that this is just another of the consequences of living in a sinful world. I would also add that while one might expect that a minister would face ostracism as this situation became known, I have found, instead, only compassion and understanding.

Stories from Gay / Straight Marriages

compiled by Carrol Grady

Amy's Story

Amy joined a support group for families and friends of gays and lesbians because
she had a gay brother, but before long she admitted to herself that, in reality,
she had joined because she needed to deal with her own sexuality.

I Don’t Want to Be Gay!

February.  Amy wrote: “I learned about SDA-FFLAG when I stopped at the Someone to Talk to booth at a convention in Orlando a few years ago. I would like to join this support group because my brother is gay. He was married for over 20 years and has two children in college. He has been in a gay relationship for five years now and seems truly happy for the first time in his life. I care for both him and his partner very much, but I am deeply troubled because my brother doesn’t believe there is any place for him in the Adventist Church. Barring a miracle, I doubt if he will ever come to an Adventist church again. And since I am actively involved in the church, he seems to think I cannot accept them for who they really are. He no longer stays in close contact with any of our family.”

Several weeks after this post, Amy contacted the list moderator in great distress, explaining that although she thought she had joined because of her brother, she had finally faced the awareness deep in her heart that she needed to deal with her own homosexuality.

“It is very hard for me to think that, and even harder for me to say it. I never intended to tell anyone, but I feel a need to share it with someone and I believe this is a safe place. I do not ever intend to “come out.” I am married, with children, and am an elder in my church. I am not willing to give up these things that are important to me, but I need to share with someone. I don’t want someone to tell me it’s okay. I might start becoming obsessed with that thought and end up doing something I really don’t want to do (although I do on an emotional level).

“I have to admit I am freaking out about this and scared of where it may lead. I need assurance that no one will pressure me to “come out” or demean me for not being strong enough to do it. I hope this makes sense.”

Amy went on to explain that twenty years earlier, when she was teaching in an Adventist college before her marriage, she had had a brief lesbian relationship, the only sexual experience that had ever felt real and satisfying, but she had not been willing to accept that she was “that way” and quickly ended it. Since then she had not allowed herself to develop a crush on another woman, although when she was in a vulnerable emotional state she realized that she would find comfort in such a relationship.

“While my relationship with my husband is far from satisfying, on many levels, it is a commitment I made ‘till death do us part.’ Right now he is working in another city and only comes home on the weekends – sometimes every other weekend. This separation actually feels good to me. I can’t handle the closeness and can tolerate the weekends because I know it’s only three days until he leaves again.

“Also I find a lot of satisfaction in my church work and don’t feel I can give that up. So I think what I have to give up is the opportunity to have an emotionally intimate relationship with another person. I’ve never expressed my feelings at this depth before, and it is really releasing a lot of pent-up emotions. I’m not sure I want to open it up because there is nowhere to go with it. I still have to give up something, and now I am more aware of the pain that goes with it.”

Over the next week, emails flew back and forth between Amy and the moderator. It was difficult for her to know what she wanted to do. At one point she thought of leaving the group.

“What is opening up for me is very frightening and overwhelming. I’m sure now that my underlying reason for joining the forum was not for my brother at all; it was for me. But I don’t think it will resolve anything.”

The moderator assured Amy that she understood. “I have talked with many heterosexual people who have been married to a gay or lesbian partner. Most of them have been aware at some level that there is something missing in their relationship – a lack of intimate bonding at their core. Do you think your husband might sense this?

“I do understand your desire to maintain your present life, but if it is on a less-than-honest basis, will it withstand the pressures of a lifetime? Perhaps you could talk to your husband about your feelings and assure him that you want to do everything to save your marriage. There are therapists who will work with you on this.

“I have heard many, many stories like yours. You are not alone. If you like, I could put you in touch with another lesbian who was married to a beloved theologian. I know she would be very sensitive to your feelings.”

Amy replied, “I know what you are saying is true about the lack of emotional intimacy in my marriage. I just cannot fathom taking the steps that would be necessary to get to that “other” life. I would like to talk to this person, but am very frightened about where it might lead. I need to deal with it, but do not really want to go there. I really had no idea of the intensity of my feelings about this issue until now.”

After an email contact with JoAnn, the other lesbian, Amy wrote to her and the moderator, “Thanks so very much for your prayers. It is such a natural thing when going through a crisis to ask others for their prayers, but in this sort of crisis I don’t have the freedom to do that, so your prayers mean a lot, as do your support and insights.

“I am not prone to anxiety attacks, but I am on the verge of one now. My defenses are so strong that at times I almost believe I have just created this crisis in my mind and that it’s not really an issue. But deep inside I know it is. What am I to do? I know I can’t go back to denial and suppression, but I don’t see how I can go forward, either. I am crying a lot.

“I find that I cannot pray. I feel so guilty for letting myself think about being a lesbian. Somehow, it seems okay for other people to deal with it, but not me. I feel I am letting God down and cheating on my husband by thinking about this. I can’t sort out my feelings of needing to be honest with myself and feeling that I’m sinning by having these thoughts.

“I’m supposed to go to elders’ meeting tonight, but I feel like I can’t in the state I’m in. On one hand, I need to do normal, routine things, but on the other, I feel that I am being a hypocrite. I feel I need to repent of thinking these thoughts and stuff it all back in. I am so confused and scared! I need to pull myself together to go pick up my son at school. It’s too hard and scary to do this for myself when I don’t even know if it’s the right thing to do. I think I’m going crazy. I want to run away from this one minute, and run away from my life as I know it the next. I really hate myself. I don’t know what to do! I know I’m not making sense.”

Amy debated about whether she should resign as an elder, and the moderator urged her not to rush into anything. When JoAnn was unable to return her emails for a couple of days, Amy wrote:

“I’m having intense second thoughts about this whole thing. I think I’m going about it all wrong. I need to see a professional counselor. I need so much support and guidance and it’s wrong to depend on JoAnn to give me that. I am feeling very crazy today, and just want it to stop before it goes out of control. I haven’t gotten much sleep for the past couple months and I’m not in a good situation to deal with all the anxiety and fear I’m having. I have a million things I should be doing, but I just can’t focus on anything. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I keep thinking I need to get out and walk. I know it would be therapeutic. But I am just immobilized”

Over the next few days, Amy had several long phone conversations with JoAnn and her former husband, who helped her tremendously with working through her feelings of guilt. At last, after a very intense week, she told the moderator she would like to re-subscribe to the support list with the understanding that she was a lesbian, but using a pseudonym. In her opening post, she remembered being something of a tomboy growing up and going through a period of wishing she could be a boy. She had had a few infatuations with women but convinced herself that she just wanted to be close to them. After her one lesbian experience, she vowed never to let this happen again.

She said she had dated quite a bit but had difficulty being emotionally and physically intimate with men. She really wanted to get married, in order to prove to herself that she was “normal,” but she had never felt emotionally close to or sexually aroused by her husband.

“I feel like I have been in hell this past week,” she said. “The first time I felt any peace was after the moderator asked you all to pray for my situation. I know people were praying because I suddenly felt a sense of calmness that had to come from God.”

The other members of the support list welcomed Amy warmly in her new identity. They shared some of their experiences to give her courage and offered her their support and love. One person, a gay man who had not “come out” to himself or his wife until he was 45, told her:

“I know people who have spent their life’s energy maintaining their closet. They have not even come out to their spouses. But this has caused illness, early aging, and other undesirable consequences. Is the price worth it? To me, it is not. I have gone to hell and back in the last ten years, but I know now that I did the right thing by being honest with myself and my family. I believe I am where God wants me to be. Coming out can be very, very difficult, but I personally believe that God will help you through what seems impossible if you depend on Him and ask His help.”

Others assured her that she need not lose her opportunity to minister because of admitting her homosexuality. They told of accepting churches that welcomed their gifts or of new ministries God had given them as a result of their openness.

One of the pastors on the list who was the father of a lesbian daughter addressed Amy’s feelings of guilt:

“I think many of us heap more guilt upon ourselves than what we need to. I felt a lot of guilt over my daughter. I felt responsible for her having a lesbian relationship. But the thing that helped me was focusing on God’s grace. You mentioned feeling strange about going to church last night with all these conflicting thoughts in your mind. If truth were known, probably many of us come to church with troubling things going on in our minds. To me, one of the beauties of the church is that we can come as we are and find God’s loving grace there.”

Amy responded, “What dear people you all are. Thank you so much for all your affirmation and encouragement over the past couple of days (has it really only been that long?) I really don’t think I could have survived without you!

“I am still in a state of shock over the events of the past week. If anyone had told me a few weeks ago where I would be now I could not have believed them! I am still terrified. I am still going through denial and ambivalence. It is such a confusing process.

“My husband is home for the weekend and it is such a strain. I know now that I do not belong in this marriage, that he deserves better than to be lied to. I never thought about what this was doing to him. I have always been a faithful and supportive wife, and I thought I was giving him what he needs and deserves. But I am beginning to see that this is not the case, and will be even less so now that I have confronted who I really am. Please don’t stop praying for me over this weekend. It is going to be so hard.”

A wife, whose former husband had finally admitted his homosexuality after 33 years of marriage, said that as painful as her experience had been she wouldn’t have wanted things to go on as they were. She said that realizing what the “problem” was and that it wasn’t something wrong with her brought a great sense of relief and eventually helped restore her self-confidence.

Another list member told her, “The pain you and your husband will undoubtedly experience if you come out to him is not your fault, but the result of living in a church and society that didn’t prepare you to accept your sexuality and avoid a straight marriage. Even if this marriage was a mistake, God has blessed you with two wonderful children and the opportunity to serve Him as an elder in your church.”

A mother told her that 16 years after learning her son is gay, she was able to look back at that very painful experience and thank God for the love, tolerance, and understanding it had given her for others who are suffering.

When her husband left after the weekend, Amy wrote to the group, saying that she had managed to stuff her feelings back in the box successfully while he was home. She told of her dread over going to her Sabbath School class, which always started by going around the circle with each one telling how their week had gone. She knew she couldn’t lie, but finally decided to simply say it had been a very difficult week.

“Our lesson was talking about social issues pertaining to family and marriage, and of course the issue of homosexuality came up – twice – and in very negative ways. Right then I realized that if I ever do come out it will be a very tough situation in my church. I decided that can never happen and this has to be the end of it. I was glad I had stuffed everything back. And then JoAnn called this morning, and everything came spilling back out. I am still feeling intense ambivalence!

“I am feeling completely obsessed with this situation. I don’t know any lesbian women around here, which is fortunate, as I think I am in grave danger of having an affair. I need your continued prayers.

“I really need to find a counselor and begin working through all this, but I don’t know anyone in this area I can trust to respect my religious convictions, on one hand, and not attempt to convince me I am sinning, on the other.”

Providentially, just at this time a marriage and family therapist who had joined the list to learn more about homosexuality so she could help her gay clients, but who had not posted for several months because of moving across the country, began posting again. The moderator contacted her privately to see if she would be willing to help Amy find a therapist. It turned out that she was able to do phone counseling and was a tremendous blessing to Amy over the next several months.

In early July, having just started divorce proceedings, she attended Kinship Kampmeeting in Orlando, Florida, where she found much love, understanding, and support.

OctoberAmy wrote: "I think of you often with a lot of appreciation for all you have done to help me over the past 8 months. Hard to believe it has been that long since I first contacted you about my crazy life situation.  Back then I never imagined I would come through it.  I was determined that I could never make the life changes necessary to be where I am now.  I do appreciate the patience you gave me back then.  I'm sure you were well aware of what would be inevitable in my life--leaving my husband and accepting myself as a lesbian.  You were careful not to push me that direction but inserted reality just often enough to keep me from going back into the closet. And now I am in such a wonderful place in my life and am thankful to you for helping me get here...in so many ways."

Stories from LGBTQ Families

compiled by Carrol Grady

Can gay and lesbian couples be faithful to each other?

 I asked Kinship members for their views on the charge that most gay and lesbian couples are not faithful to each other. Here are some of their responses:

(    There are enormous rewards when one can stick to one partner. No, it is not living on Easy Street, you have to put in the hard miles to get the rewards. As a gay male, and I can only speak for myself, it is easier to go out for a meal than to cook it at home. An effort is always required. So yes, I think you can live a committed loving relationship.

(   We've been together almost 13 years. The longer I'm with him, the more I love him. I see new facets each and every day that deepen my love for him. We have a trust, a bond, a love that is unshakable.  Yes, we both have made many mistakes and we've both had to do a lot of forgiving. We've narrowed it down to the 3 C's, that keep us together and hold us close. We're not perfect at the 3 C's, but we do our best. Commitment, Compromise, and Communication! Communication and commitment are the easiest of the three. They're not easy, just the easiest. It's the compromise that is the most difficult. Again, I believe that is because of the ego factor. Two males in one household can make for a challenge. We are socialized to be the "head of the household" and the testosterone flows very strongly when we both want our way. But, after 13 years, we have learned to pick and choose our battles so that we can ultimately win the war, which is to be in a loving and supportive relationship.

(   My partner and I are in a committed, monogamous relationship because we have chosen that for ourselves. For us, that is the definition of being faithful to each other.

(   I wish there was a simple answer to life's questions. But in reality, the answers are as varied as the people they represent. I think the answer is that among Christian gay couples monogamy is about as high as it is among Christian straight couples.

(   I personally asked my partner to be true to me from the start, a one to one relationship that to my knowledge has been for twenty-four years.

(   I will admit that I was initially somewhat disillusioned when I discovered that some (OK, many) gay couples (including some Christian couples) had "open" relationships. However, that is not to say that a monogamous relationship cannot exist in gay relationships. Monogamy is a choice. Being gay isn't. When A___ and I said our marriage vows in the presence of God and our family and friends, we pledged to be faithful to each other. It was a conscious choice and decision that we made. It was what we wanted for us. God-willing, we intend to be monogamous for the rest of our lives.

(   From the few dating experiences I have had, I have found out that I have been cheated on. I have spent many years in therapy to work on this and it’s been quite a process. Furthermore, with my personal Christian GLBT friends around my age, I know of several young lesbian couples who have been together and faithful for five years plus. However, amongst young men that I know, I only know of one young man who is faithful to his partner who is in his 40s. Aside from that, all my other young gay male friends have either cheated or been cheated on. I have to say that it wasn't until I made a good number of Kinship friends that I realized that monogamy could exist in couples.

(   A relationship between two persons of the same sex is not as valued by the society as is a heterosexual relationship. The idea that homosexuals are all promiscuous is still alive in the gay community and gay couples don't have many models to look up to; they need to be their own models. It is especially hard to be what God intended us to be when everybody says that we are lost anyway.

(   I believe that internal conflicts have a great influence on the behavior of people in every relationship, including homosexual couples. For example, if I consciously or subconsciously think that homosexuality is a disease, a problem, or a trauma, then I am a victim, I am not going to have a 'normal' life with anyone, I am not going to be part of a 'normal' family, because homosexuals are not 'normal', I am not 'normal'. There are so many other mistakes, misconceptions, problems, traumas, complexes, that we carry as gay people. We need to deal with serious issues, be okay with ourselves first, be happy, and then share the happiness. If I am not loyal to myself how can I be to anyone else? I am responsible for myself. I need to take care of me, to feel good, to ask for help. If I do not do that, the problems become bigger and bigger, the pressure becomes unbearable, the risk of making decisions by impulse/instinct/hormones are higher, and I will be responsible and pay the price for them anyway.

(   I also had surprises when I figured out that 'some', or maybe 'many', gay couples live together for companionship and have encounters on the side. But I wouldn't say 'most', especially if we are talking about Christian couples. We also can say that 'many' heterosexual people have encounters on the side, but not 'most' of them. Gays are trying to survive, to create a community, to find models, to live normal lives, against the tide, against the terrible expectations about them.

(   I really believe that God is working in our lives, fulfilling our necessities and helping us to grow. Getting to know God's plans is a lifelong activity. I am so, so blessed to have O___. I prayed for this when I was not completely sure if God would agree with 'this kind' of relationship. With God's answers, I can be more sure that He is taking care of everything in the right time. Sometimes love hurts, but relationships are still on the top of the list of best things in this life.

(   I think GLBTI couples are just as capable of having monogamous relationships as straight couples.

(   I think most of the Christian gay couples I know seem to want to have monogamous relationships, and I think they want to be faithful, too. I know that in this church where I visit, called Freedom In Christ Evangelical Church, there are lots of couples, and I have become friends with many of them. I truly don't know if they are monogamous or not. If they are not, maybe we don't hear about it as much as if they were not Christians. The pastor of this church seems to encourage monogamy and such. I think basically we all want the same things in life - a partner who loves us, some one we can love, and stability within the relationship. We all know though, that sometimes things don't work out; it is our common condition. I think it makes a difference when you honestly put God first in your life and let Him cover your life including your relationships. 

(   We are faithful and all of our close friends are also.

(   I think we all know of gay couples and lesbian couples who have been together for decades and have been sexually and emotionally faithful. And we know straight couples in that category, too. Unfortunately, there are others, both gay and straight, who are not. Human nature is human nature.

(   From my perspective, sexuality is only one of the ways that we build vulnerability, emotional honesty and heart touching intimacy in relationships. I believe the evil ones have tried to come up with anything, anyway, they can entice us to harm the relationships in our lives. Through that lens, I think there are many ways that marital partners can be unfaithful.

(   If we put our work or our careers ahead of building a safe and emotionally nurturing relationship, I believe that work has become our mistress or our infidelity. If we let anger come between us and our beloved, anger has become a means of unfaithfulness. If we put "church work" ahead of taking care of the people to whom we have made the commitment to nurture in a vulnerable way, I believe we have been unfaithful. If we put spending time with our friends in front of or to the detriment of, nurturing our primary relationship, I believe we have become unfaithful. If we use any sort of substance in a way that harms our most intimate relationship, then that substance is the means of infidelity. If self-righteousness comes between us and our loved ones.... I could ramble on with this.

(   For me, the issue is about learning to replicate the motives and the closeness of the Trinity. That is why I believe relationships were given to us. And I believe that is why the evil ones try to destroy this particular object lesson. Through this lens, there are many, many, many SDAs in good standing with the church who have put their work or their "good" activities or, or, or ... in front of their committed relationships. And I believe they have been unfaithful.

(   This said, it is from a healthy sense of our own value that we can value and nurture a relationship with another person. If GLBTI people have been denigrated, dismissed, and emotionally shunned it would also make sense that we would have a difficult time learning the skills to nurture the relationship.

(   I think the idea that gays are not faithful towards each other in relationships is wrong. I don't know if there are studies about this issue but I guess that there is no difference between straight and gay relationships. I also don't think there is a difference between Christian and non-Christian relationships. The Christians might try harder but they also might be the ones to hide it more if it happened.

(   The bottom line for me is, sex is not enough. Sex by itself is exactly that, just sex. But when you have sex in the context of a committed relationship, in my own experience, it’s way more than just sex. 

(   As a society, we've moved sexual behavior from something sacred to something physical. It has inspired media attention and present-day society drowns in sexual images as something commonplace and vulgar. Sex is more than an event, it has a sacred underpinning.  Unfortunately, we no longer interpret sex as part of spiritual maturation -- we simply regard it as pleasure. 

(   Predictably, homosexual relationships are prone to more division. We don't have the same social structures of support -- and indeed, cope with tremendous social forces trying to split us apart. Furthermore, we are caught with feet in both worlds. Again, speaking as a male, the most difficult thing to handle in a gay male relationship are two male egos! After all, both men were raised in patriarchy to believe they would be in charge, they would be the "centerpiece" they would be the provider and their career would be held as the top priority. Of course, no matter how our relationships are constructed or examined, they will be the topic of derision by our social structure. An oppressed people have never successfully argued the merit of their value to an oppressor. 

(   As we build respectful relationships, the value structure of that relationship grows and develops to the mutual agreement of both parties. This includes sexual conduct and behavioral and emotional boundaries. I also believe a monogamous coupled relationship can foster personal growth, maturity, and ongoing respect. The point is that all of us have a spiritual birthright and need the support of a spiritual community. Without it, much of life – including sex – becomes trivialized and unreflected. But when a church offers silence at best, the results are obvious. As Christians, our spiritual growth is linked to our human relationships. Because our spiritual journey requires a community to the witness of Jesus in our lives, when we are denied such community, our spiritual journey is crippled. 

(   Most gay and lesbian Christian couples do strive for monogamy because the goal doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Rather, it’s part of their whole life which includes a spiritual and sexual journey. I think there is a recognition that this type of relationship – at its best – results in real love and maturation. And it is that growth and maturation that is crucial to our walk as Christians! 

(   In terms of lifelong singular monogamy with one person, I have not lived up to the notion – but I aspire to it. I aspire to it because I have come to believe that it makes me a better person – a more thoughtful, mature, responsible and respectful human being.