This will probably be the most personal entry I ever write for this blog, so let me make two things clear right up front: 1) I will not be revealing anything here that could clue anyone in to my real-life identity, and 2) This is not a case of my closet exhibitionist coming out to play; I'm writing this entry because it might be of some help to someone in a similar situation to mine. This world makes it very, very hard to be a sexual minority; we all need to support each other as best we can. That being said....
As I've mentioned before, I didn't discover I was a lesbian until I was 31 years old. In a way that was a blessing, because high school was hellish enough for me without that added weight on my shoulders. But frankly, I don't see how I could have processed the truth at that stage of my life anyway. I was brought up in a fundamentalist household and always felt strongly pressured to be as good/obedient/perfect as possible (which is probably a big reason I'm so into MC, but that's another story). Most of the fundamentalism came from my father, who dropped out of the picture before I hit my teens; after that, my religious world gradually started to open up, but I was still trying hard to be a good little fundamentalist well into my early 20's, and good little fundamentalists just weren't gay - or so I thought at the time. I've since encountered several.
Anyway, I sailed through my college years and early twenties on a tide of blissful ignorance, always looking for Mr. Right and never finding him - and always being amazed at how quickly my friends gave in to sexual pressure when I wasn't even seriously tempted. Eventually I began to wonder if I was a) not psychologically ready for a mate, and/or b) just plain frigid.
Meanwhile, the older I got, the more I began to question the most basic tenet of fundamentalism: that the Bible is inerrant. A big reason for the questioning was that I was coming into a closer relationship with a gay relative and was trying to understand and not be judgmental; but an even bigger reason was, the more I began to think for myself, the more my heart and mind both told me inerrancy just didn't make sense. Heck, the New Testament actually says - twice - "Slaves, obey your masters."* Tell that to the people who say you're going to hell because the Bible says so!
Eventually I gave up on fundamentalism and learned something the fundamentalists had always hidden from me: there's a very large segment of Christianity (and of other religions, I'm sure) that has accepted homosexuality as a product of biology rather than of sin.
Then came the big moment, a few years further down the road. I was at a very spiritual place in my life, both mentally and physically. In fact, I was actually praying in a chapel balcony when it just dropped on me out of nowhere, like a brick from heaven: I was no more or less attracted to women than I was to men. I wasn't straight.
My first thought was that I must be bisexual, since I did enjoy looking at men and had had crushes on so many of them. And believe me, thinking I was bisexual was frightening enough. I spent the entire next morning expecting to lust after every single person who crossed my path. I didn't, of course, and eventually I began to relax a little.
Then I found a few GLBT acquaintances to talk with, and at last a wise (and hilariously blunt) older friend asked me, "Well, do you like dicks?" That was the second brick. Once it hit me, I saw the truth I'd been avoiding all those years: sure, I liked guys. A lot. From the waist up. But I never got off on the idea of sex with a man, whereas the first time I imagined myself pleasuring a woman...well, let's just say it was a real eye opening experience. Then eventually I had my first lesbian kiss, and that sealed the deal. I finally knew, after all those years, what things were supposed to feel like. Oh, and as for my worrying about being frigid? Not a worry any longer. ;-)
And that's it in a nutshell. I had to leave fundamentalism behind before I could embrace my orientation, but I haven't left my faith behind; I've just become a lot more liberal in it. On the other hand, I do know several GLBT's who've managed to retain a rigid theology and still feel all right about themselves, so it can be done. Here's a very interesting documentary that speaks to that issue from a Jewish standpoint.
In closing, I'd like to offer myself as a resource to anyone wrestling with issues of sexuality and spirituality. My knowledge of the subject is fairly extensive, and I can promise you complete confidentiality, total compassion and open-mindedness, and not a jot of evangelism. Having come out of the background I did, I feel nothing but sympathy for people who find their faith pitted against their essential natures. I want to help in any way I can. So if you need someone to talk to, just e-mail me. I'll be glad to listen and not judge.
*Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22