Okay, so here it is. I’m twenty-three and grew up in your perfect traditional Catholic family. My parents were loving and religious and great. I believed wholeheartedly what I was taught and adored it. And yet, before I even know what homosexuality was (because, like as good like Catholic girls, I was very sheltered), I began to feel romantic urges for girls. This began to creep on me as I grew older and by the time I was seventeen I knew, with some horror, that I had gay feelings.
I can already anticipate your reactions. No, there were no examples of homosexuality in my life. I was not sexually abused. I have healthy, normal relationships with men. You can’t pin this on anything environmental. If I had any choice at all I would have wanted to be straight. You cannot imagine the pain and suffering this has caused me, as a Catholic who wants desperately to be the daughter her parents wanted.
I spent most of my teenagerhood terrified of having close relationships with other women and suffered socially because of it. I tried desperately, and totally alone, to “pray away the gay”. My parents, who are wonderful in every way, didn’t even consider that this could happen to their children. I had no support. I was scared shitless, thanks to some very graphic church sermons and comments dropped by my family, that if anyone found out, I’d be kicked out of the house. Even if I kept my family’s love, there was no getting around that this would change things forever.
Eventually I realized, quite frankly, that my efforts were ********. It was clear that I am who I am. I cannot control my sexuality any more than I can control my love of hip hop, or the color of my eyes. We are born with some preferences, for different flavors of ice cream, and for some genders. I am not a pervert. My feelings for women are as pure and lofty as any my heterosexual friends have.
The more I prayed and tried, desperately, to understand why I am the way I am, the angrier I became. I am angry at my parents and my Church, who created a world of fear. I have spent so much of my life terrified of judgment. I have had no role models, no community, and no compassion.
The Church makes its views on homosexuality very clear. And for all you may claim to love the sinner, hate the sin, you all cannot deny that a Catholic congregation is an unfriendly place for even a celibate homosexual. You cannot deny that being open about who I am would be inviting gossip and cruelty, no matter how closely my life follows Church teachings. It would be like living under a microscope.
I’ve read this community’s responses to questions about homosexuality. I’ve read how, at the first mention of a gay man, you pry into his sexual history.
Imagine telling me at sixteen, a young girl who loved romcoms and longed for romance, that she could never have an intimate relationship. That celibacy for her was not a calling, or a vocation, but a sentence. Heterosexuals choose celibacy and it is a beautiful thing, but homosexuals have no choice. They are slated into one path and let’s be honest here. It sucks.
So yes, I’m angry. It makes it hard to go to Church, to have meaningful relationships with my family. My prayer life is strong and I try to follow God’s teachings, but I feel as if I’m hitting brick walls. I am tired of being told that my soul and body are an abomination and that I am incapable of giving romantic love.
The Catholic Church is scary for me. I wish it wasn’t.
I don’t know quite what I’m saying here, only that the more time I spend with Catholics, the more cruel comments about homosexuality slip, and the more I feel like this isn’t the place for me. This forum feels unsafe for me.
I don’t know what to do.