Minority of a minority of a minority
I am gay, Christian, and celibate. And that is probably not going to change very much in the near future. Each successive label places me in an ever smaller subset which can be both liberating and suffocating. I once wrote a rather awful sonnet creatively titled, “Minority of a minority of a minority” chronicling my experience back in 2013.
A good friend tried to matchmake me with a mutual friend yesterday and the dissonance I felt was rather stark. It’s not only because the guy wasn’t quite my type (I think I’m gay with hints of bisexuality), but because she couldn’t appreciate how much my life has changed in the past 5 years. Not that it’s any fault of hers, I never shared my blog with her, what with me blogging here semi-anonymously for fear of repercussions where my job would be placed into jeopardy if I come out because I’m living in conservative Singapore.
Well, she had good intentions, and I don’t blame her, so for my sake, and for hers, I thought I’d just list down how much each label has come to define me.
Part 1: Counselling and Choices Support Group (2011 - 2014)
I first joined a Christian support group helmed by Church of our Saviour (COOS) in 2012. This was after I’d undergone counselling for the intense internal conflict I faced between my sexuality and my faith. It was like a second puberty as these attractions only emerged when I was at a ripe old age of 23 for reasons we will save for another blog post.
In any case, the support group was awesome. It was helpful to meet people who faced the same struggles that I did. To know that I wasn’t alone was a relief to say the least. I went through 3 modules in this system set up by Sy Rogers in his stint in Singapore and it was progressively less and less helpful as it went on. I found that a focus on distant fathers and domineering mothers was something I couldn’t quite identify with. They call it reparative therapy and I must admit that some parts of it did prove to be rather reparative. But over time, it just got a little annoying.
Thank goodness there was a break in between where I attended my first and the last ever…
Part 2: Exodus International Conference 2013
This was the best conference I have attended ever. It wasn’t the just the speakers. God knows. I was only fully awake when Alan Chambers spoke at the opening night because of the adrenaline rush from the anticipation that was built up the entire day. At other times, I was just falling asleep because of the terrible jet lag I suffered.
What impacted me the most were the Refuge Groups held nightly where a bunch of youths and young adults gathered together to share their testimonies. There were probably a hundred people each night and the stories I heard were extremely healing. Men and women spoke about how God convicted them and led them away from their gay partners, abusive relationships and wrong beliefs. To know that I was part of a bigger collective was the most amazing thing ever. I listened intently to each person, my heart beating fast on the last night because I thought I’d share my story. But I never summoned the courage to before the night ended.
It was kinda different from the support group I had here at home. Perhaps because I heard from both guys and girls whereas at Choices we were grouped by gender. And perhaps it was due to the way Choices was structured, I never got the chance to hear the story of how each person, unlike that night at Exodus.
That was part of what led to my next step in this journey where I discovered…
Part 3: Gay Christian Bloggers (2013 - now)
Twitter is a weird and wonderful place where the world truly becomes a smaller place. I found and devoured authors like Justin Lee, Wesley Hill, Eve Tushnet and more. The first time I read Washed and Waiting, I felt an instant connection, especially in the chapter where Hill comes out for the very first time. It was exactly how I felt, word for word.
Then I found ordinary folks who blogged, people like Julie Rodgers, Brent Bailey, Stephen Long and more.
All of them provided a community, though separated across the Pacific, but one that was brought very close to me with every tweet and blog post they posted.
I could identify with them as they articulated how I felt about the society around me, how the church and fellow Christians treated me, and the somewhat constant, unending, daily conflict I encounter between my faith and sexuality. Though I must say that it’s a lot better these days.
With the closure of Exodus, the presence of these people (whether affirming or not) solidified my identity as one who was celibate just because that was the conviction God’s placed on my heart.
However, my options are open. I look at Alan Chambers and am encouraged. I am open to the concept of marriage in the future to a man, someone of the opposite sex. This would be nothing short of a miracle and it will certainly be a very special man, in every sense of the word.
However, that is not my aim. Marriage is not an idol in my life, thank God for that. Perhaps I might enter a celibate same-sex relationship like what the folks at A Queer Calling model? I don’t know. We will see how God leads.
All I know is that at this moment in time, affirming theology does not speak to me and I feel that I’m committed to celibacy.
As a result, not any other matchmaking attempt would lead to success. It would take a very, very, very special man to come into my life, and it would be a divine appointment. The same goes for any lady God might send.
Anyway, I don’t quite know if I’d let the said friend read this. She did what she did with every good intention, but I don’t know if she’ll understand, or even make an attempt to understand, my rambling here in this post. Perhaps I’ll share with her one day when I think she is open to the things I’ve blogged about here.
We shall see.
Meanwhile, I’ll journey along with you, my reader, as I attempt to be a compassionate gay, Christian and celibate voice in sunny Singapore. I will endeavour to do my best to speak up for this minority of a minority of yet another minority because that’s where I belong.