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  • Writer's pictureDirty Minister

CONFESSION #1: Homophobia

Trigger Warning: Homophobic content, personal sexual experiences shared (for those of you who know me and don’t want details).

This month I come to you, my faith community, and to God with a confession. My past is riddled with my own homophobia. I’m deeply sorry. I seek to be better.

I came of age in the mid 90’s through the early 2000’s. I was never taught to hate LGBTQ+ people, but they were often the butt of the joke. Gay was a common slur we used in middle & high school. Most commonly it was a light hearted jeer I called my buddies. It was often synonymous with stupid. In my younger years I never made the connection that it was used to imply LGBTQ+ people were dumb.


Other times it was used to tear someone down. If I had beef with someone and needed to get in a real zinger, I could always call them gay or even worse, the f-word. I didn’t see the harm in it. I think I always justified it (in my head) to be okay because when I used those words it wasn’t actually about gay people. It was just a word we used that was somehow separate from any group of people.


I failed to recognize my own discriminative language and the pain it most certainly caused. I did not love my neighbor. I’m sorry.


I remember my friends and I would trick each other. With the dawn of the internet being more and more accessible, we were finally able to look at porn without sneaking it from our dads’ hidden stash. My friend group would share photos of our favorite porn stars or someone new we discovered on a file sharing site (before pornhub.com). Sometimes, we would get a friend to agree how hot this new girl was, only to reveal that it was a woman with a penis. We’d all laugh, point fingers, and call that friend gay for admitting a trans woman was attractive.


I remember the feeling I had when I was “tricked.” How could I think a woman with a penis is attractive? Does that mean I’m gay? I didn’t want to be gay, the idea of it made me sick. I was so embarrassed and angry with myself only internalizing my homophobia.

I failed to recognize the inherent beauty of those models. Those people. I projected my immature fears of my own sexuality onto another person’s choice to express their sexuality bravely on the early internet. I did not love my neighbor. I’m sorry.

I remember when my younger sibling came out gay. I was in high school. I did not take them seriously. When word spread and people would ask me about it I would say something like, “Yea, I think it is just a phase. They just have a big heart for the outcasts and have always attracted friends of that nature. I think they are just mixed up in that friend group right now and will come out of it some day.”

Looking back at this today, it doesn’t make sense to me. I believed other people could be gay, but at the same time I couldn’t accept the truth that my sibling identified as gay. There was a disconnect there that wasn’t allowing me to accept this reality close to home.


I failed to hear my sibling’s truth and believe them. I falsely assumed to know them better than they knew their own self. I did not love my neighbor. I’m sorry.


I was the kind of person who would say, “It is fine that people are gay. I just don’t want to see two men kiss in a movie or on TV. It’s fine if gay people kiss, I just don’t want to see it.” I thought that was a fine stance. I thought it was fine if I didn't want to see physical, or even emotional, affection between two men. But of course I was hypocritically okay with seeing any form of heteronormative acts of affection that was displayed the rest of the time. I was watching heterosexual porn and even lesbian porn, but to see two men kiss? That was too far for me.


I failed to recognize that gay love and affection is equally as valid as straight love and affection. I prioritized my own sexuality and experience to the point I invalidated the representation of another’s sexuality and experience of love in media. I did not love my neighbor. I’m sorry.

Thankfully, who I’ve described here is a past version of me. Is he completely gone? Probably not. I’d be lying if I said some of these old feelings don’t still creep in faintly when I’m watching Schitts Creek and see David and Patrick kiss on screen. I recognize it and I don’t like that about myself. But I’m grateful to the creators of these shows who work hard to give those two characters meaningful and heartwarming moments. I’m grateful for how their relationship grows into something beautiful on screen. These are the stories that help chip away at my homophobia that is rooted deep inside me.

Will I ever come to a day where I can fully pull the roots out of my homophobia? I hope so, but I don’t know. Maybe it has to be more of a mission to not pass on and instill that in my kids in order to pave a better way for their generation. Because to get to where I am today took decades and I still don’t feel as if it is completely gone.

Let me try to explain my personal journey out of the weeds of homophobia.


Because it didn’t just magically go away in my childhood.


I went into a private university for my undergrad program with the vague belief that homosexuality was probably okay for some but not something I wanted to see or really be around. My undergrad was quite conservative in its religious teachings. It didn’t take long to be swept up in the faith filled community on campus, indoctrinated into my theology-heavy classes, and developed a love and respect for my professors. This is where my homophobia was only solidified, but this time I justified it with my theology.

I remember a professor, who I admired greatly, describing the differences between sinning and living in sin. He explained, sins are the actions we make that are against God’s commandments. Essentially not loving God and not loving our neighbors. Sinning was something we all do and can’t really get out of and can only find forgiveness in Jesus. But living in sin is very different. This is when we take one of those sins we are sinning and continually do it on a regular basis. Living this way fails to take our forgiveness seriously and doesn't involve making any effort to stop sinning that sin. This is where homosexuality is unacceptable in God’s eyes. It is not that we don’t love gay people. This is why it is unacceptable to openly live a gay lifestyle.

Something about this understanding clicked in my head. I remember walking away from that class feeling like I’d finally come to a solid understanding of my beliefs around homosexuality and my faith.


It was a step in the wrong direction. I carried around this belief with me for the next few years.


I remember one regretful weekend being home from school. My sibling waited until we were alone and asked me, “So since you’re going to be a church worker, what do you believe about me and my gay lifestyle?” Unfortunately, I boldy shared my beliefs at the time. I told them how I believed that being gay is not the problem. It is the act of gay sex that is the problem. And while a sin can be forgiven, living in sin is not repentant. I ended it with something about how I loved them but couldn’t agree with the way they were choosing to live.


I thought by making sure I said I loved them, that somehow buffered the undercurrent of homophobia I was drowning them with. What I thought was love was in fact emboldened rejection, all in the name of Jesus. I’m eternally sorry for this. I wish this was my breaking point due to my sibling shutting that shit down and telling me what's what. Instead, they calmly exited the conversation and I continued this mindset for at least the next five years.


Pieces of that belief system began to shift as I began working in ministry full time. But nothing compared to when I took a Dismantling Systemic Racism course once I continued my education in seminary five years into serving in ministry. This course not only opened my eyes and led me down a long path of unlearning my own internal racism (a whole other confession) and everything attached to it, it begged the same question when it came to my beliefs around homosexuality and everything related to the LGBTQ+ community. A small, yet simple concept came out of that class.


What if I were to believe their stories? What would that mean for their reality?


As I began to pull that string of thought, it led me back to my sibling. What if I believed them? What if I believed the stories of gay people? What if the heterosexual pastors I’d heard preach on the gay lifestyle were wrong? What if it was true that people didn’t choose to be gay? What if people are gay because it is simply who they truly are in their innermost being? And in the face of all the hate, they choose to be out about their sexuality because it is more liberating to be their true selves on the outside just as much as they are on the inside? What kind of God would create someone to be tempted to live in sin for all their days and call that love?

So instead of listening to those on the outside (heterosexual perspectives) looking in, I began to learn from thinkers and creators who were sex positive and who were a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I learned so much and my entire worldview exploded over the next few years.

One day I had a long car ride and googled “best storytelling podcasts” and came across a podcast called Risk!. The Risk! Podcast taught me what it means to not yuck on other people’s yums. So many stories told from life experiences I’ll never have. I began to realize there is no “normal” way of life. We all have vastly complex and different experiences. How could I have so easily attached the idea of right and wrong to millions of people’s lives based on my one in seven billionth life experience?

From there my podcast library grew. Podcasts like Queer Theology and Yass Jesus! taught me how the term homosexual was not inserted into the Bible until 1946. Or how there is Scripture that reflects loving gay relationships in biblical characters. I began to hear how transgender people can see themselves in Scripture through stories of Jesus’ transfiguration, His encounter with Mary at the tomb, or how biblical characters had their names changed along with their identities. How could I have so easily leaned on Scripture to justify my homophobia and condemn God’s children when I had such an infantile understanding?

Then on the Normalizing Nonmonagamy podcast I heard stories of a deep love and the idea of compersion in non-monogamous relationships. How people in open relationships or those who practice polyamory find happiness in their partner receiving romance and pleasure from another without feeling threatened or like they lost something. My mind was expanding at an exponential rate when hearing others’ experiences outside of my own understanding of a “normal” life. What if I were to believe them at their word?

Not only did it expand my mind, it made my understanding of God so much bigger!


Over these few years so much of my homophobia was chipped away. I began to strive to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. I began to be more vocal about LGBTQ+ rights issues on my social media pages. I was nervous at first, being a church leader, that there would be push back from those in my congregation. But as I continued on in trying to articulate my advocacy, I got better at avoiding the fights and sticking to lifting others up.


The most disheartening moments were when my old college friends, now in their own ministry positions, would argue with me. They would spout the same things I once used to justify my own homophobia. It was like looking in the mirror at my old-self. While I was disgusted with who I once was, at the same time, it was a clear indication of how far I’d come. Reading their hate and disdain, for what I once thought was positivity and love, made me recognize my own homophobia clearly. But most importantly, how much of it was gone.


Not completely gone. One last piece of homophobia was chipped away when I learned about the prostate.

Two other resources I learned a lot from was the podcast, Sex With Emily, and a YouTube channel, Sexplanations with Dr. Lindsey Doe. On multiple occasions they were adamant that there was this thing, the prostate, that can be reached inside my ass. If stimulated, it would bring whole new sensations and a whole new kind of orgasm. I love Dr. Doe’s motto every episode, “stay curious.” And while I was certainly curious, there was something deep inside me (pun intended) that computed anything near my ass was homosexual in nature.

Looking back, it seems silly. Why would inserting something in my back door have anything to do with my sexual-orientation? Lucky for me, Emily is always encouraging those with a prostate to explore it. Always reminding listeners, just because a man penetrates his ass, does not make him gay. After 30 years of being afraid of anything touching my asshole and having the help of Emily and Dr. Doe, I bought myself a prostate massager!

Long story short, I overcame that mental hurdle and cracked my mind open a little more to the beauty of sexual exploration. And it turns out, it didn’t make me gay! Wow, I had been missing out on what so many gay men already knew the pleasures of!

If I had only listened to experiences unlike my own sooner.

This is my journey within, through, and out of my homophobia. This is not necessarily a blueprint for anyone else. But I hope, by sharing my story, that maybe some reconciliation will come out of it. That maybe even a piece of my story resonates with someone else and helps expose their own homophobia and not be afraid of it.


If you were at all defensive of my story, you might take some honest time to self-reflect and truly ask yourself, “Are there homophobic beliefs within me?” It’s okay to recognize them, face them, and give them to God. Let the burden of hateful beliefs and ideals go, for Jesus’ yoke is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)


Or maybe you’re reading this and you were hurt by someone’s homophobia. As a practicing minister, I apologize for your pain and want to remind you that you are created by God. You are GOOD and you are LOVED! You don’t deserve to have to wait for so many others to learn that you are made in God’s image just the same. I hope to be an example, that some of us are working to rid ourselves of our own homophobia. I pray that my journey can be of any inspiration that people can change for the better.

My homophobia held me back from many life-giving experiences. It sold my relationships short. It caused me to hurt those I loved. It tricked me into condemning God’s children. It made my view of God small.

I am eternally grateful for those educators and resources that opened my mind and made the scales fall from my eyes.


I come before you, my faith community, and God to repent of my sins and seek forgiveness. I vow to live the rest of my days seeking to be the best ally I can be.

Thank God for repentance.

Thank God for forgiveness.

AND THANK GOD FOR LGBTQ+ FOLK!


-The Dirty Minister


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