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View Full Version : Shifting from Sexually Repressed to... less sexually repressed



Captcha
01-07-2014, 09:40 PM
This may be more of a sandbox question, but hopefully some of you have personal experiences/anecdotes to share...

I have a young gay character who has just run away from his fundamentalist Christian community because they were going to send him for reprogramming into an ex-gay (for the second time, after the first attempt didn't work).

He's internalized a lot of the social values he was raised with. He truly believes his desires are wrong and perverted. He shies away from any thoughts related to sex, and insofar as he has a plan for the future at all, he's planning to be celibate and/or guilt-wracked.

I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of his attitudes right now, and I feel like I know where I want him to be (still Christian, but with a less literal interpretation of the rules of the Bible).

I'm struggling with the steps he'll likely take to get there. I don't want there to be one bog epiphany where he's magically 'cured'; I'd like to trace some of his steps along the path.

I figure I can have him make some gay friends, some of whom can ask some pointed questions about his beliefs, and this will plant the seeds of a doubt.

What else?

He can read... I'm thinking mostly internet stuff, but if anyone has suggestions for good books/authors he could discover, that'd be great.

Has anyone followed a similar path themselves? Not necessarily with homosexuality, but with any movement from sexually repressed to... well, probably still to sexually conservative. I don't want him to go overboard. But anecdotes would be more than welcome!

Thanks for any help with this.

kaitie
01-07-2014, 10:44 PM
You know, there's a documentary that might help. It's called "For the Bible Tells Me So." It deals with conservative Christian families who have members who are homosexual and how they've come to terms with it, along with what the Bible actually says (in my reading, I don't see anything against it. I could explain that more, but it would take time I don't have right now).

It's essentially how they deal with the religious side of themselves and their sexuality. It might give you some insight into some of the changes that people have gone through and how that process happened. I have family members I'd love to sit down and show this documentary to. I do think, though, that it's a really great look at what, for a lot of people, are two very disparate ideas. Hope this helps some!

Captcha
01-07-2014, 11:37 PM
You know, there's a documentary that might help. It's called "For the Bible Tells Me So." ...

Sounds great - thanks, I'll look for it!

maryland
01-08-2014, 12:42 AM
Your character has only to read the King James Version of the Bible. Of the twelve apostles, only Simon Peter is mentioned as married, in a reference to his mother-in-law being ill. At the Last Supper, St John writes of himself:
Chapter 13, verse 23 'Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
verse 24 'Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke.'
verse 25 He ( i.e. John) then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?'
Modern translations are more bland, but it is ironic that at the centre of the story this is clearly stated. Surely this is of great comfort and encouragement for any gay Christian?

Captcha
01-08-2014, 01:10 AM
I didn't actually get anything sexual out of that passage... is that a common interpretation?

EMaree
01-08-2014, 01:20 AM
I wasn't familiar with that interpretation, so I had a look up and found three (http://www.psa91.com/john.htm) separate (http://thegaygospels.com/page7.htm) sources (http://biblethumpingliberal.com/2011/10/04/the-disciple-whom-jesus-loved/) who all seem to agree on the undertones. It's quite interesting.

Captcha
01-08-2014, 01:29 AM
It is interesting!

I'm a little extra-hesitant because I just finished reading an essay (of course I can't remember where I saw it) that was critical of western interpretations of any physical contact as being sexual. (I know it's not a unique idea, but I JUST read this essay... yesterday, maybe?)

Anyway, the essay pointed out that men in many cultures kiss each other on the lips, hang onto each other out of casual affection, and are otherwise less physically restrained than traditional North Americans and other WASP-types. It's not sexual, it's just friendly.

So, yeah, as one of the links you provided said, if I saw this behaviour between my pastor and his 'friend' at the park one weekend, I might be surprised and possibly believe there was a sexual relationship. But Jesus was living in a different culture... I feel like it's stretching it a bit to say that physical affection is a clear indicator of gay love.

CoolBlue
01-08-2014, 01:36 AM
I'm struggling with the steps he'll likely take to get there. I don't want there to be one bog epiphany where he's magically 'cured'; I'd like to trace some of his steps along the path.

I figure I can have him make some gay friends, some of whom can ask some pointed questions about his beliefs, and this will plant the seeds of a doubt.

I think this is the right approach.

"Minority" folks that suffer these difficulties have often been trained to think that they are the only one. So, even though he intellectually knows that there are others out there, find the something that makes him feel alone, unique in his unacceptability to the rest of entire humanity. Something IN HIMSELF. Show how he hates himself.

Then, have him find out the error of that view. Show the relief and freedom this gives him. His initial euphoria ("perhaps I am not alone after all") will get him into trouble "back at the ranch".

The yo-yo goes on until he regains the perspective to make the changes in his self-image that will enable him to live again. He sees the person who showed him his new perspective being persecuted for his difference. His mother reveals that his uncle who died mysteriously committed suicide after his weddding. That sort of thing.

He likely went from: I am loved (baby) to I am loved, but not all of me is OK (child) to I am confused and hate not being acceptable (teen) to I am so bad, I need to change, but I can't, so I want to escape all this (late teens) to wherever he is now, assuming him to be older.

HTH
CB

EMaree
01-08-2014, 01:42 AM
There's a very strong, supportive community of gay Christians out there as well. If he runs into some people like that they might be able to help him reconcile his faith with his sexuality.

(My friend Trisshawkeye on Tumblr (http://trisshawkeye.tumblr.com/) has an open ask box and might be able to answer a few queries about the LGBT Christian community.)

Captcha
01-08-2014, 01:54 AM
I agree, CoolBlue, it's going to have to be a process... luckily I'm planning this book to be part of a series!

And great link EMaree! The story takes place in Vancouver and there's a strong gay community there, and I know there's a Rainbow Community Church and some other gay-friendly churches. He'll have lots of resources, if he can just get the guts to use them!

Ken
01-08-2014, 02:34 AM
Just something to consider. Don't shift them totally. Let them retain some lingering doubts. That'll diminish the shift in perspectives, making things a bit easier for you. And that's really the reality of the situation with all perspectives that are adjusted over time. There will always remain some vestigial* bias, etc.

* credit to Mooky for introducing me to the word vestigial in a thread a few weeks ago.

ps Neat premise for a novel.

Captcha
01-08-2014, 02:42 AM
Just something to consider. Don't shift them totally. Let them retain some lingering doubts. That'll diminish the shift in perspectives, making things a bit easier for you. And that's really the reality of the situation with all perspectives that are adjusted over time. There will always remain some vestigial* bias, etc.


Yeah, I'm excited about this part! I love conflicted characters!

frimble3
01-09-2014, 06:28 AM
I agree, CoolBlue, it's going to have to be a process... luckily I'm planning this book to be part of a series!

And great link EMaree! The story takes place in Vancouver and there's a strong gay community there, and I know there's a Rainbow Community Church and some other gay-friendly churches. He'll have lots of resources, if he can just get the guts to use them!
If he's from a small community, and hasn't had much to do with live gay people, just living in a big city might help. It isn't just a matter of 'gay friends'. It's gay politicians, and gay activities being publicly advertised, and gay co-workers etc. All kindsa gays. Gay people leading normal lives, not all dancing in drag shows and skulking in corners, going straight to Hell.

And, running into other religions and ethnic groups, and just ... variety. Everyone does not need to fit into the narrow slice of humanity back home, why should he?
He may start out with a few gay friends, but be careful that, considering where he's coming from, he doesn't get locked into thinking that he and his circle of friends are it: a small pocket of gaydom surrounded by haters.

*Not gay, but: just being in a place where no-one knows you, can tell the folks back home what you're doing, is going to comment on your activities, can be freeing. He comes from a religious community? In the Big City, no-one will know or care that he doesn't go to church on the 'appropriate' schedule. Or even to the 'right' church.

Channy
01-09-2014, 08:30 AM
The approach I might take with this situation is probably introduce to him to a few key LBGT characters that will help him come to terms with who he is and how God is okay with it. Not knowing the full extent of how the family/community treats him, my personal experiences with the hardcore Christians is that it sort of goes in two ways... there will be those who believe, without a doubt, that being gay is a sin. And then there will be others who acknowledge that God loves everyone equally, no matter who/how/what you are. I would probably approach that as the "turning point/euphoria moment" when a fellow gay friend helps them realize that "Hey, God does love me for who I am inspite of what it says in the Bible." And it probably wouldn't be this grand turning moment either, there would likely be some residual doubt along the way. *shrug* Just a thought.

wendymarlowe
01-09-2014, 11:00 AM
Dan Savage (gay advice columnist) covered this in his blog today: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/01/08/sl-letter-of-the-day-bubble-boys

The guest expert he invited to write part of the column also has an autobiography out called "Rapture Practice (http://www.amazon.com/Rapture-Practice-Aaron-Hartzler/dp/031609465X)" which sounds like it might be exactly what you're looking for.

Captcha
01-09-2014, 03:27 PM
Thanks, guys!

And, timely, wendymarlowe! It's like Dan Savage is trying to help me out! Thank you, Dan!