Practicing Antifragility as a Gay Person

Note: whenever I start to veer into the topics explored in this post, some people feel defensive or angry. Perhaps they feel like my words are a judgement of their own complicated lives, which is never my intention. Because of this, I want to premise this article with saying that this is about me, not about you. If you read my words and feel like they don’t map onto your own experience as an LGBT+ person, then chances are good that my words in this post don’t reflect your reality. They aren’t a judgment or an expectation. As with everything, my story fits within an intersectional lens, and it would probably be different if I were a person of color, trans, or of a different economic status. If, however, you do feel like my words in this article resonate, then I’m glad you are able to take something from my story and apply it to your life.

Back 2013, I rose to prominence as a gay Christian blogger fighting for the inclusion of LGBT people in the church (incidentally, my blog was called Sacred Tension, which is now the name of my podcast.) I was hell bent on creating a better world for LGBT Christians, and I’m still convinced that my writing from that time is some of the best I’ve ever done in my life. However, I was also incredibly fragile. I suffered regular breakdowns, and I do mean genuine, horrifically painful breakdowns, in which I would self-harm, plummet down suicidal abysses, and go on reckless, compulsive sexual benders.

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Being Gay is the Least Interesting Thing About Me (UPDATED)

As I’ve watched online leftist spaces and parts of my local LGBTQ community, I’ve noticed a concerning trend. Many LGBTQ people (especially the younger, post-millennial generations) seem to be progressively infatuated with their identities, and centering it as the most important part of their existence. 

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I Am Now An Outsider to the Christian LGBT Community I Helped Build, And That Hurts

Several days ago, an ugly battle over the resurrection of Christ exploded on theological twitter. It started when two prominent theologians started tweeting about a non-literal perspective of the resurrection, and the conversation quickly devolved into a morass of ugliness and bitterness. The details of the debate are immaterial to this post, so I won’t get into them. What stands out to me, though, is that many of the people defending the literal view of the resurrection were my fellow LGBT progressives. As I read through these tweets, and absorbed a toxic dose of twitter radiation, I had a painful realization, and I suddenly understood why my departure from credal Christian faith has hurt so much. I realized that, over the course of years, I slowly became an outsider to the very LGBT communities I helped build.

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The 4 Steps of Standing in Solidarity with LGBT People

I regularly find myself in conversation with people who feel deeply conflicted about how to love and respond to LGBT people: conservative minsters whose hearts have softened towards LGBT people, but whose theology has not; college chaplains who are suddenly finding themselves flummoxed by trans, queer, and gay students sitting in their office, struggling with faith and sexuality; parents, friends, siblings of gay people who see the damage done by the church and don’t know how to stop perpetuating that damage.

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Speaking the Truth In Love Can Break LGBT People

I hear it all the time: this protective need for some of my fellow Christians to “speak the truth in love” to their gay friends and family. In other words, while they say that they should “love and accept” those who are gay, they still feel a need to state that they think homosexuality is inherently sinful, and that gay people must commit themselves to chastity, denying homosexual sin.

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I Was Wrong About Trigger Warnings

Back in 2016, when I was (to my shame – I’m not proud of this fact) covertly flirting with alt-light ideas, I wrote an article called, “A Curmudgeon’s manifesto,” in which I established my personal rules for engagement and code of conduct. I still stand by much of what I wrote in that article, but you can hear my savagely wounded pride as an undercurrent in the piece. I’d recently been the victim of twitter hate from people I thought were my friends, and I’d never experienced such a thing before. I was wounded and disoriented, and the experience almost pushed me away from my fellow queer progressives and into the sweet, deadly embrace of the alt-right.

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How Depression has Made Me a Happier Person

When people ask me how I am, I usual say, “I’m alright,” or simply, “ok,” and some people respond with concern or condescension: “/just/ alright?” As if being manically exultant is not living a full life. I hate that response: “just ok?” To me, just ok is heaven. For me, just ok is hard earned fulfillment.

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Being Gay and Grieving for the Holidays

Grieving for the Holidays

I’m writing this the day before Thanksgiving. I’m weighed down with exhaustion – I manage a grocery store, and the holidays always hit us like a tidal wave. But I’m also weighed down with sorrow, with grief. As the holidays approach, I’ve felt an inexplicable dread come over me, and a deep grief. The sort of grief that exists deeper than conscious thought, and lives in the body itself.

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Gender Complementarianism is Superstition

gender complementarianism is superstition

Growing up gay in the conservative church, I believed I was barred from ever having a gay relationship and that, unless something truly miraculous happened which allowed me to marry a woman, I would spend the rest of my life celibate. This wasn’t because my Christian community overtly hated gay people – though many did. It wasn’t even because of the “clobber passages” – the handful of passages that allegedly directly mention homosexuality.

No. I and my Christian community believed I was barred from a gay relationship, first and foremost, because of gender complementarianism: the belief that the union of male and female within the covenant of marriage creates a morally exclusive spiritual state, and that such a state is the only valid and virtuous “container” for sexual activity.

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Gay Celibacy and Sublimated Desire

For the past year or so, I’ve been lurking on a Christian website called Your Other Brothers, which features the daily struggles of men pursuing gay celibacy, or marriages with women.

I’m somewhat infatuated with YOB, because it is such a startling window into the gay celibate world I inhabited in high school and college. It’s been a catalyst for self-reflection, and a good opportunity to sort through that era of my life.

YOB is also an excellent window into a world that many people may not comprehend. I encourage everyone to visit their blog and peruse it – it’s an alien, threatening world to many, but I also know that they are good guys trying to do the best they can with what life has given them. I can speak with confidence on that front – I know some of them, and I admire their integrity. And, just a few years ago, I was one of them.

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