Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Same-Sex Attractions

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One of the most frequent objections I hear in regards to my same-sex attractions coupled with my desire to live a chaste life in obedience to God is, “Why are you so ashamed of who you’re attracted to?” My initial response to this objection, I won’t lie, is often laughter. Me? Ashamed? I have a lot to be ashamed of in my life, but my attraction to other women has never been one of those things. It has definitely caused some awkward and embarrassing moments along the way, but I can’t say “shame” has ever been something I’ve felt for it.

Now, when I say “shame,” I’m talking about a deep, grievous sense of guilt or fault. The dictionary definition of “shame” is uncomfortable to read: “A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Shame is something we feel when we’ve done something wrong or severely out-of-step with what was expected of us. It isn’t the same as some subtle embarrassment, which might turn us red as we realize our weaknesses, or even regret, which causes us to wish we’d done something differently. Shame is what drives us to hide, to withdraw, and more to the point, to feel horrible about ourselves.

So, why am I not ashamed? Isn’t homosexual behavior considered a sin? Doesn’t everyone know that God and the Bible and the Church are all opposed to it? Well, yes. Engaging in sexual acts with another woman would be a sin, because every sexual act which takes place outside the marriage covenant between one man and one woman—according to God’s own designs—is a sin.

But same-sex attractions are not chosen, and sin is always a choice we make. More importantly, while same-sex attraction can without a doubt be a strong temptation to commit sin, it can also be an opportunity to experience magnificent grace when it is surrendered to God. I’ll be bold here and say that because I have come to embrace chastity, my attractions have become an experience through which I have been able to grow closer to the heart of God, in whose image women and men are made.

We can’t choose who we’re attracted to, we can only choose what we do about it, and whether we want to surrender this part of our lives to God or not is a choice we make. Therefore, as one man explained, “Contrary to what the media always implies, the alternative to ‘Gay Pride’ isn’t ‘Gay Shame.'”

If you experience attraction to the same sex, whether alongside attraction to the opposite sex or exclusively, I hope to be clear: this is nothing to be ashamed of. As men and women, we are created in the image and likeness of the same God who calls us to love and has stamped a longing for Him into the core of our hearts. If you feel shame, take it to God in prayer. Be honest with Him and speak to him about your desires. Don’t hide this from Him. Keeping this from God will only diminish the joy in your life—not enhance it. Not to mention, He already knows about it, and He wants to show us how it can make us saints—people who love Him above all else, see His beauty all around us, and are completely wrapped up in His heart with awe.

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Emily is a 23-year-old Theology student who spends her free time reading, writing, hanging out with friends, and dyeing her hair ridiculous colors. When she isn’t doing homework, she’s assisting with the youth ministry program at her parish.

31 Comments

  1. There is a glaringly obvious omission regarding the assertions made by the author: same-sex attraction IS a disordered inclination–it is *not* merely “finding another woman beautiful.”

    When a *man* finds a woman beautiful, that inclination and/or attraction to the other sex is properly ordered.

    But when a woman experiences *sexual* attraction to another woman, that is not a properly ordered inclination. It’s not something to affirm or view as in keeping with the dignity of the human person.

    While it’s true that this disordered inclination is not sinful unless acted upon, and one with SSA need not feel “shame” about experiencing such attractions, it’s not helpful to gloss over the point that the inclination is indeed not properly ordered.

    By Jim Russell | 1 year ago Reply
    • I shared similar sentiments. See my post below

      By Nick | 1 year ago Reply
    • Jim, first let me preface by saying I’m a very strong advocate of Church teaching on this. Having said this I don’t believe there is any omission in the authors article only a disagreement in the point of emphasis one wants to place on church teaching. For me, this has been the obstacle in understanding how we treat someone of same-sex attraction. By placing the emphasis on “disordered” people stop there and think “you are a sinner” this, of course, is not our job. We are to love and accept them as we should anyone else. In this manner we allow them to feel the love of God and, hopefully allow themselves to be open to his teaching just as the author has done. There is no place in her article where she is affirming same-sex attraction. There is also no place in church teaching that says we stop at “disordered”. As long as a person is functioning in obedience to Church teaching they are in full communion with the church.
      To me, this person, operating in obedience to God and the Church, has got to be very pleasing to God. I can only hope I can do the same with my areas of weakness.

      By Jerome Schauf | 1 year ago Reply
    • We’re all created by God’s love and due to original sin we all have disordered inclinations. So, it’s best not to judge this young lady. She is opening a door to others with her similar “disordered inclinations”and how she continues to grow in her faith. Pope Francis said everything is on the table for discussion.
      It’s best to understand and accept how God has made you, perfectly broken, and figure out what He wants you to do.
      I commend this young lady for practicing chastity, seeking God, and being open. I’m heterosexual with no gender identity issues. Married for 22 years with four children. And ya know, she’s right. Women are more beautiful! LOL

      By Lisa | 1 year ago Reply
    • Who are we to say if same-sex attraction is rightly ordered or not? Who are we to know the souls, the honest feelings, of other people? I believe that same sex attraction is natural, because it is impossible to prove if it is or is not- I believe in giving others the benefit of the doubt.

      By Molly | 1 year ago Reply
    • Temptations are neither ordered or disordered, they simply are. The piece seemed clear enough to me. I don’t see what purpose nit picking the author serves.

      By Victor Bergeron | 1 year ago Reply
  2. Interessante. Tenho amiga que sofre com isso voces tem algum contato para partilhar sobre o assunto? Deus abencoe

    By prado | 1 year ago Reply
  3. Thank you so much for writing this. I feel more at peace in my heart. Thank you. You put words to my own reactions so very clearly. God Bless.

    By Brianna | 1 year ago Reply
  4. This is so beautifully explained! Thank you for the light of your example!

    By Maura | 1 year ago Reply
  5. WOOT!! PREACH IT SISTER!!! 😀 😀

    Seriously awesome. Thanks for writing this.

    By GiannaT | 1 year ago Reply
  6. THANK YOU!!!!

    This is so perfect; too perfect for words. ❤️

    By Gabrielle Gojko | 1 year ago Reply
  7. I’d be careful with this one. I think something needs to be clarified here. There is a difference between finding someone beautiful, and finding someone sexually attractive. If you are a woman who finds another woman beautiful, that’s perfectly normal. The human body is beautiful. However, if that affection turns to sexual longing, there is something out of step. This is NOT to say that people who experience this are automatically sinners, or that they are any more messed up than the rest of us. We were all born with or developed different inclinations to sin in different ways. However, when we are drawn to another of the same sex SEXUALLY, we must realize that this is an effect of original sin, just the same way wanting to punch someone in the face on a daily basis is an effect of original sin. We should not feel ashamed of these things, outside of feeling shame that man sinned in the first place and that we caused our own misery, but we should recognize that a SEXUAL attraction to someone of the same sex is an effect of original sin and therefore disordered. And just like our other proclivities to sin, the more holy we grow, the more this will diminish. I guess my basic point here is that one should not celebrate that they have a same sex attraction, nor should they feel ashamed. Like the author, they should accept it, offer it to God, and use it to climb the hill of Calvary towards the crown of sainthood. God Love You.

    By Nick | 1 year ago Reply
    • Everyone should be ashamed if he commits a sin and it is a sin if you try to satisfy EVERY sexual attraction outside marriage.

      But simply having a sexual attraction is not something to be ashamed of, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual. It’s irrelevant.

      By growing more holy, a homosexual attraction would not diminish just as a heterosexual attraction also would not diminish. What would diminish is our tendency to commit a sin, cause by either of them with the one being just as dangerous as the other.

      By DA | 1 year ago Reply
    • Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your comment very much, and agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve said here.

      I am in the process of praying about how better to convey what I meant in this post. It was certainly not my intention to say that same-sex attraction is a wonderful thing or that it is in any way rightly ordered. My only point was that it isn’t something to be ashamed of, and that, when given over to God, can become — rather easily — an avenue for great grace.

      By Emily | 1 year ago Reply
      • Emily you expressed yourself very well.

        By Jerome Schauf | 1 year ago Reply
      • Emily, great, graceful response. Peace.

        By Steve | 1 year ago Reply
    • Nick, I agree with you whole heatedly. I’ve heard my friends at my Catholic University take the same position, but this is the best I’ve heard anyone explain it. I could be wrong here and overly overlooking so to speak, but I’d be careful about you caution. To explain what I mean, here is a great exercpt by C.S. Lewis from the preface of “Mere Christianity” (The book is a must read as is the preface. (You can find preface and the first 4 chapters online)).

      Far deeper objections may be felt – and have been expressed – against my use of the word Christian to mean one who accepts the common doctrines of Christianity. People ask: ‘Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?': or ‘May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?’ Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it.

      I agree completely with the distinction you made, but I’m not sure it is a useful one (it may do more harm than good). The problem with the first statement is that it implicitly could lead someone to feel proud of their same sex sexual attractions. The problem with the second (your) statement is that is implicitly could lead someone to look down on someone with same sex sexual attractions. I’ve seen this happen.

      You’ve also got to keep in mind all of the pain that a lot of people who experience same sex sexual attractions have gone through. The culture beats them down while at the same time “lifting them up” by feeding them a false lifestyle and telling them it is okay. To those people, the Church is the only safe place for them. We need to make them feel welcome. All things considered, I believe the first statement is more charitable than the second (despite the second being more elegantly worded) because the possible misunderstanding of the first statement is not near as bad as the possible misunderstanding of the second statement. I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY, reccomend everyone to go read the preface to “Mere Christianity”. It is enjoyable and it has changed my view on a lot of things in a short 20-20 minutes.

      By Tanner | 1 year ago Reply
  8. Thank you for this lovely post. It nearly made me cry. Please pray for me.

    By Emmy | 1 year ago Reply
  9. This is wonderful! You’re so courageous :)

    By Natalie | 1 year ago Reply
  10. I think the overall direction of the message is good. :) Nick’s clarification should also be taken to heart, though. I too am a Catholic with SSA, and I don’t think I should be ashamed of it either. That’s the main point, after all, right? However, we do have to be careful with how we communicate this part of our lives.

    There is pressure, currently, to leave most of the Church’s teaching intact (even physical chastity) while fudging here and there with the fact that SSA are intrinsically and objectively disordered. I have marketed my own life along those lines and now see that it can be totally well-meant but confused.

    Here ends my five cents’ worth of rambling. God bless you, Emily!

    By Andrew | 1 year ago Reply
  11. Thank you for being a gift Emily. To anyone truly seeking the heart of God who experiences same-sex attraction, know that my family (and yours, as one Church) prays for you.

    By Adrian | 1 year ago Reply
  12. Thank you Emily so much! I work with several Lesbians who live the life style and one’s “Wife” is expecting a child. I treat everyone with respect and dignity but would love to pick your brain privately by email would that be possible!

    By Lisa Wieber | 1 year ago Reply
  13. Thanks for sharing, Emily :) the world needs more testimonies like yours.
    I’ll keep you in my prayers

    By Priscila | 1 year ago Reply
  14. I once had the chance to meet a middle-aged woman who had become active in a popular lay religious community in Manila. She confided to me that she felt she was a woman born with the heart of a man. That she had been having to battle same-sex attraction…. The good news she imparted is: ever since she had given herself entirely to God and become active in her religious community, she found that temptations were no longer a problem, that with God on our side we can resist sin. Such good news it made me cry. I wanted to get her number to invite her to witness but she was so poor she did not even have a contact number.

    By rona | 1 year ago Reply
  15. An imperfect, but refreshing, approach to the problem. I’ve lived with same-sex attraction for decades, battling to live a life pleasing to God. I’ve married, had kids and kept this quietly buried. But, it’s hard and some ability to live a life that doesn’t go against Church teaching but which also doesn’t require going it alone in shame would be a great blessing to this young woman and her generation.

    By David | 1 year ago Reply
  16. God has specifically designed us, male and female to take part in his creation to bear fruit (children). Marriage…is designed for that purpose as written in our Bible. To choose to go against the Bible and it’s scriptures also goes against what God has written clearly in the Bible. Anyone is entitled to love another person but, to get sexually involved, is not within God’s plans for anyone of us!!! Same sex Marriage to me, is only considered a “friendship” nothing more!!! Male and female compliment one another in Marriage and work together in their vows as Man and Woman and God in the center to hold it together as a Marriage in good faith!!! And the two became “ONE” as male and female!!!

    By Pam Fiecke | 1 year ago Reply
    • Was there a point to this comment?

      By Mary | 1 year ago Reply
  17. Emily–you’ve done an outstanding job revisiting your original post and the “2.0” version of this is excellent–quite an encouragement to others. Thanks for rising to the challenge of speaking truth in love! Well done!

    By Jim Russell | 1 year ago Reply
  18. thank you for writing this post. Thank you so much

    By Sararose | 1 year ago Reply
  19. Daaannng Emily. You are a great woman of God and trust me you are doing the right thing. I truly admire you for your courage and my prayers are behind you from now on Emily. You are great for trusting and giving yourself to God because a sexual orientation does not define who you are. Thank you Emily for this article which gives support for tons of people like this.

    By Elizabeth | 1 year ago Reply
    • *in this situation

      By Elizabeth | 1 year ago Reply

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