I experienced every kind of abuse growing up, including sexual abuse. I started experiencing same-sex attraction and grew up being called gay, ridiculed by people close to me because of it. I was actually attracted to girls as well, but no one affirmed that in me. I decided to identify myself as a gay male when I was 17.
Many masculine guys were interested in me and flirted with me, although I didn’t have sexual relationships with them. Some of them wanted to keep their relationships with me a secret, which I hated. One day, I was going with a guy to the beach. He touched my back, and I felt my body lock up, and I started having tremors. I realized, “I don’t actually want this.”
I was also in anger management, had a restraining order against me, and had threatened to kill three of my roommates. I was consumed by anger. At age 18, I had been addicted to pornography for 11 years, and was watching it six times a day. It wasn’t even fun for me, but it was something I felt I needed to get me through each day.
At my lowest point, I felt that I needed God to change my life because I was helpless on my own. I said, “God, everyone who ever told me about you was a hypocrite. But I want to know you for who you truly are.” This began my journey of healing.
I began listening to Christian teachers every time I wanted to watch porn or do something destructive. I had six different counselors for trauma and PTSD. And I attended a ministry school, where I learned how to have healthy relationships with men.
All the men I had known were abusive, so I was terrified of men. When I started going to ministry school, I had to live with guys. For the first time, the guys in my life were affirming me and my masculinity in a healthy, genuine way. They didn’t treat me differently even though they knew about my past. I also learned in the ministry school that my feelings don’t define me, and I don’t have to live by them. These experiences were extremely healing for me.
The same-sex attractions I used to have weren’t just physical, but also emotional. I don’t experience emotional attraction to men anymore, and I don’t really have physical attraction to men anymore, either. At my lowest, I saw myself as a woman. Now I see myself as a man and enjoy being a man. The night terrors that used to plague me nightly are completely gone. I no longer wear lipstick or nail polish. I had an eating disorder. Now, I love to eat. My anxiety that used to be through the roof is entirely gone. Whereas I used to feel filthy and full of shame, I now live feeling clean and entirely shame-free.