I realized that I wasn’t born gay. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

When I was just a small child in the 1950s, I was sexually abused. These traumatic experiences had a huge impact on me. As I grew older, I found myself experiencing same-sex attraction. What followed was a long battle with depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts. I eventually sought help in the 1980s and 90s, and was told by therapists that I was born gay. I was given “born gay, be happy, take a pill” therapy and lived for 35 years as an out, angry, atheist lesbian. The negative consequences of my lesbian life—anger, depression, abuse, addiction, violence, shame and suicidal tendencies—never went away. I just managed the misery and sought out 12-Step programs to avoid killing myself.

In 2007, I lost another lesbian relationship and my job, and my father died, all in a six-month period. These experiences broke me. While attending a 12-Step Adult Children of Alcoholics group, I began to challenge the belief I had embraced for years: that I had been born gay.  The only person in my life who had never surrendered to that viewpoint was my Christian mother. She never stopped praying for me to find my true self, and in my heart of hearts, I knew that she was right. As I continued to question, it became clearer and clearer that I had been living and believing something that would never give me peace and fulfillment. I realized that I wasn’t born gay.

I began attending a church and in 2009 heard a story of a man who overcame suicidal thoughts and drug addiction through his faith in Jesus. I knew immediately that Jesus could help me overcome my struggle with homosexuality, and He did. This church community gave me the freedom to talk about my journey and focus on building new friendships. Supportive relationships and a strong community were invaluable. 

Today, I am free of shame, addiction, and suicidal thoughts. I’m single and happier than I have ever been. I wouldn’t trade my worst day now for my “best” day in my former lesbian life.

Bree Stevens