Ah and finally after probably two years I finally reach my 100th post, which is not bad for a blog that I started back before my Dresden Study Abroad experience back in 2011. It seems like such a long time ago, but I suppose that as I get older the years start to feel shorter and shorter. After reading one of my friend’s blogs Thinking Outside the Paradox Box, I have been a bit inspired to share something a bit more personal about myself that has not been put out in public yet. It has almost gotten to the point where this sort of story has become trite and overused. People rarely even bat eyelids when they hear about it, and most people tend to then have the “okay, so moving on…” reaction. And everyone else has been more than supportive.
I see myself as being bisexual, with more homosexual tendencies than straight.
The funny thing is that I wasn’t shocked when I finally came to this epiphany, and most of my friends (rightly so) were not shocked either. I guess that it’s because of the way my personality shows itself. I came to this realization about myself on the last night of my Sophomore Year Fall Semester Catholic Retreat. I have always attended the Catholic Retreats at Boston University, because I greatly value my Catholic Faith. Once again, I was asked to be one of the almost two dozen small group leaders who would help to facilitate reflections and post-witness discussions during several points of the weekend long retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fittingly enough, the theme of the retreat was Without Limits. I cannot remember my specific train of thought, but I remember that the apex and pinnacle of the retreat was Adoration during the last night. Adoration is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is viewed as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof” as written in the Anglican Common Book of Prayer. During Adoration, the Blessed Sacrament of Jesus Christ, the physical bread actually and fully realized and become flesh, is presented to the community in one of those sunburst-like Church relics called a monstrance. The monstrance has a glass in the middle through which the community can see the body of Christ.
It is very hard to explain to people who aren’t Catholic, because we believe that the bread and wine during mass are physically transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We partake in him, and it nourishes us more than any physical meal on this earth can provide. Anyways, Adoration is a time of reverence, praise, and contemplation. It is a time to lay everything out before our God, and have him there right in front of us: physically in the flesh. It is a very intimate time.
So during this time I am contemplating and praying really hard about my own sexuality. I had always realized that I was never head-over-heels for girls as most of my guy friends were. And when I did have a girlfriend in high school I rarely saw her as an object of my sexual desires. But was I sexually attracted to her? Hell yeah. I enjoyed when we held hands, hugged, and kissed. However, ever since I was young I had been somewhat fixated and intrigued by the male figure in ways that boys are intrigued by the female figure. Both sexes attracted and aroused me, but I felt more pulled towards men. Once I had made this connection, I felt that God had something along the lines of “I am so proud of you for making this connection. Now go forth and be joyous, for you have discovered a new, more intimate part of who you are.” I wanted to tell the whole world about this, but I realized that I would rather tell people face-to-face rather than have them all find out about it through the grapevine of the internet. After almost two years, I feel that I have told a sufficient amount of people to the point that I am now more than comfortable to share this on my blog. I think that all successful memoirs, journals, and blogs find their best moments when the authors are at their rawest and most vulnerable. And this is one of my vulnerable aspects that not everyone knows about me for one reason or another.
Ever since then I had been sharing my realization and story with my closest friends. This led to some interesting results. My very best friends said that they accepted me, and would always accept me regardless of what I had told them. One of my other friends was a bit surprised, and said that he had to re-evaluate his personal philosophy of bias against people of another sexual orientation. He said that he always respected and looked up to me, and now that I shared my story with him he feels as if he can still accept me for who I am. Then there were two other friends whom I came out to, who thanked me for sharing that with them. They then expressed their own thoughts about how they too wondered if they were fully straight or not, because they felt that that was how they had viewed themselves their whole lives. Now I had not done anything physical at all with a guy, but within two months these two friends came back to me with stories of their own.
One friend told me his story of sexually hooking up with a guy and realizing that it was not enjoyable and the he definitely was straight. On the other hand, another friend shared how he hooked up with a guy at a party and actually enjoyed it. He now classifies himself as pansexual/bisexual. During junior year at Boston University, I was frustrated with my inability to be with another guy. I definitely knew that I was attracted to men, but I just couldn’t muster up the courage to ask one of them out or even to hook up with one. I was frustrated, because I suppose that I wanted validity that I definitely was bisexual and wasn’t just trying to pretending to be part of a crowd and something much larger. I wanted to belong to myself and know myself better. I ended up hooking up with a girl, which was nice but I really wanted to hook up with a guy. Then one morning I finally mustered up the courage to ask a guy out whom I had been attracted to. We both were engineers, albeit different majors. He was physically attractive, and I heard him yell, “I’m going to have gay sex with my roommate now!” during one of our engineering parties. At first I thought that this was a joke, but then several of my classmates assured me that he definitely was gay. I sent him a long-worded Facebook message about asking him out, and he responded that he was very honored but was actually straight. He then proceeded to commend me for my candor and openness and how any other girl or guy would be more than willing to go out with me if I were ever that blunt.
It’s funny because I have no trouble making friends, but I have all of the trouble in the world with relationships. However, I accept that about myself. It’s because I am a shy person when it comes to matters like that. I am afraid of rejection and afraid of people not liking me. It is a weakness of mine that I have been slow to overcome. My first real experiences with men were during my internship in Berlin. Our group of interns me this other gay student, and I asked him if he could bring me to one of the gay clubs in Berlin. He was more than happy to invite me over one Wednesday night to Schwul in the Kreuzberg area. I was not drunk, and I was very self-conscious being around people my age and older who were very very comfortable with their sexuality. Nothing really happened there other than some mild dancing. Eventually sometime later in the internship I ended up hooking up with a guy. I still don’t know his name but I enjoyed the experience. I felt as if another weight was lifted off my chest in that I was still alive and I enjoyed what I did.
I then came back to Boston for my senior year and I then hooked up with another guy here. By this time, I started to realize why there were so many of my friends hooked up left and right. Many of them were straight, and were not afraid of any bias that against them. However, I still feared what people would think of me.
And now come the focal points of this post: my parents and my faith. As far as I know, my parents do not know that I am bisexual. My mom has stated on repeated occasions how she would vote against gay marriage and how she would be very sad and cry if I told her that I was gay. My dad hasn’t said anything about me being gay, but has asked if I have had any girlfriends since my freshman year in college. I guess that they don’t suspect too much because although I sing and have been in musicals (stereotyped as the realm of many gay people), I have also enjoyed weight-lifting, football, rugby, martial arts, and doing other “typical guy stuff.” Now I don’t believe that there is a distinction or that there should be a gender bias for these activities, only that some of these activities are known for being predominantly associated with certain groups over others.
Even though I am writing on this blog, I don’t believe that they will read it. Instead, I hope to one day talk to them and share this with them, but I don’t believe that I am ready for that yet. I think that that day will come if I eventually find a girlfriend or boyfriend and am in a stable relationship with that person.
Now for the other point: my Catholic faith. The Catholic Church accepts people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, beliefs, and creeds. The difference is that the Church accepts homosexuals but does not condone homosexual behavior. Homosexual desire in itself is not inherently sinful, rather the acting upon those desires is what comprises the sin. It is also written that homosexual behavior will deprive one of heaven: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10, NIV).
The Church has called upon those who have homosexual desires to live a life of chastity. It is a hard life, but it is the life that we are called to lead. A lot of gay Catholics have called this the cross that they have to bear throughout life. However, the words chastity and celibacy are often confused. As James Martin S.J. writes, “chastity refers to the proper and loving use of our sexuality, something that everyone is called to. Jesuit professor of moral theology Vincent J. Genovesi writes in his In Pursuit of Love that the outward signs of our sexuality should be “under the control of love, with tenderness and full awareness of the other.” In other words this stands for “‘honesty in sex,’ where our physical relationships ‘truthfully express’ the level of personal commitment we have with the other. In other words, the goal of chastity is receiving and giving love.” (James Martin S.J.) Celibacy is the abstaining from marriage and sex, which is one of the vows that a priest takes.
I have long since tried to understand the issue on both sides. I feel as if everyone has a right to be happy, and that includes the right to marry the person whom one is in love with. Then I remember that the institution of Marriage, another Sacrament otherwise known as Matrimony, is the physical and spiritual union between man and woman. Others respond with arguments against same-sex unions. There are even arguments against live-in couples who have not been married yet. The same definitely also applies for same-sex couples who also live together, which is also a big no no. In Pope John Paul II’s lectures from 1979-1984, he discussed the Theology of the Body. The core principles were that love is free, total, faithful, and true.
Same-sex unions are morally incorrect, because they are not fruitful. Catholics believe that the institution of marriage was created by God and cannot be changed. It is believed that unlike same-sex unions and marriages, two men or women cannot fully give of one’s whole entire self to the other in conjugal love and sex that in its very essence is a renewal of the vows celebrated during marriage. It is not simply the fruit of childbirth, because this consummation can still morally happen between a man and woman who is infertile. Furthermore, it is stated that men were created to be men and women were created to be women and that both sexes had very special places in the world and the Church for them. Man and women physically, spiritually, and so innately complement each other in ways that two guys can’t. That is the reason why same-sex unions are morally incorrect.
Whoah, so this post has definitely been a mouthful, and as you can see I am very invested in my sexuality and my faith, both of which are essentially intertwined. I had been struggling with these arguments, because I just didn’t believe in them. The words sounded pretty, and it sounded like good rhetoric, but in my heart of hearts I honestly could not say that they rang true even after praying about it. I started to ask about whether or not two people of the same sex could possibly and morally, under the Church’s teachings, live together in a civil union. But then we would have the problem of have cohabitation before marriage, which in the case of the same-sex couple, is wrong. Urgh, why did it have to be so hard.
I was talking with my friend whom I consider to be my spiritual adviser of sorts, and we usually go to a different cafe or coffeehouse every Tuesday morning to talk about life and whatever comes to mind. After I shared with him my story and my concerns, he asked me a very direct question: “Have you ever felt that your bisexuality is a cross that you have to bear as your burden through life?” I thought about it for a while, then responded that it wasn’t. Rather I saw my sexuality as a gift that was given to me and something that gave me joy and made me want to share with the rest of the world because that was part (a small part) of what made me Marvin. I loved many things in life: riding bicycles, a good rugby tackle, acing an engineering exam/project, singing with my a cappella group, cooking for friends, fixing up the apartment, working with my bare hands, hanging out with my friends and family, and my sexuality was a small part of who I was and I did not see it in any way shape or form as a burden any more than my ability to make people laugh and smile.
After reflecting on the events that transpired during my last post, I have decided that I was done trying to find loopholes through the rules and regulations and instead wanted to find out what God really wanted of me. It is a growing process, and I want to know which of my thoughts and actions gives me joy. This will no doubt ostracize me from some of my Catholic friends and the Church, but I will still keep my faith. However, I do believe in gay relationships and unions. I tend to think that sometimes the arguments for or against unions and marriages are just a matter of semantics. I think that if God calls me for something else, then that something else is what I should follow regardless of any strict set of rules and regulations. It is sad, because as of right now if I were to die then I would be going to hell since I have not been to Confession for a few months now and have sinned several times since then. Will I still hookup? Probably. Yet, I still love my faith and God, and I am still searching for many different things and people; it will be a lifelong affair but one that I am more than willing to take.
This has probably been one of the most meaningful posts that I have written thus far, and it is very fitting that it is my 100th post. I’m sure that very few people who actually know me will read it, but I don’t mind because I have finally gotten my thoughts out to the world and they represent me so very clearly and possibly even better than even a conversation with me might yield.