SSA: A Dad’s Perspective (Guest Post)
Allow me to introduce myself. First and foremost, I’m a sinner saved by grace. I’m a husband and a father. I’ve been a youth leader, Sunday school teacher, deacon and elder. I served in the Air Force for thirty years. I was a three-sport letterman in high school, played college football, and played seven years of football overseas while in the Air Force. I like sports, action movies, being in control, and I would never stop to ask for directions. I guess you could say I’m a man’s man.
I also have a son who is (kinda sorta yeah not really) gay.
Right up front I want to say I couldn’t be prouder of my son. Bryan has made clear in his writings that his Savior, not his sexuality, defines him as a person. His is a story of trial and triumph—a trial that continues and a triumph not yet complete. By the grace of God, he tells his story, not because he wants people to know him better, but because he wants them to know Christ and the hope He offers to all who struggle with sin—including same-sex attraction (SSA).
When it comes to my personal views on SSA, the Bible is the foundation of my beliefs, not only on homosexuality, but in all things. Although I don’t believe SSA is sinful in and of itself, I do believe that choosing to practice homosexuality is a sin. As Christians, we are subject to many temptations, but acting on those temptations is a choice (1 Corinthians 10:13). I feel the same way about any sin, whether it’s lying, stealing or covetousness. The devil doesn’t make us do it; we choose to do it.
I’ve always thought people were born with SSA. Considering the anguish that comes with fighting against SSA, I can’t imagine why they would choose to be that way. I know there are studies on both sides of the issue. My conclusion isn’t based on extensive research but on what I’ve read from people with SSA, and especially my own son’s experience.
I knew early on that Bryan was different. He played with girls’ toys, most of his friends were girls, and he was sensitive, kind and compassionate (not to say people who don’t have SSA aren’t). I felt that he might be homosexual, but despite all the signs, I concluded my feelings were wrong and that he was just a “sensitive” young man. It’s clear that, apart from our faith, Bryan and I are very different. But I never tried to make him be like me. I didn’t force him to participate in sports. I never addressed negatively the things he did that were contrary to my view of what boys/men should do. I never made him feel bad about the things he liked, or for not being “manly.” As a matter of fact, sometimes I felt responsible because I didn’t discourage him from “unmanly” behavior. I had (and still have) much to learn.
Although Bryan maintained a relatively good view of life, there were times when it was clear he was struggling. I attributed it to the normal transition from boy to man. During this time, Bryan matured as a man and grew in his faith, but I still wondered about his sexuality. He hung out with girls but didn’t have a girlfriend. My friends would ask if he was dating anyone and I’d reply, “He has a lot of girls he does things with, but no steady girlfriend.” Over time it became more apparent that he was attracted to the same sex. I continued to be in denial until the night Bryan had “the conversation” with his mom and me.
I remember that night well. We had just returned home and Bryan called us downstairs to his room. He proceeded to tell us he was gay. It was an emotional time for us. We cried and prayed together. The crying was not because our son was gay; it was the end of our wondering about Bryan’s sexuality, and the end of him bearing his burden alone. It was also the beginning of an opportunity for his mom and me to provide love, comfort, counsel and practical support. His revelation strengthened our relationship. It gave a face to Christians who struggle with SSA. It resulted in a closer walk with Christ and new insights into his grace.
I’m sure some of you wonder what I would have done if Bryan had chosen to pursue his homosexual desires. For many Christian parents, that’s a reality. To tell the truth, I really don’t know. What I do know is I would not have stopped loving him. I would’ve continued to share my belief that homosexual practice is a sin. I would’ve continued to speak of self-denial and taking up your cross daily (Matthew 16:24). I would’ve prayed for him, provided a shoulder for him to cry on, and most importantly, reminded him of God’s magnificent and abundant grace.
I pray that those who struggle with SSA will find strength in Christ and the grace of God. I pray that family and friends will reach out to them and provide loving support. I’m proud of Bryan and the godly man he has become. I pray the day will come when I have Bryan’s courage, strength and love for God. My trials pale in comparison to his and others who struggle with SSA. His strength and self-denial in the midst of trial give me strength to endure as I face my own trials in my Christian walk. When I’m overwhelmed by my circumstances, I think of Bryan, who points me to the gospel and the grace of God, and I’m encouraged.
I’m glad that Bryan has submitted to God’s will in regard to his SSA. He has also started a new chapter in is life; a ministry to others who struggle with or are affected by SSA. I pray that as he moves forward he will continue to be strengthened by the grace and power of God.
Is it hard to have a son who’s “kinda sorta yeah not really” gay? It has its moments, but compared to what he and others who struggle with SSA endure, not really.
See also, “SSA: A Mom’s Perspective.”