I was privileged to have been brought up in a stable, Christian home. Growing up however, I had question marks over my gender, I very much behaved and dressed like a boy, causing people to often mistake me as one. My interests were certainly drawn towards the more stereotypical boy interests: sports, outdoor activities, building and fixing things, etc. But like many who experience gender confusion during their childhood development, my gender confusion dissipated over time. I began to not only accept but to embrace who God had created me to be as a woman; and I still do today.
While my gender confusion dissipated, I began to realise that my same-sex-attraction did not dissipate despite trying to ignore these feelings away. In fact, my SSA only grew stronger. This led me to become quite withdrawn and reserved as a teenager, as the shame of my SSA prevented me from disclosing my feelings to anyone around me. Growing up in the church and then owning my faith at an early age, I couldn’t understand why I was struggling with this. Surely Jesus could just take this away.
After trying to resist the feelings for many years, it was through my early 20’s that I entered into lesbian relationships. For a time this was fulfilling, but after a while I became rather unhappy. I began to experience some mental health struggles with extreme anxiety, depression, loneliness, and amongst other things, suicidal thoughts.
I grew tired of the unhealthy relationships surrounding me: I disliked the promiscuity and the obsessive nature of many relationships. This does not represent all lesbian relationships, but this was certainly my experience. I also desperately wanted to live according to what I believed to be God’s design of human sexuality. For these reasons, I decided to seek help in dealing with my mental health issues, as well as receive support to leave the lesbian life.
I sought counsel from Christian psychologists, ministries, support networks and people who had walked similar journeys to me. These supports were never harmful, coercive, or ineffective. In fact, all these avenues of help were very effective, supportive, and driven by my desire to actively be involved in such counsel. Under many legislations around the world (already in effect in Victoria, ACT and Queensland; and being drafted in Tasmania), every positive step of help that I received along my journey would become illegal, punishable by fines and jail time.
Along my journey, I encountered two extremely contrasting experiences from two different professionals:
The first experience was with a GP who responded to me with the ‘affirmative model’. He told me that I should accept who I am and live as a lesbian. He then began to mock my faith in a God. It was humiliating and traumatic. Considering that I was there to receive help to pursue a life away from lesbianism, this response made me feel rather unhelped, dejected, and hopeless. According to this GP, my pursuit to explore this type of help was not valued and, apparently, change was not possible.
Contrast this experience with a Christian psychologist who dealt with me with great care and consideration. He listened, asked questions and helped me unravel my past hurts and false beliefs about myself and others. He then provided me with the question about what life would look like on the ‘other side of change’. I could not answer him at first because I had simply never contemplated my life without this all-consuming SSA. However, over the following weeks, hope began to grow. I began to imagine what my life could be like without this ‘issue’ that had plagued me for so many years. Before long, I had an unquenchable hope and an indescribable reality of life on the other side of this ‘issue’. The counselling from this psychologist was simple; it did not contain overly religious vocabulary – yet it was effective! It spoke truth into my life just when God deemed the timing to be right. Through the faithful guidance of this psychologist, my heart and mind experienced a process of healing and renewal.
I began to embrace the freedom to be who God created me to be. I stopped defining myself by my sexuality, and instead defined myself by Christ’s redeeming work on the cross to claim me as His daughter. Through personal experience, I learned the truth that what we read about in Scripture: that through Christ change is possible.
Over ten years on now, I am living proof that change is possible. Such change has been more than just in my sexual orientation. I no longer have the mental health issues that I detailed before. To name a few, I am free from the grip of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and social isolation. Instead, my life is full of purpose, joy, certainty and adventure. I am very happily married to my husband of 8 years and we share our own biological children together. I have never been more secure in a relationship and more content with life.
I am so grateful that I had the access and freedom to pursue this life that I am now living.
If you could know what God pulled me out of, then you would understand the magnitude of my worship.