Gay Teacher coming out to himself and family

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 8, 2008, 18:45

you are not the only one who cries easily… you know having read my autobiography. 😀

I was reduced to tear last night when I met up with a person who I hadn’t seen for 18 years….and how told me about her brother…..very possibly gay…and his secret life away from his family……and finally his death alone in an apartment… one ever have any answers to why.

Joined in 2006
November 8, 2008, 18:48

He really sums it up doesnt he.

Joined in 2008
November 9, 2008, 19:48

Anthony, do you know where that piece originated from? That’s the note I referred to in my post yesterday (last paragraph) – but I have no idea where it came from. Sums things up so well in relatively few words!

As for the crying thing…. my most recent embarrassment was sitting on the train on the way to work reading “a life of unlearning” (yes indeed!!) and one of the many instances of ‘church abuse’. My fellow commuters must have thought I was a right nutter! So I had to pretend I had something stuck in my eye! 😀

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 10, 2008, 15:06

yep….it is an unpublished doc I received from a friend I’m networked with in the UK. He is writing it under a pseudonym as he is still married at this stage.

BTW… are not the first person to cry on public transport reading my book….I have a number of emails from readers who tell me of moments like that.

Joined in 2008
November 15, 2008, 10:00

Gay: a homosexual person, esp. a male”

That is me, well it is and it isn’t. It’s not all of me. It’s just that it does say something about me. It’s not about wearing a badge or a T-shirt, or frequenting certain kinds of bar or attend a certain type of club. But I desperately want to pursue a value that I hear Jesus—who is for me my God, my Saviour, my Teacher and my Friend—call out loudly to society, “Beware the yeast of the Pharisees which is Hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1) I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want to say this is me, all of me, nothing hidden. Yet my church has taught me, my friends and my colleagues have taught me, my brothers and sisters, my parents and grandparents have taught me,

“Do not admit to yourself or the world who you are, in terms of your sexual orientation. Hide it, kill it, eradicate it, heal it, deliver it, break it, magic it away, deny it, marry it to a woman, heterosexually sexualise it away, therapy it, counsel it but whatever you do don’t stand up one day and say “I am gay”. Because when you do, on that day, you will have finally given in to it and it will surely kill you. You will die a slow, horrible and painful death, a death of friendships, of acceptance, of spirituality and ultimately you gamble with your eternal future.”

In my agreement with my church, I did all that is suggested above. Above all else I sought to deny it. “NO — I am not gay. I am not.” In latter years I accepted that I was “struggling with same sex attraction”. Oh I was struggling all right. Struggling to fix my eyes on anything but my sexuality. I fixed my eyes on God, prayed, fasted, studied and praised. I fixed my eyes on my wife and then my children. I fixed my eyes on work and I fixed my eyes on my safe straight friends. But the more I fixed my eyes on anything but my true self, the more hidden and dark my sexuality became. It grew inside me like a monster, starved of light, starved of holy and Godly influence; it had no opportunity to grow up, no opportunity to be shaped into a Godly and beautiful part of me. It was told that it was evil and so it behaved. I have no pride in the fact that there came a period when my sexuality manifested itself in dirty and self- destructive patterns that were every bit the gutter that the church had told me it was. But to accept my sexuality, as it is, was a reality too stark and terrible to contemplate. Despite my best efforts, this evil had finally eaten its way out of my hidden compartments and was now consuming me. When the evil becomes you, you want with all your heart to do the one thing that seems right and just—to kill the evil. And for me that meant killing myself. That is what I wanted to do.

What was the alternative? The church left me in no doubt that if I were to choose to embrace my sexuality then I must leave behind all that I have learned of God’s love, grace and justice.

However, through the love, patience and kindness of my few remaining friends and closest family, many of whom have struggled with my journey but affirmed their desire for me to live, I began to choose something wholly different. Something that would lead not to self destruction, but to life.

I keep meaning to comment on this article but each time I read it, it says something different to me. On my first reading I was struck with sadness. What I focused on in that reading was the journey of repression.

The writer summarises a journey that focused on keeping busy and not focusing on the true self.

“Do not admit to yourself or the world who you are, in terms of your sexual orientation.

This week I have been pondering that concept and wondering what other parts of our personalities we might repress…to conform to society and church. It is a tragic concept really, that we might repress part of our true self so as to ‘fit in’. Many church communities are particularly bad at promoting an ethos of conformity.

I am a member of a few other forums for married men who are discovering there ‘gayness’ and have I have built up a small but firm network of ‘friends’ that enables me to discuss issues of being gay and married. The men I talk to are in an identical situation as I am. Their journeys are strikingly similar to mine and they ‘came out’ at the same age – i.e. early to mid 40s. They are spread right around the globe.

We all ask the question “How did we get here?” The answer seems to be that we are of a similar personality type that likes pleasing others. This is me…I work in a role where I HELP others. So what did we did with our sexuality but bury it so that we could conform to keeping those around us, parents, friends, family, and church… happy. To an extent, I am saddened that I managed to repress my sexuality but I am quickly moving on from that regret because all in all I have had a fantastic life. I have a family that I love dearly and that is how my journey was meant to be.

After reading the above article quite a number of times I now focus on the positives. The writer says, “I began to choose something wholly different.” My email/chat buddies say, and I agree, that in the end why we ‘outed’ ourselves completely was because of a desire to do the right thing. It was a desire to act with integrity and treat those around us with respect and honesty. Once we had been outed to ‘ourselves’ (what I call an OMG moment) then we had to tell those dearest to us, including our spouses.

I am very lucky that when I announced to my extended family they were totally supportive. One of my chat buddies (Todd) in Canada is at the moment struggling with his relationship with his in-laws. Even though he knows he declared his ‘gayness’ for the right reasons, out of respect for his wife, the in-laws are looking at his actions through a completely different lens and see him as being deceitful and lying. Todd is going to keep working on this relationship to make it a more positive one.

So, when I now read the above article I do not cry because in the end it is a redemptive story. The writer of that article, myself and quite obviously many others on this journey made moves to accept themselves and repair their relationships with those around them.

You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8: 32)

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 17, 2008, 16:11

from my experience……when we do things out of the right motives as you’ve suggested……..and then others misinterpret etc…..I’ve come to realise….there will always be an underlying issue………and its not mine…..its theirs.

this little piece might be helpful as to why we found ourselves in this situation. it comes from a doc I send people who are looking for coaching in this area. I’m sure you’ve already read it but there may be others reading this thread who might find it helpful.

Mixed Orientation Marriage – What to do?

A mixed orientation marriage is where one partner is heterosexual and the other is same-sex-oriented (gay or lesbian) or bi-sexual.

The situation we find ourselves in was not one of intentional deception. (In some cultures, families and geographical areas this maybe different however, as it is a matter of survival). For most of us though, our marriages were the result of us conforming to a society, who at that time, believed homosexuality was crime, perversion and mental illness. We married thinking that it was the right thing to do and that it would help to change what we perceived was faulty within us. I know this was the case for me. I wanted to do the right thing. Having a wife and family was everyone’s goal. There are also a number of people whose same sex orientation did not become obvious or awakened till after they were married. You, I, and 1000’s of others are the products of an uninformed society. We are at the fault line and our generation is the one caught in the transition.

Had the current knowledge on sexual orientation been available to us growing up, our choices would have been different. If we were born 40 years earlier we wouldn’t have ever considered coming out. If we were in this current generation we would have realized our sexual orientation is natural and normal and wouldn’t have married to help fix it or felt it necessary to conform.

Making a decision about what to do, being gay or lesbian in a heterosexual marriage, can be quite complex. It has many consequences that can include firstly our partner of course but also children, families, employment, business, finances, friends, church, faith. The decisions we make will impact several or all of these.

Living with the internal conflict (dissonance) will eventually impact us either psychologically (e.g. depression), emotionally (distancing and unable to have intimacy or strong friendships) or physically (stress related illnesses e.g. high blood pressure, insomnia, ulcers etc). We need to put strategies into place to manage the stress and resolve the dissonance.

Joined in 2008
November 17, 2008, 16:53

Oh most definitely for me, during my formative years, ‘homosexuality’ was seen as an illness. Certainly the word had different connotation in the late mid 70s early 80s than it does now. It was shunned. I also had an old father…born in 1915. Can you imagine his understanding of same sex attraction! 😯

In my case I did not really understand my sexuality. When I look back now it all seems rather obvious but certainly back then I kept it hidden and learnt to repress it because it made me feel incredibly inadequate, insecure and guilty. I hope the younger readers of this forum understand this. Like you have said Anthony “I wanted to do the right thing. Having a wife and family was everyone’s goal.”

In hind sight I have been living with the internal conflict that you mention. I did became very aware of emotionally distancing myself from others particularly my kids. That was the first symptom that I identified and it stopped me in my tracks.

Can I let you know that at the moment I am finding this extremely difficult. Due to things at home at the moment I feel a lot of conflict. Part of me WANTS to shed my sexuality. Part of me is SCARED of repressing it more. A part of me is frustrated that my wife is fixated on the issue of sexuality. A part of me understands her anger but at the moment that anger is tearing away at my self esteem.

Joined in 2008
November 17, 2008, 22:28

Wow. I can really see that you’re going through serious stuff. I’m going to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t feel like I’m in any place to tell you what to do or what not to do, so I won’t do that kind of thing. But I do want to offer you some encouragement, because I know that’s something people can always use.

I know I keep saying life is a journey, but I say that for a reason. Right now, you’re going through some hard times and you have no idea what to do. How many times have we gone on a journey and gotten lost along the way? Did we stay lost forever? No, eventually we found our way. There is hope for you.

God loves you in your state of confusion right now as much as he loved you ten years ago, as much as he loved you twenty years ago, as much as he loved you before you even existed. Trust me, God is not sitting in Heaven right now in shock that you are feeling as you are. He knew perfectly well that this moment in your life would come and His greatest desire right now is to help you work through it. My hope for you is that, despite all the chaos, you can still find peace in God’s love for you and trust that he will see you through this time in your life.

I will keep praying for you and don’t forget that your brothers and sisters in Christ are here to give you words of encouragement and advice when you need them.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 18, 2008, 01:58

Such mixed emotions……are they a bugger. It almost makes you feel like you are going crazy. You are definitely in the midst of it aren’t you. I feel for you.

this may not mean a lot at the moment….but it does get better….emotions settle down……things become clearer….and the turmoil gets replaced with peace and resolution.

As you know….I went in and out of the closet several times…….but I ain’t ever go back…..I luv living in the light.

Joined in 2008
November 18, 2008, 09:15

Can I be totally honest… as times I do think I am going crazy and I have absolutely no capability to focus on anything. Perhaps it is time to share some of my fears/emotions here because some of my writings above might indicate that I have it all together….but that is far from the truth as I tend to use my posts as quiet time to collect my thoughts. But the reality is that this process is horrendous and at the moment I want to bury my sexuality because it is doing me no good at all and certainly does not feel like something to celebrate.

I will write more later because I am at work….

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