A few weeks back, I wrote about why my identity as a gay man matters—-even in church, maybe even especially in church. I’m glad that I was able to find the words and that they resonated with so many of you. It led to some good, healthy conversations on Facebook and Twitter, which I am always happy to have.
One person, however, showed up just to say they agreed that I’m too gay, especially on social media. She said something like “I don’t go to your church, so I can’t judge what you’re like there, but over on Twitter, all I ever see you talking about is your sexuality.”
It’s true. I do talk a lot about being gay. After hiding my sexuality for so long, it’s been a relief to talk about the things that are actually happening in my life. Many LGBTQ+ people who come out later in life do find great joy in the freedom to finally talk openly about the things that our straight friends have been talking about since they were teenagers: dating, attractive people, flirting, romance and love.
I don’t know why, but this memory comes back to me sometimes. Back in high school, I was at my best friend’s house and we were watching Friday Night Videos. (Remember that show? Before we had cable TV, it was the only place we could see watching music videos.) Anyway, Samantha Fox’s “Touch Me” video came on, and I remember my friend saying “She’s so hot it hurts.” It was a pretty innocuous thing for a high school guy to say to his buddy, but for some reason that night it felt significant to me. I knew the only thing I could do was to hide. I mean, I knew Samantha Fox was attractive, but nothing about her — not her bare midriff, not her ripped jeans, not her suggestive lyrics (“Touch me, touch me. I wanna feel your body…”) — made any part of me hurt. But I knew that I had to play along. Again. “Yeah, man, she’s so hot.”
In my support groups for gay men in mixed-orientation marriages, we talk a lot about really difficult and painful things. These guys are often carrying tremendous amounts of shame, and they feel so alone in their fear and sadness. it can get pretty deep and heavy. But one of the joys of working with these men is seeing them start to trust each other, to lighten up and laugh together. To talk about their celebrity crushes or the butterflies of a crush or a first date. These are normal, human conversations, but many of them, many of us have been denied that simple humanity for years and years.
So yes, I talk a lot about being gay on Twitter. Feel free to hit that “unfollow” button.
But I hope you stick around, because apparently I talk about God too. A lot.
You see, those comments from my Facebook friend really bothered me, and I wanted to see if she was right or not. Is my Twitter actually all gay all the time? I found a service to analyze my Twitter feed and tell me what my most-used words are. Gay is up there for sure, along with God and love and, oddly, year.
And then there’s friend. And beautiful. And grateful. And Christian. And life. And today. I know I fail sometimes, but my hope and prayer is that my language will always mirror the reality that I have found such life and hope in my Christian faith. And that I am so grateful for my beautiful friends and the gift of each new day.
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Wonderful blog post Matt!
I can totally relate. I too married a woman and hid my attraction for men for a long long time. And I think they’ll always be a high schooler inside of me that wants to tell my friend some guy “is so hot it hurts.”