I have a public service announcement for all the celigaybies* out there:
I suspect that at least some of my readers wrestle with how to keep their families and manage those family members’ expectations of them. I suspect also that there are many for whom the reasons they choose celibacy are cloudy sometimes. I resonate with that very deeply; I’m simply trying to turn on some fans to disperse the smoke so that others might see clearly.
If you are gay & celibate because you think it’ll earn you enough brownie points to keep a relationship with your blood relatives, I can tell you first-hand that it doesn’t work that way all the time. It hasn’t preserved my relationship with one member of my family. Nothing I do, save for engaging in utter self-loathing, would likely satisfy this person.
My decision to remain chaste outside of heterosexual marriage revolves around what I read Scripture to say regarding the nature of sexual relationships and their relationship to marriage. Ultimately, this decision has to be mine, made with an understanding of what God expects (viz, sex is out of place unless one is married). To some folks, however, nothing will ever be enough.
For those who think that shame is a grace (and my family member may or may not actually go that far, in fairness to them), holiness is found when one sees one as a low-down dirty sinner. There are at least two things wrong with this approach: first, by virtue of my baptism (my being united to Christ by faith, if baptism stuff weirds you out), I am not only a sinner and having that sort of view of oneself isn’t only psychologically harmful, it’s untrue to what God’s word says about me as a Christian. Second, Christ has removed my shame. He clothes me in His righteousness which is the appropriate covering for that shame. Shame is not a grace; shame is, instead, something that Jesus died to take from us.
*Celigaybies: I’m writing to celibate gay folks who are perhaps young in their being ‘out’ or who are in the early-ish stages of considering the broader implications for the intersection of their faith and sexuality.
Jim Descher said:
I’d like to say right now that it is weird that I know this much about your sex, or non-sex, life. But since you’ve chosen to put it out there many times, I have a couple of questions.
Are you saying you are celibate because you are unmarried? I mean, I’ve never considered that to be “celibate”. Planning to have sex on a certain day doesn’t seem to be what most consider to be celibate. It means you’re waiting to have sex.
Or, is it that you think you should not have sex because you’re gay and “God” or “scripture” says that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, and since you’re gay you must be celibate?
I hope it’s not the latter. Because I yell loudly for gay rights. As in, gay people should have every damn right that I have. Gay people have every right to be left alone, as I am.
One more thing. If you’ve taken a vow of celibacy (the more formal and common definition of celibacy to me), why does it matter if you’re gay? The defining trait of being gay is that a man wishes to have sex with another man, and not with women. That is gay, right? So if you’re not having sex, why announce it at all?
David L. Gill said:
Jim, great questions.
I do not plan to have sex one day because I don’t plan to be married. I’m also not having sex because I’m not married.
I believe that the Bible is very clear that the original design for marriage is one man, one woman, for life. I recognize that Adam & Eve screwed things up circa Genesis 3 to introduce all sorts of caveats in either what’s practiced in various cultures or what’s actually allowed for. As far as the secular realm, yes, I think LGBTQ+ people ought to be left alone by the government and afforded the same rights and responsibilities straight folks have.
I also believe that being a Christian requires me to relinquish some of those rights, just as I believe that Christianity requires you as a married straight person to relinquish the right to having sex outside of marriage.
To your point about vows etc, being gay is not ONLY about who you want to have sex with. There’s a culture around it, just like there’s such a thing as straight culture. I’m part of a culture and just because I don’t partake in all of what that culture has to offer, good or bad, doesn’t mean I’m not part of it. Just like there are parts of Christian culture you do or don’t partake in…just because you may not lead a Bible study in your home doesn’t call into question whether or not you’re a Christian.