Actually, the anniversary was last week but I didn't really think much about it. I had been thinking too much about "THE LETTER." (I will post the letter as soon as I have the file and the computer in the same place!)
I have been gay for a year.
A year before, I was not gay, I was a straight guy who just like looking at gay porn. Really, I was into women! YES I WAS! REALLY! I only looked at gay porn because I wanted to know if my penis was as big as others. REALLY! I liked straight porn as long as there was a well hung guy in it. But I was REALLY paying attention to the woman. (yeah, right.)
Yes, a year ago I realized that I wasn't fooling anyone so why should I be trying to fool myself. I finally came to the point of looking into the mirror and saying, "Ben, you are gay. You want to have sex with men. You really do not want to be with women."
At this point, I was not a virgin, but I was not overly sexually experienced. And I had never had sex with a man. I had never kissed a man nor touched a man in a sexual way. I had thought about it, but it never happened. I thought, as long as I didn't do anything like that, I was not gay.
So I came to the conclusion that I was gay, but then I was still stuck because I was a pastor of the ELCA. And part of being a pastor meant being subject to Visions and Expectations. Specifically, I was subject to page 13 which states
Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.
So I was trying to find out what it was like to be gay but I was also trying to remain celebate because of what I had agreed to.
Of course, during this time, I was "abstain[ing] from homosexual sexual relationships" in the letter of the law, but not in the spirit of the law. I had been alone for 40 years. I now had given permission to myself to not only look at gay porn but to enjoy gay porn. As long as I wasn't in a "homosexual sexual relationship" I thought I was ok. But I felt angry and dirty. I felt angry that I was reduced to "one handed typing" (which if you knew my keyboard, you would understand how difficult that is)to try to take care of my needs.
Nick kept telling me that I needed to come to grips with this. I was breaking "page 13" by jacking off to internet porn just as much as if I were sleeping with men.
That was the start of my journey. Just a year ago. Wow. Now my whole congregation knows. Time changes everything.