I’ve been trying to write my story of being a bisexual Christian woman for a while now. I’ve put several versions to paper, only to be frustrated by them. They’re not honest enough, they’re too honest. How do I come across? Am I likeable? Is my story a nice, coherent, uplifting package? I think what I’ve got wrong up until this point is that my story…it’s not really about me. It’s about God.
God, who keeps me.
In his abounding love and faithfulness, God, who keeps me close to Him, even when I try to pull away.
Can you remember the first crush you had? I do. His name was Jacob, and he was funny and tall. What about the second crush you had? Well, I remember that too. Her name was Taryn, and she was also funny and tall. When all this began, with the rush of puberty, I didn’t know that it wasn’t “normal” to crush on both guys and girls. I’d never heard the term bisexual or knew what it was to be both same sex attracted and a Christian.
When I started high school, I knew I was ‘different’. I’m not sure how I gained that knowledge, but I knew it. So, I tried to push down the part of me that was attracted to girls, to pretend it didn’t exist. It really didn’t work. Church wasn’t helpful, either. Anything I learned about relationships and sex was built around waiting for your One True Husband ™, with a side of pity for those who experienced same-sex attraction. It wasn’t exactly a helpful environment to share my confusion, or a space where I thought I would be supported. There didn’t seem to be space for me.
Honestly, my late teens to mid-twenties are a complete mess of sin, doubt, confusion. I swung wildly on the pendulum of homophobic to almost publicly and proudly coming out several times. I’ve watched as several of my ‘Christian’ friends have come out. They seem happy to embrace their new life, to be ‘true to themselves’. I have been envious of what looks like freedom. I am ashamed to admit that I had secret flings with several women during this time. I was very vocal about sexuality on social media – hidden from people who knew me. I was two people. I was alone.
Except, I wasn’t alone. God has always been with me.
When I moved cities in 2014, I was running – from a failed engagement, from an idea I thought people had of ‘me’. I didn’t realise that God was pursuing me, even as I ran. In my first year in Newcastle, my church held a mid-year conference all about gender and sexuality. I was terrified to go, so worried about hearing how people like me were an ‘abomination’, that our very existence was sinful, unnatural. But it wasn’t like that at all. It was a gentle walk through God’s good design for human sexuality and relationships, including things like Church hierarchy, singleness, dating a non-Christian, and yes – same-sex attraction. It was here that I first walked through the differences in attraction, desire, and action (in relation to all manner of sinful behaviours). I told a Christian sister I experienced same-sex attraction, and she prayed with me – that I would trust in God, and hold to His truth.
I’ve had both helpful, and unhelpful experiences since then. Two common responses from Christian friends have been to either (a) suggest I lose weight / focus on being a Godly woman etc, in order to gain to a boyfriend, or (b) maintain the “love is love” philosophy, encouraging me to pursue crushes / relationships with either men or women. These unhelpful experiences have something in common: focus on my relationship status (as if finding the ‘right’ person could somehow cure all my confusion and doubt!) I think a lot of Christian literature and conversations around same sex attraction focus on this narrative, too. But I am single. I will probably be single my entire life. And if I do marry? More than likely I will be single again. So there must be some way to be same sex attracted, and single, and Christian.
I have been greatly encouraged by several books on being Christian and attracted to the same sex. “Is God Anti-gay?” by Sam Allberry, “Born This Way” by Steve Morrison, and “The Plausibility Problem” by Ed Shaw have all helped me work through my bisexuality in relation to my Christianity. The Single Minded conference, held last year in Sydney, was also an incredibly blessing. Not only was a life of singleness upheld, but I saw and heard from Christian brothers and sisters who had struggled with the same issues I was struggling with but clinging to the grace of God. Oh, there is great power in no longer feeling like you’re the “only one”.
If you are a Christian reading this, I want to encourage you to be aware of your speech. Maybe you think that jokes don’t hurt, or that everyone in your group experiences the world the same way you do. I can assure you that’s not correct – and the power of your words will either drive people away or encourage them to stay. One of the best moments I had was ‘coming out’ to my Bible Study group. We were talking about adultery – specifically, being attracted to people we weren’t married to. Some of the guys in my group bravely shared that they were attracted to women they weren’t married to, and with the help of the Spirit, I added a quiet ‘me, too’. I was so worried that this group of brothers and sisters would judge and shame me, but they looked on me with love and compassion, and that helped me to be open more and more about struggles in various areas of my life. So, your words matter. Your actions matter. Love, like Jesus loved.
If you are reading this and are same-sex attracted I want to let you know that I see you. You are not alone. There is nothing more broken about you than anyone else. Yes, you will have unique struggles. Yes, sometimes your brothers and sisters will not understand your perspective or love you the best that they could. You are still a child of God – dearly beloved. Cling to Him, His Word, His truth. Surround yourself with people who will build, encourage and (when needed) rebuke you in love.
My story isn’t just about my sexuality. I’m not just bisexual – but I am also bisexual. It’s not something about me that I can pretend doesn’t exist, but it shouldn’t be all about who I am either. First and foremost, my identity must be found in Christ – the same as any other Christian. I am thankful to God for His pursuit of me, and I pray that He will use me to help others know Him.