Hey, I’m Jeremy. My goal is to share my experience here, but it’s a struggle to find the right words. As you read what I’ve written, you may notice that I give some room for consideration as I look to fully describe what’s on my heart. So… let’s start here. I believe in Jesus and I like dudes. Okay, to be more specific, I live with bisexual attraction. That is a pretty frank way to start a paragraph, but it’s been a long time coming. Here’s the thing: I have known this about myself since I was very, very young. I’ve felt different, isolated and alone through much of my life because of the issue of sexuality. Over the last 4 years, I have been able to work through, process and understand who I am to a degree that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I was so afraid of sharing this for so long as I didn’t want to be judged. I also didn’t want anyone to say “Ahh, I knew it!” or “I totally saw this coming!” I was so self-conscious that I felt like I had to hold all of this in. Today, I can post this part of my story with a deep understanding of who I am, and I hope you’re able to read this with an open heart.
I want to start off with saying my thoughts and opinions on this may not be the same as yours, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to take time to research, contemplate and end up in a place of peace with any topic of consideration. Whether it’s the issue of pineapple on pizza, pepsi being better than coke or which sport trumps all, everyone has to know why they believe what they believe. I’ve known my beliefs in this area for a long time, but I haven’t had the level of understanding and love for myself that I do now to be able to share this. I’m thankful I do. Whatever your personal belief about this topic, I want you to know that I respect and understand that there are differences of opinion. I would simply ask that you extend me the same respect as I present my life.
I’d like to say that while I am attracted to both men and women, I don’t believe I am meant to live a lifestyle surrounding a homosexual relationship. I don’t believe that is who I am, nor do I believe that is who I was created to be. I believe based on early childhood sexualization, abuse and a strenuous connection with my dad, I entered into a place of desiring close male intimacy in addition to close female intimacy. This started when I was young. I experienced 4 different situations of sexual abuse, I saw my first introduction into sexuality at the age of 9 through homosexual pornography, and I recall finding both boys and girls attractive. I grew up in the church as many people know, and while my faith and relationship with Jesus is of utmost importance to me, the church in the 2000’s did not deal with these topics in a way that was helpful.
I was at the hands of people who were imperfect, and my story and life didn’t feel like it lined up with what I understood about how others perceived those who were gay. This was true of family, friends and church leadership. While I don’t blame anyone for who I am today, I do recognize that there were circumstances that led to me feeling this way.
Already, I have stated two facts: I have attraction to both men and women, and I lived through difficult circumstances that led to these attractions. Because of this, I don’t believe that I was born this way. Given that this whole conversation is extremely nuanced, I also recognize that as I continue to work through my past, present and future, my thoughts and opinions on this may change. That’s okay! I am receptive of growing, learning and becoming who I am meant to be. I don’t know that I will ever be in a place where I believe that I was born this way, but I also understand that as I continue to process and work through my life, I may have a deeper understanding and appreciation for who I am. I’m willing to change my perspective when/if that happens. I also recognize that this may always be how I feel about this topic, and that’s okay, too. I have come to a place of peace and understanding about myself that has taken a lifetime. Now, I want to dig in to a bit more of why I am sharing this. Why now? Why at all? Here’s what led to me posting this in such an open forum.
June is a great month because people I love were born, the weather continues to warm up, I celebrate my dad through Father’s Day and canola starts to blossom in the fields around where I live. There’s a lot I love about this month. There’s also a lot that I find extremely difficult and hurtful. Because Pride week has grown into a full month, there is a very constant and heavy push on things surrounding the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Whether it’s companies deciding to promote these ways of life through advertising, or new rainbow sidewalks are painted, I have spent many years being reminded of a lifestyle that I don’t believe I am meant to live. I have been put into a really difficult place in my understanding of the world as I am in a place to dichotomy between two very important parts of my life: Faith & Sexuality.
On one hand, I was raised in and continue to attend church with a community of believers. I love this part of my life, and am grateful beyond words for the relationships and conversations I’ve had. Being in Christian community is singlehandedly one of the most important parts of my life, and yet, it’s also been one of the most difficult to rationalize and understand. Because I live with same sex attraction on top of heterosexual attraction, I have heard the jokes, comments and theological stance towards those who live openly and outwardly in an “alternate” sexuality. Very often, folks have a black and white view which they feel is backed up theologically and systematically. While I understand and appreciate where those opinions come from, the reality is, this is a topic that affects human beings. When we only boil a topic down to right and wrong, we could come across as though we automatically are saying: “This issue is more important than the human beings it affects”. It cannot be this simple, nor can we pretend to love our neighbour as ourself if we also make our neighbour feel like they are irredeemably sinful and evil based on who they’re attracted to. If it was as simple as flipping a switch to turn gay attraction off, I guarantee you I would have done that years ago. But Jeremy today is grateful for my same sex attraction as I have perspective, grace and compassion for others who may be different than me. I may not always agree with lifestyles or how someone chooses to behave, but I have an understanding and appreciation for humans that allows me to see them for MUCH MORE than their behaviour.
I feel that the church does a great job of loving on drug addicts, liars, thieves, drunkards, and those with a big ego. I’ve seen friends announce from the front of a church that they kicked their addiction to drugs, and I’ve seen the warm, hearty response. I love that! Church is meant to be a place of community and vulnerability. I just haven’t seen the same grace, love & compassion shown to someone like me that has a sexuality that doesn’t line up with the typical understanding of theology. I’ve also seen people find community & close friendship in the LBGTQ community, while simultaneously heaving out heavy judgement & hateful rhetoric. I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong here, but what I would suggest is what I stated previously: People’s value and worth goes so far beyond their lifestyle choices. Because of who Jesus is and how he chose to live His life, I was given the freedom to be everything I am meant to be. That doesn’t mean that I should take advantage of it, nor does it mean that I should then automatically judge someone who doesn’t believe the same thing I do. It gives me the grace and compassion to love without judgement. That, my friend, is a beautiful and powerful honour that I’ve received.
On the other hand, I live with bisexual attraction. I am attracted to both men and women, so theoretically, I am the “B” in LGBTQ. That means there’s a part of me that is in accordance with those who live out a sexual identity that is different than simple heterosexuality. Because of this, I should be raising a rainbow, marching in parades or bashing anyone who holds a differing opinion. The problem is: I don’t & won’t judge someone who disagrees with this lifestyle. Why? Because I do agree with much of the understanding we have around theology. I believe that men and women were intrinsically created to have intimacy together & create a family. I don’t believe that a relationship outside of that paradigm is living in a way that adheres to how it was meant to be. Does that mean I judge anyone who chooses to live out their life in this way? Absolutely not. I don’t believe I am in a place where I am meant to judge anyone. I want to be honest and real about what I believe is true, but I don’t hold ideals and principles above human beings. Every human is endowed with absolute value and worth. Nothing they say, do or think changes the fact that they were created with purpose in mind. That, ultimately, is much more important to me than picking a side. I believe what I believe to be true, and I likely always will… but those opinions and beliefs do not have more worth to me than a human being. Everyone deserves to be loved, understood and cared for. I believe that is ultimately even more true when it comes to the church. No one should be denied the opportunity to learn, grow and live alongside other believers. Picking a church that has solid theology while living out a culture of compassion for everyone is difficult, but there are churches out there that balance this well. If you haven’t already, find a church that will love you unconditionally, while also caring enough about you to be honest and authentic about theology. Having this balance is incredibly important no matter what your struggles are.
So, as you can see, it’s incredibly difficult to live in the middle of two worlds: Christianity & LGBTQ+. I have one foot in both, and yet, I see both sides exerting such a lack of love and compassion towards one another. This isn’t the rule, of course, as there are some on both sides that do a great job of extending grace and empathy. Unfortunately, some have louder voices that are seen and heard more often, and those need to be the exception, not the rule. Love one another as you would want to be loved, and show a characteristic of grace, empathy and compassion for those who live and understand the world differently than you do.
The next thing I’d like to share is my active addiction that I’ve dealt with since I was a young kid. Because of early childhood sexualization, I have dealt with isolation and feelings of inadequacy for much of my life. I always felt like I was the only one in youth group who was looking at porn and masturbating, and because of that, I always felt uniquely awful. These are topics that were not broached well when I was a kid. I know they are discussed much more often in the world we live in, but when I was younger, I wish I would have known that there were others who struggled. Because I dealt with abuse at the hands of four different individuals, while also having introduced myself to porn at age 9 due to a spam email, I was given an understanding that I was uniquely awful. I didn’t match up to everyone else. I was simply the one who dealt with addiction to porn & masturbation while simultaneously finding other boys and girls attractive. I had such a hard time growing up with all of these parts of my life that felt contrary to everyone else. I lived in total isolation for the majority of my life because of these issues I deal with. I have found freedom in community, authenticity and vulnerability, and I wish the experiences I’ve had over the last 4 years of recovery were those I’d had since I was young. I can’t help but wonder who I’d be today if I just shared what I was going through. There’s a lot of reasons for why I didn’t, but the main reason is I didn’t hear anyone in my life talk about sexuality or addiction other than when it was discussed in a negative light. That closed me off from sharing because I didn’t know who would truly love me for “me” after sharing my deepest, darkest secrets. I have found community that I can share honestly and openly with, and it has singlehandedly changed the way I see the world. I am able to listen to others, share my struggles and grow in a way that my younger self desired more than I can ever articulate. I am so grateful I am in a place now of community and brotherhood. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Since 2019, when the moment has felt right, I’ve opened up about my struggles with close friends and family. There are still many people I wish I could’ve shared this with before posting online, but the timing felt imperative with Pride Month about to begin. I hold extreme gratitude for every individual I’ve had the privilege of sharing with. I’ve been extended love, understanding, grace and compassion, both inside and outside Christian community. My parents, siblings & friends have been incredible. Every person who has heard my story has held it in a place of empathy, and for that, I can’t say enough how thankful I am. I would also like to say every member of the church – both individuals and those in places of leadership – have been incredibly kind and loving to me. I’ve seen firsthand that there are humans out there that can hold a theological opinion while simultaneously extending incredible love and compassion. I truly believe if I didn’t find the right people at the right time, I would not be where I am, nor would I be alive today. I struggled with many bouts of heavy, severe depression, suicidal ideation and shame. I’ve attempted suicide on a few separate occasions, and every time, I’ve walked away grateful to be alive. I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t extended the love, grace and empathy I needed to know that I wasn’t uniquely awful. I received 4 Mental Illness diagnoses a year ago, which make a ton of sense. These also played a huge part in leading me into severe bouts of darkness in my life.
On another note, I truly believe that God loves me for me. He loves every fiber of my being, and He created me to do so much more than I could’ve imagined when I was young & felt alone. God loves you, cares about you, desires you & sees you. I know there’s a lot of hurt that is extended towards people from other people, but the reality is that God loves you desperately. If you’re reading this and you’ve been hurt by the church, I want you to know you’re not alone. You are loved. Jesus cares more about you than any individual ever could. There is purpose, value & worth that you have beyond what you could ever understand. Don’t judge God based on humans. We fall, we mess up, we suck. We are not the best representation of a Holy & loving God. Know that even when we mess up, He still loves us. If you ever have any questions about that, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am always ready to have a conversation about life, no matter what that may look like for you.
Lastly, for now, I’d like to say that I have plans to share about this in a more direct and outward way. I’ve been a member of a community of other followers of Christ who live with Same Sex Attraction (SSA) and don’t necessarily want to act on that behaviour. I’ve seen that I’m not alone in this way, and that has meant more to me than I can ever say. Whether you’re an active member of the LGBTQ+ community, the Church community or both, I want you to know that your life has purpose. You are loved, you matter & the value that comes from your humanity stretches far beyond what you may have heard others say. I soon hope to be able to take this message to churches so that there can be a deeper understanding about these incredibly difficult & nuanced topics. If that’s something you’d be interested in, or you know of a church who would be open to hearing my story in greater detail, I would love to have a conversation. Please feel free reach out to me on my website: www.JDHunter.ca
From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank you for reading my story. It’s been many, many years in the making that I’ve desired to be part of this conversation. The timing hasn’t felt right ‘til now. I am grateful that my story has worked encouragement to many in the past, and now, I hope that it’ll have that much more opportunity to show others that they are loved, seen and understood, no matter the life they’ve lived or continue to live.
You are loved. You matter. There is purpose for your life.