The following contains testimonies from men who, at one time or another, engaged in homosexual activity and who know well the struggles that come with being attracted to persons of the same sex. There may be cultural differences (two are from the Philippines while the other two are in the West) but amid all of these and amid the experiences they have gone through, the one thing that led them to seek the truth and, inadvertently, to a joy and freedom they did not know before then, was the choice to love God. As one of them put it, "I'm attracted to men, but I love God more."
Kung ako lang ang masusunod, gusto ko rin sanang mag-asawa ng kapwa ko lalake kasi 'yan ang hilig ng katawan ko at ilang beses na rin ako nagmahal ng kapwa ko lalake. Umabot pa noon sa puntong nangarap kaming magpakasal kahit bawal pa noon. Pero kumilos ang Diyos sa buhay ko hanggang sa natunton ko na mas mahal ko ang Diyos kaysa sino mang lalake na dumaan sa buhay ko. At ayon sa banal na kasulatan, hindi ang makiapid sa kapwa ko lalake ang gusto ng Diyos para sa buhay ko. May dakila Siyang plano para sa buhay na ibinigay Niya sa akin. Kaya pinili kong sundin ang Diyos imbes na ang sarili ko. Ang plano Niya ang perpekto. Ngayon, mayroon akong kapayapaan at ligaya sa buhay na hindi kayang tumbasan ng anupaman. Salamat sa pagpapatawad mo o Diyos! Alleluya!
(If it were up to me, I would like to marry another man because that would be following the dictates of my body and I have loved men several times. It even reached a point in which we dreamed of going through with a wedding despite its being prohibited at the time. But God worked in my life until I realized that I love God more than any man who had entered and would enter my life. And according to sacred scriptures, to fornicate with other men is not what God wants for me. He has a great plan for the life he has given me. Hence, I chose to follow God rather than my own desire. His plan is perfect. Now, I have peace and joy that nothing whatsoever can equal. Thank you for your forgiveness, oh God! Alleluia!)
- Cesar Evangelista Buendia, from a post on his Facebook account (set to public)
According to [Jovi Atanacio], while many members of the same sex desire union with their romantic partners because of love, Atanacio believes true love desires more than just physical and emotional union.
“It wishes the good of the other. It wishes the good of the other person, encouraging him or her to embrace the virtue of chastity,” he explained.
He clarified, however, that chastity does not mean turning one’s back on love, pointing out it is but a profound and courageous expression of that same love.
Single and chaste, Atanacio, who also maintains the Facebook group “Wanted: Filipino Saints”, underscored the need to grow in the understanding of what love really means.
“If two members of the same sex profess love for each other, they will strive to do what is best for one other. They will encourage one another to identify themselves as beloved children of God who happen to experience same-sex attractions, rather than people who are defined by their sexual urges and happen to believe in God.”
- from 'I'm attracted to men, but I love God more' - Catholic man
The other day, I was joking with someone about smoking crack, like you do because people make jokes about using hard drugs with the understanding that, ‘oh, nobody I know deals with that.’ And then literally the day after I made that joke, I found out that somebody who I’ve known for a very long time has been smoking crack for months and months.
And that is exactly the sort of situation I dealt with growing up, which is where it was sort of standard to make jokes, ‘ha ha, gay people’ because nobody we know is gay – and of course if you hear that sort of thing all the time, you begin to think of yourself as outside of the realm of normal human experience.
Is that how you felt growing up?
Do you think that that actually pushed you more outside ‘the realm of normal human experience,’ because you perceived it to be that way?
Very much so. It sounds cliché to say it, but your perception really does become your reality. If you believe yourself to be of such a nature that you don’t actually belong in society with most other people, then you begin to interpret small thoughtlessnesses as large exclusions, and so you become less able to interact with your actual peers. And then they see you beginning to draw back, and start to think of you as someone who doesn’t really want to be part of their group anyway.
How have you managed to overcome that in adulthood?
Partly through therapy; partly through the group, People Can Change; partly through friendship; and partly through my spiritual director.
- Joseph Prever a.k.a. Steve Gershom, from Why choose celibacy? A gay Catholic speaks out, the second of a 2-part interview