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Coming Out to Truth

Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered/Intersexed Christians Sharing their Struggles to Integrate Sexuality and Spirituality

A work in progress edited by Michael J. Nicosia, M.Div. © 2005 Dignity-Integrity/Rochester

The following coming-out stories were submitted by past and present members of Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.  Each describes a common struggle to find an intersection between sexuality and spirituality, and puts a human face on the Christian LGBTI experience.  As these insights arose from dialogue with others in community, it is hoped that sharing them with the wider community will aid others on the road to wholeness and holiness.

Knowing that the Spirit moves wherever this struggle is shared, our plan to expand this collection will not be limited to the experiences of the D-I/R community.

Up on the Rooftop
by Michael J. Nicosia, M.Div

In hind sight I see how I've always been attracted to men, since early childhood, but I had never put a label on it…even in the heat of sexual fantasies over teen magazines and men's underwear shots in department store catalogs, I never put two and two together.  But when I was 21 things changed - I met Tom.  He was gentle, caring, spiritual, funny…and gorgeous!  Amazingly, my feelings weren't "sexual" at first; this was different and new.  I was in love, totally and obsessively.

Read the complete story.

My Journey Toward My Understanding of My Baptismal Covenant
by The Rt. Rev. Ellie Atwood-Tarbell, M.Div., CSA

From the time I could understand as a child who God was, I was aware of God in my life.  I cannot remember a time when Sunday morning was not spent in Sunday School and then church.  I cannot remember a time, as a child, when my Mom did not hear my prayers at night and pray the Lord's Prayer with me.  At the age of twelve, I heard God's call to ordained ministry; but, as my pastor told me, "We don't ordain women in the Lutheran Church, so maybe you should become a Deaconess.  However, I do not think you need to be thinking about this now."  That was in 1946.

Read the complete story.

He Surely Must Know of My Pain
by Bill Camp

Lent is a special time for me, partly because of the associations between it and my former community of Dignity-Integrity.  It was in the second week of Lent in 1988 that I finally had the courage to come visit for the first time.  This time always brings back the many memories of how I have struggled with the acceptance of my sexuality and integrating this into my life.  I remember coming into church with my heart beating in my chest and my palms sweating, thinking, "What am I doing here?"

Read the complete story.

A Personal Reflection...
by Jan

A question I have asked myself over the last several years is, "How has my faith been strengthened by my 'coming out' and gaining the self-acceptance that I have?"  In quiet times of reflection and prayer I realize:  I may have this question backwards.  How have my coming out and self-acceptance been a reflection of becoming aware of God's powerful love? That is what the "new life" and new beginnings of baptism and conversion mean to me.

Read the complete story.

Our Giftedness
by Chris Hindi

When I look back at the past four years, and the events that led me to the little Chapel above St. Peter's Church in Bombay last August where I was received into the Church, and earlier this year to the office of Sr. Sue Hoffman (one of the Chaplains at the University of Rochester) where I first came out to anybody, one thing seems clear and seems to make sense out of all this - my sexuality and religiosity are inexorably intertwined.  I am Catholic because I am gay.

Read the complete story.

My Faith Journey
by Pat

I sometimes look at my life's faith journey these past 47 years as if it were a trip to a foreign country. 

The first 18 years was a guided tour.  My guides told me what to see, what to do, where to go, and all of the local traditions to observe.  One did not deviate from the itinerary.

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Coming Out...Coming Through
by Doris Karnisky

As an adolescent I always knew that my love for women was an important gift - one of God's many gifts to/for me.  Some of the women in high school were an important part in my life and uplifted it, though I never acted out my love for them orally and physically.  My mother always brought up the question of boyfriends, but I simply stated, "In time, Mom."  Besides such evasiveness to her questions, my mother, an invalid, took all in stride….

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Made Gay by God
by Marvin Barrett

Way before I came out to my mom at age 20, I knew I was a homosexual.  By the time I was 11 or 12, I definitely knew.  And before that I had "hints" from my body, mind and emotions that I liked men more than women.

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Being Accepted
by Gail Mastrella

Up until I was 10 years old, I lived in an all boy (except for me) neighborhood, and fit in very well there.  But when I started school, I soon realized that I was very different from the other girls.  I didn't fit in at all.  I didn't do any of that girl stuff very well and didn't want to either.

Read the complete story.

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