Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is encouraging: Steve Gershom

He's gay and Catholic... how queer is that?

Just the other day I read a comment on his blog from a reader who said that those people to whom she recommended his site were turned away because  of his description 'gay and Catholic'.  That comes as no surprise.

That's Gershom's hook however - and it is effective.  He's young, gay and Catholic - as well as faithful to Catholic teaching - and surprise - well adjusted.  God bless him.  He gets a lot of good press - because he says a lot of good stuff.  He writes very well on The Truth About Same Sex Attraction...

 It does get better.
I’m so used to being gay and Catholic, I forget how strange that sounds.

I forget that, for some people, “homosexual” describes something like a different race, or maybe even a different gender. I forget that some Christians think I’m the worst kind of pervert (but a pervert they have to treat nicely), and some secularists think I’m the worst kind of hypocrite; the former because I’m sexually attracted to men, and the latter because I don’t do anything about it.

Read the last part again. Yes, I’m attracted to men; no, I don’t sleep with them, for the same reason that a lot of Catholics don’t sleep with people they’re not married to. But you’d be surprised how often people hear the first part (gay) and not the second (celibate) — even though the second is the only part that’s up to me.

I’m not very sensitive about the word “gay”, but some of us in the Gay Catholic business prefer the phrase “same-sex attraction,” or SSA. I find it more accurate than “gay” or “queer” or any of the others, just because it suggests that homosexuality is something I have rather than something I am. That’s the way I think of it. So the idea of gay culture, gay rights, gay marriage, gay anything really, is foreign to me. You might as well talk about gluten-intolerance culture, or musician’s rights.

I also don’t mean to trivialize the experience of having SSA. Sex isn’t everything, but as anyone with any kind of sexual dysfunction knows, it’s an awful lot. Put the sexual aspect together with the other things that homosexual men and women often experience — depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, a sense (however false) of being utterly different — and you have a heavy cross.

I’ve experienced healing in every area I mentioned above, but nobody’s healing is complete this side of heaven. Loneliness can be the worst part: not the absence of friends, I’ve got those, but the effort of forging out a way to live in a society that constantly tells us that romantic love is anyone’s only shot at real happiness, and that celibacy (not to mention virginity!) is some kind of psychological disease.

These questions are still present to me, but none of them are show-stoppers anymore. You deal with them, you pray and seek advice, you offer up the incidental pangs, and you get on with your life. And none of the things I deal with are unique to gay men or women. Being straight isn’t a guarantee of having a healthy, shiny, pre-integrated sexuality; it just means the whole beautiful, messy concerto is in a different key. Nobody gets to sit this one out.

To quote the YouTube campaign — you know the one, full of compassion and good intentions and muddled thinking — it does get better. - Read the whole thing here.
Prayers and best wishes for Steve Gershom - he's been on radio and is widely read - he's doin' good!  God bless him and give success to his work - but more than anything - make him truly holy.


  1. Oh he's anonymous.

    My interest just dropped to nil.

  2. Why does anonymity make him uninteresting?

  3. I didn't say that he isn't interesting. I personally don't read anonymous writers. Accountability and authenticity tend to enhance a writer's voice and credibility. YMMV.

  4. Terry, from my comment on the article: "I do not struggle with ssa but with other oppressive temptations. Your self-disclosure is tremendously helpful to me...."

    Ditto for you--or rather, especially in your regard. It is absolutely the truth when I tell you that, if I make it to heaven, it will be due in no small measure to the understanding I have gained through your faithful witness over many years.

    I hope I will be your grateful friend forever.

  5. It's good to see Catholics with SSA living out there lives just as we heterosexual singles must live out our lives - chastely. I grant you that, as a single, heterosexual female, I have the option to marry. I have chosen the single life to focus on the things of God, while living in the world. I understand it is not so for people with SSA and other attractions or inclinations. I think it is a great cross that celibate, chaste, men and women with SSA carry, and I respect their efforts to love God back by honoring his Commandments the way any person must, married or unmarried (there are so many ways that people can violate those commandments within or outside of a marriage).

    I often look at things this way: What God doesn't will directly, he permits. Our response to what he permits is what is most important.

  6. Ronnie - thanks! Best friends forever. I mean that.

  7. Diane - thanks for yourr good - excellent - comment. You bring up an excellent point that single heterosexual Catholics also live chaste lives in witness to the Gospel. God bless you!

  8. Thom - I think Gershom is smart to remain anonymous - he's a young man - the online footprint follows us everywhere... forever.

    I wish I would have used a pseudonymn when i started out. Of course, I never had much of a reputation to begin with. ;)

  9. That's understandable.

    Then again, not writing anything you won't sign your name to is good for accountability.

  10. Terry, thanks for posting this. So helpful to read a reasoned, sane response that is also faithful to Church. I will be keeping this article on file.

    Dianne makes an excellent point and one that is often ignored by activists on various sides of the issue.

  11. I too am a gay Catholic living a life of celibacy for the love of God. Living as a celibate in a culture that does not value celibacy is alienating and difficult. One experiences the bite both of loneliness and the hunger of longing. I wrote to quell these pains, and, so not to place a lamp under a bushel, put my words up on a website. You may care to visit simonjamesonline.com


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.