Out at 54
by Tom Simpson
(Rawtenstall, Lancashire, UK)
Manchester Pride 2009 (in boa)
Being born in 1950 in the UK when being gay was illegal meant that for most of my life I rejected the fact that I was gay. In 1967 I accepted Jesus as my Saviour in a Pentecostal church and was baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Some years later I was put in charge of a branch work in Rawtenstall Lancashire. There I met and married a woman 16 years older than me. We were more companions than anything else since I know she had guessed that I was gay, even though I had only slowly begun to acknowledge it. In January 2005, after 20 years of marriage my wife died of cancer.
By May of 2005 I was becoming depressed and decided that the only way to get out of my depression was to come out. I said to my adult step son who lived with me at the time: "Matthew I'm gay". He was surpised but not shocked as my wife's family had guessed that I was gay.
I then came out to the rest of her family and at first it was well received, but now I am ignored. I came out at work and this was accepted quite well. The biggest problem was when I came out at the Baptist Church that I was a member of.
After a long process I had to speak at a members meeting where they were debating, "Is homosexuality compatible with Bible teaching?"
The minister spoke in length using all the usual scriptures against homosexuality, then I spoke using the same scriptures, showing that they did not teach against homosexuality. At the end of the debate it was decided that "Homosexuality is not compatible with the Bible." After this I was forced to resign from the church but I still believe in Jesus as Saviour, as God is my judge not man.
During this time God led me to meet a man 4 years older than me who had been out all his life. In June 2006 we became Civil Partners and are in a loving relationship. It has been hard coming out but it is the best thing that I have done.