Coming Out 101

What gay Christians should know first.

Psalm 19:14 - O Lord my Rock

Things Could Get Very Interesting

Coming out can be a dazzling adventure or a dismal disaster, depending on how you handle it and to whom you come out. If you’re young and hip, your friends probably won’t much care so being open and honest with them may not pose any problems.

Your Mom and Dad and Pastor and Youth Pastor may have more difficulty with you being gay. Their reaction can be problematic. If you are not yet 18 and capable of supporting yourself, weigh carefully the pros and cons of telling everyone you're gay. Some parents have grounded gay kids who came out. Some have cut off Internet access. Some have shipped their gay kid off to an Ex-gay “ministry” for therapy to make them heterosexual.

Rainbow Banner

All are welcome - Is that true at your church?

If you go to a conservative church like I did, my story may help you. You can read it here. In many conservative churches, your Pastor and Youth Pastor may not be as friendly or supportive when you tell them you're gay. Please don't misunderstand.

I don't say that to
knock conservative churches.

I am a conservative Christian who loves the Bible. I believe the Bible from cover to cover - every word of it  and I encourage you to believe every word in the Bible.

But God expects us to read and interpret and apply the Bible in the context in which He gave it. He expects us to have enough common sense not to pull verses out of their historical context to make them teach something He never intended.

If you have been helping lead worship, they may withdraw that privilege from you after you come out. The more conservative the church you attend, the more consequences you may face when you come out.

The struggle to reconcile Christian faith and sexuality is more difficult for gays than for non-gays. Saved gays are told that being gay is a sin or that committed gay relationships are sinful. Saved heterosexuals are rarely told that. Gays are told that God always condemns homosexuals and homosexuality.

Because these negative messages are constantly reinforced by using out of context quotations from the Bible, many gays falsely believe they must make a choice between being gay and being Christian.

If that is the way you feel, please keep reading because there is help and hope for you. You do not have to choose between being Christian and being gay. You can be a strong, faithful, Bible believing Christian while also being gay.

You have the right not to come out until you are ready to come out. Coming out is an intensely personal process.

You should understand up front that coming out is always something you do for yourself, not something you do for others. If you are still living at home, coming out may have painful negative consequences for you. Any coming out decision should be made prayerfully, carefully, recognizing that it may be a rough ride.

If you haven’t read and carefully studied what the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about homosexuality, then you’re probably not ready to come out. If you’re not ready for the possible turmoil and hysterics that sometimes accompany coming out, then don’t come out until you are ready.

Before you decide to come out, you should take as long as you need and read this website carefully. In fact, read through this website several times if necessary, so that you are familiar with the truth and so that other Christians cannot heap condemnation on you by taking verses out of context. You should read the Bible verses for yourself. Never take someone’s word that it says something. Check it out for yourself.

If you understand what the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about being gay, it will make your coming out process easier (but not necessarily easy).

What To Expect When You
Come Out As A Gay Christian

Gay Christian Flag

1. Many conservative Christians, possibly including your parents, your Pastor and your friends at church may be horrified. Your teachers and guidance counsellers may be encouraging and supportive but sometimes they are not.

You may feel like you’re alone with the whole world against you. If you think that might happen in your personal situation, it may be better not to come out until you are old enough to live on your own and support yourself.

2. Most conservative Christians have absolutely no idea what the Bible really says about homosexuality. They know what someone told them it says and what someone told them it means but they don’t know what the Bible says, in context.

3. Most conservative Christians only know that the Bible is alleged to teach that all homosexual practice is wrong, that God hates homosexuals and that all homosexuals will burn in hell.

Of course, if that’s what they believe, you can understand why they get so upset when you confide in them that you are gay. Education about what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be gay can help but still, most parents will have problems when their gay child comes out.

They need reassurance from you that you still love them, you still love God and that you are not living a promiscuous, immoral life. They need to hear from your own mouth that you still have high moral standards and strong spiritual beliefs. They need to know that they have not “lost you” since they will feel like they have lost you.

Gay Christian Flag

4. Because your parents, your Pastor and your friends love you and because they’ve been taught wrong about homosexuality, they will immediately try to talk you out of being gay.

5. They will quote scripture out of context and insist that what they quote is referring to all homosexuals.

They are afraid that you will get AIDS or other STIs because they believe all gay people are promiscuous and immoral. You need to be honest with them and reassure them you do not believe promiscuous sex is right and that you are not living an immoral life.

Your parents love you and they don't want to see you get hurt. That is part of what motivates their concern. Their love for you is a good thing.

6. They will insist that you get counseling or reparative therapy or join an ex-gay program to help you "stop being gay."

7. They will insist that you were born heterosexual and that you made a choice to be homosexual instead of heterosexual even though they know that they did not make a choice to be heterosexual instead of homosexual.

The inconsistency of their position on this point will be completely beyond the grasp of their rational mind.

8. They will use anger and tears or calm, reasoned arguments or shouting, screaming arguments to make you see things their way. It may not be possible to reason with them in the first few months.

9. They will insist you get counseling with your Pastor. In some cases, they will insist that you are demon possessed and will try to cast out of you the demons of homosexuality and rebellion.

10. In extreme cases they may kick you out of the house or take away your car or your computer or refuse to pay for your college education until you stop being gay.

11. Their first reaction will be to argue with you and try to convince you that you’re not gay instead of first reading and studying everything they can find about being gay. Remember that their response is normal for many parents.

How You Should Respond
To Their Response

1. Start the coming out process prayed up, living for the Lord and knowing what the Bible says and where you stand with God.

Read Your Bible

My advice to you is:

If you're not living for the Lord and
if you're feeling rebellious, don’t come out.

2. Understand that your coming out will cause strong emotions but do not respond with your own strong emotions.

3. Remain calm, breath deeply and do not raise your voice. Take time to think before you respond. If you find yourself getting angry, take a bathroom break before continuing the discussion.

4. This is not the time to throw a temper tantrum at your parents. They love you and naturally they are concerned about your future. Answer them softly, treating your Mom and Dad, your Pastor and your friends with loving respect.

Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer
turneth away wrath, but
grievous words stir up anger.”

5. When they quote scripture to “prove” that homosexuality is wrong, answer in a quiet neutral voice and encourage them to read the verses in context. It will be helpful at this point, for everyone to open their Bible and read and discuss the clobber verses.

Rainbow Jesus

They will probably use Genesis 19, the Sodom story. The context is a mob attempting to gang rape angels. The issue in Sodom was not a loving, committed, faithful same sex relationship.

It may be helpful to gently point out that homosexuals are never mentioned in the Sodom story or in any of the 48 verses where Sodom is mentioned in the Bible.

They will also use Leviticus 18:22. The context is worshiping false gods like Molech and his fertility goddess consort Ashtoreth, Lev 18:3, 21, II Kings 23:13 (Milcom is another name for Molech).

They will also use Leviticus 20:13. The context is worshiping false gods like Molech and his fertility goddess consort Ashtoreth, Lev 20:2-5.

They will also use Romans 1:26-27. The context is rejecting God, worshiping idols and worshiping Cybele, the most prominent fertility goddess in first century Rome.

They will also use I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10. The Greek words malakos and arsenokoites in these verses, were never used in the first century as a universal reference to homosexuals. According to Bible scholars, the Greek words arsenokoites and malakoi were rarely, if ever used to describe homosexuals.

It makes sense to be prepared
with Bible facts.

You should already have your Bible marked with notes in the margins and verses underlined to point out the context. You can find a lot of helpful information on for each of the clobber passages.

Get familiar with the information and write some of it in the margins of your Bible so you can use it when discussing homosexuality with your Mom and Dad and your Pastor.

6. Understand before you ever come out that you are not going to convince them you are right and they are wrong on homosexuality. That is a long process of prayer, study and communication which may take years. It will not happen overnight.

Remember you’ve taken a long time to come to terms with being gay and Christian. It only makes sense that it will probably take your parents as much time as it's taken you.

Hands Holding Bible

7. Make up your mind in advance that you are not going to respond to their anger with your own anger.

If they issue ultimatums, do not respond with ultimatums of your own.

8. Assure your Mom and Dad that you love them and that you will always love them.

Honor your parents. They are not your enemies even if they get mad at you. Keep the lines of communication open.

Encourage your parents to visit helpful websites like these.

A letter to Louise

9. Never forget that even if it seems like your parents, your Pastor and your friends at church have turned their backs on you, God still loves you and He will never turn His back on you.

10. Understand that when you come out, it may change your family closeness and family relationships for a long time. You will need to be strong in the Lord, gathering strength from His word to get you through the coming out process.

Things That Will Not Happen
When You Come Out

Hands Holding Cross

1. Life will not suddenly get easier and all your problems will not go away.

2. Everyone will not respond to your coming out by saying:

“Wow, that’s the greatest news I’ve ever heard.
I’m so happy for you!”

3. Everyone will not automatically believe your arguments that the Bible really doesn’t condemn committed, faithful, non-cultic gay relationships.

4. Your Mom and Dad probably will not say,

“We’re thrilled to hear that news.
We always hoped you’d be gay.”

5. The world will not end, your future will not be destroyed and you will not be condemned to a lonely life under the wrath of God when you come out.

6. If you were saved and loved the Lord before coming out then you’ll still be saved and love the Lord after coming out.

Gay Pride Banner

7. Remember - you’re not coming out to God. He already knows you're gay and He still loves you!

8. God’s promises will not cease to apply to you just because you came out.

9. God will not stop answering your prayers when you come out. He will continue to love you and bless you and take good care of you.

10. You will not suddenly have all the answers about homosexuality and the Bible when you come out. We are always learning and growing and the Christian life is frequently a struggle. That will not change when you come out.

11. Coming out will not take away your depression. If you struggled with depression before coming out, you will probably struggle with depression after coming out.

Positive Things That Happen
When You Come Out

God's grace will get you through!

1. You will have the joy of not having to hide who you are from those who matter most to you.

2. You will begin a grand new adventure of faith, living under the protection of God's amazing grace, walking with God as an openly gay, authentic, committed Christian.

3. You will encourage others that being gay and Christian is an honorable way to live.

4. You will discover that God is with you in every testing and trial you face as an openly gay Christian. He will strengthen you and guide your steps.

The empty tomb in the garden makes possible the empty closet!

5. You can focus your life on serving God and preparing yourself to be the kind of partner you’re hoping to marry someday.

6. If you live a sexually promiscuous "always hooking up kind of life," don't expect God to bring you a wonderful guy or gal who loves Jesus and doesn't live that way. Read 5. again.

7. Acting in an honest responsible manner when you come out will help to reinforce in you a strong, vibrant Christian character.

8. Being honest and open about who you are can help prevent some of the neuroses that develop in people who insist on staying closeted. 

My Coming Out Story

More Coming Out Stories

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