Depression and Being Gay

by Bill Brenner on October 16, 2010

One of the big debates that has always irked me is about whether homosexuals are born that way or if they just wake up one morning and decide to be that way.

Having a gay sister, aunt and cousin-in-law, I have something to say about that.

I’m sure there are a few people who decide to give it a try as a lifestyle choice. That’s their business. But every gay person I’ve ever met didn’t just wake up on day and decide they were going to be gay. They had some serious internal struggles that brought them to the brink.

There was drug abuse. In my sister’s case, severe depression.

When she was a kid she badly wanted the whole fairytale family existence. She wanted THE wedding, THE husband and kids. She might tell the story differently, but I think the worst of her depression hit upon realizing she wasn’t that kind of person.

My cousin dove into years of serious drug and alcohol use.

Whatever the motives, I can tell you this: Only when they came out of the closet were they able to move forward and start living full, productive lives. Only then did the worst of the depression start to lift.

I don’t think a person who goes through that kind of hell just wakes up one day and decides they are going to be gay.

It’s in them at an early age, they try to keep the feelings at bay and become “normal” people. Hiding from your true self always comes with a price. 

I think some of the priests who went on to sexually abuse parishioners entered the priesthood in the first place to escape who they were. A life of celibacy would surely do the trick, right?

Wrong.

This has always been a sensitive subject for me. I’m a devout Catholic and there are people in the church who like to go on about the sin of homosexuality. It always makes me think of the people I know who are gay.

I’m not sure what else to say about the matter, except that I choose to love people based on WHO they are, not WHAT they are.

Having experienced depression myself, I don’t wish it on anyone.

My faith tells me we have to accept people for who they are, even if we don’t get it. I can like the individual even if I don’t like their sins. Hell, I’m the last one on this planet who is in a position to judge someone else’s sins.

I have enough of my own to contend with.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

annrball October 16, 2010 at 1:32 AM

Love this post Bill. I’ll be re-tweeting it as often as I can today.

Alan Shimel October 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM

Bill, I agree people are born gay. But from your post I have to ask, do you still consider it a sin?

billbrenner1970 October 16, 2010 at 7:35 AM

I’m still conflicted about that, Alan. I understand WHY the church deems it a sin, but like many people, I have trouble reconciling that with the fact that homosexuals didn’t choose to be that way and that they are good people. Of course, I’d like to think I’m a good person, but I’m still a sinner.

Victoria Seavey October 16, 2010 at 3:54 AM

Well said Bill. I also believe that people are born gay. Watching a wonderful friend of mine struggle with depression throughout our high school years only strengthens my belief. That being said, how is it a sin if she didn’t have any choice in the matter?
She isn’t hurting anyone – she has a wonderful partner and just celebrated their 12th anniversary together. She is a successful lawyer, wonderful aunt and a great friend. She lives a better and more wholesome life than many heterosexual people I know. How can that be sinful?

Nick October 16, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Interesting post Bill. The Church teaches that homosexual “sexual” activity is sin, not the homosexual disposition. I too have a couple of gay friends. They didn’t choose their sexual orientation or disposition. However, like us as addicts, they can choose how to live their lives. The Church sees homosexual activity as sinful because it’s contrary to the order of creation, and is not able to bear fruit through new life, which is what our sexual abilities are primarily designed for. To live contrary to that is to live in a self-destructive manner. But to me, it’s no different than realizing that I can’t drink alcohol. Because as an alcoholic, I can’t use alcohol according to it’s proper role in creation, rather I use it excessively and destructively and it takes control. And as a married man I’m not free to go out and committ adultery with whomever I want. The desires and temptations are there, but that would bring destruction on me, my wife, and my children, and whomever would share that sin with me. We should NEVER condemn a person for having a same-sex attraction. Only God knows what truly causes that. Instead we must, as Christians, seek to love and accept anyone in our lives as they are, yet always ultimately desiring their highest good, which is for them to find true joy in God both in this life and eternity. I’m an addict, and I have NO right to judge anyone else. Yet I’m grateful God has sent people into my life who love me enough to not let me make excuses to live according to my addictions and bring myself to the place of destruction.

Lori J October 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Great post Bill. I wish I could put thoughts and feelings into words the way you do. Accepting people for who they are is the greatest gift and what more could we ever wish from anyone.
Thank you, Lori

Wendi joy September 5, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Well put little brother. Love you. Xoxo

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