I was in the closet for most of my life: I didn’t come out until I was 65. Such hiding is wearisome indeed, because of the enormous energy required to pretend to be straight. Religion at first encouraged my deception. I prayed mightily to be straight, because from the ‘40s to the ‘80s, both church and society seemed to say that straight was the only acceptable way to be. But my struggle to hide became harder, and, at Saint Peter’s, I knew many out gay people who seemed comfortable with their homosexuality. So, their simple presence caused me to question more and more my wearisome struggle to be straight.
A line from the Gospel of John kept coming to me: “…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). My truth was that I was gay, and I slowly realized that I didn’t need to live a lie trying to be straight.
Saint Peter’s and particularly its gay members stood with me, often without knowing it, as I gradually gave up my wearisome burden. Today my prayer is for all gay people, particularly young people, to feel that God loves them as they are.