As a Christian, how do you answer that question?
Being same-sex attracted, Tim felt that he was “gay.” So when Andrew asked him, “Are you gay,” he got that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look, which was a give-away even without the “yes” that followed.
But was it necessary for Tim to admit to being “gay”?
What Tim meant by “being gay” and what Andrew meant by “being gay” were two very different things. So a positive answer may actually give a wrong impression. Let’s consider what most Christians think of being “gay.”
They are thinking of someone being sexually active with the same sex—or, at the very least, having regular gay fantasies, being “turned on” by every member of the same sex, etc.
So when Tim answered “yes,” that’s the picture Andrew got. In his mind, Tim was “turned on” by just being around him, and he saw this sexual turn-on as the reason for the relationship. With that understanding, it made Andrew very uncomfortable to be around tim, and it ended their friendship.
But what Andrew understood wasn’t the reality. While Tim was same-sex attracted, he was also married and faithful to his wife. He disciplined his thought life and he would never think of approaching Andrew sexually.
So did Tim communicate the truth by admitting he was “gay”?
I think not.
Language is fluid and flexible. Words mean different things to different people. Thus, to communicate accurately, we need to keep in mind what the other person means by the words used.
So, if you are attracted to the same sex but have committed your sexuality to God, here are some suggestions for dealing with the question, “Are you gay?”
First of all, you have to remember that no one has any business asking you about your inner thought life and your sexual attraction. You have every right to the privacy of your thoughts and feelings. Tell yourself that out loud, in front of the mirror, if you must: “I have the right to the privacy of my thoughts and feelings!”
So now someone asks, “Are you gay?”
You may reply, “What makes you ask?” or something similar. This immediately turns the tables and puts the other person on the spot.
Someone bold enough to ask the question in the first place is unlikely to be intimidated by such a question and will probably explain. This opens up the conversation to deal with specific issues. You can then decide how much to tell. You may choose to tell very little, saying, “You know, I’m disappointed you would think of me that way,” or something similar. Or, if you trust the person as a good friend, you may tell them that you struggle with being attracted to the same sex but that you are not letting the attraction rule your life.
I suggest that to avoid “outing” yourself at the wrong time/place, you mentally practice dealing with the “Are you gay?” question. Then, if it comes up, the mental practice turns to reality.
Perhaps you have better suggestions?
Or perhaps you have stories to share?
I don’t think it would be wrong to admit you’re gay to someone. Just because their definition of what gay means is different from yours doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest with them. I’m not very openly gay, so if a person I wasn’t ready to admit being gay to asked me that question, I might skirt the issue as you suggested. But if I felt comfortable answering, I would do so honestly. I might also explain myself a bit as well though. For instance, I might say, “Yes, I am gay. But I don’t act on those feelings because I believe God would consider that to be sinful.”
I didn’t mean to say that it would be wrong to admit you’re gay. My point was that, if you have differing definitions, the hearer might not be hearing the truth. Of course, explaining yourself would solve the problem.
In my opinion, for a lot of people, the most important part of the post is the suggestion to mentally role-play to be prepared for the question. It could prevent an awkward “outing.”