More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

2 O Tell Me the Truth About Love

EVE TUSHNET

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evetushnet/

I came out when I was about thirteen. When I was twenty, I entered the Catholic Church. Those seven years were pretty interesting— but the years after my conversion have been even wilder and woollier, as I’ve slowly figured out how much I didn’t know about, among other things, the possibilities for a gay life that is faithful to Catholic teaching.

I suspect one reason it was relatively easy for me to become Catholic is that I had led, up to that point, a semicharmed life. I was a very weird kid who went to schools where bullying wasn’t tolerated. My parents were progressive but not pushovers; they had gay friends and listened with only the necessary amount of world-weary bemusement when I said I thought I was “in love” with my high-school girlfriend. I had been basically quite comfortable being queer. In queer communities I’d found friends, solidarity, and a corrective to my intense self-centeredness. All of this allowed me to come to the Catholic Church with relatively little baggage.

I became Catholic as the result of a religious quest prompted by my first real encounter with devout Christians. They guided me out of my various misconceptions about the meaning of “original sin” and about the church’s attitude toward the body. I began to suspect, darkly, that there was something wrong with me: I was experiencing new, unexpected, and unwanted attractions to a strange woman, the Bride of Christ.

As my attraction to the church grew, some stumbling blocks remained, including, unsurprisingly, the teachings on human sexuality and especially homosexuality. I asked my friends to explain this to me, and they made some valiant if unconvincing attempts. I asked a priest— and I always tell this story, but I should note that the priest in question is a terrific guy who showed me immense patience and care— who explained that lesbian sex was “like trying to turn a doorknob wrapped in barbed wire.” (How did he know?) This also, as you can imagine, didn’t really convince me. But I

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