In third grade, I knew I was attracted to the girls in my class. I thought, uh oh, this isn't normal—why is this happening? In the church I grew up in, no one talked about homosexuality, so I didn't tell anybody. I hid it. I pushed it back. Whenever homosexuality was mentioned, it was joked about. "Those types of people" were alienated and outcast. No one would hang out with them—if anyone was around them, it was to make fun of them.
When I got to middle school and high school, I started to dig into the Bible to try and understand what was going on, because those feelings were starting to affect my friendships. I read through the Bible passages in Genesis, Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Timothy over and over again, and tried to figure out how God views this. I came to the conclusion it's something God doesn't desire, but it was still a desire ingrained deep in my heart. I didn't understand why those desires were there if I wasn't allowed to follow through with them. I battled with those questions on my own for a really long time—even into college.
I felt dangerous. I didn't think there was any hope for me. Because the label "same-sex attraction" hadn't come out, I thought I was gay. I thought every day I was sinning. I felt I was dead to God—that I was a defect, and that there was no room for me. If I had those desires, I was sinning. And that made me really sad. Because if God couldn't love me in my same-sex attraction, then who could love me? I became depressed in middle school, and that stuck with me into college.1