Wednesday, October 13: Coming Out As Gray

As this bakes in my tiny oven, I don my one and only purple shirt (bought just for this day) and sit down to write about colors, orientations, and love.

Color coding is the rule of the day. The American map is coded as red and blue, while talk show hosts seem to see the world only in black and white. Girls wear pink. Homosexuals have their own color too--purple. My own favorite color--gray--is sadly neglected, expect perhaps on the Kindle with its 16 shades of gray.

In the end, we are all gray. 16 shades of gray, perhaps, but still gray. Straight or not, donkey or elephant, male or female, we are all gray.

Today is International Coming Out Day. I had intended to write a post supporting my gay brothers and sisters or perhaps a post excoriating those who attack homosexuals. But the thoughts that came to me as I walked my son to kindergarten and then mixed up a batch of walnut biscotti in my kitchen were of a different nature.

I have long suspected that I am bisexual. This is far from being a confession that I have struggled painfully with my sexual orientation. As a young adult, I suspected that absolutely everyone was bisexual and just hiding it. That is, I thought my experience was normative.

Time or rather several conversations with people spread out over time has shown me that my experience is not normative. But whose is?  I still shy away from the label "bisexual" because it seems to imply sexual attraction to all people without distinction. Sexual attraction, important as it may be, is not so much the point to me.

I remember the most intense, painful, and joyful experiences of love that I have ever had. One was with with a women. One was with a man. Oddly, I did not feel overwhelming sexual desire in either case. The attraction was profoundly emotional.  So what does that make me?  I think it just makes me--me.

My attempts at self-definition have been utter failures. The label box at the bottom of this post is empty.  The label box of my life is also rather empty. Just when I thought I was a conservative, I became a liberal, but just when I was sure I was a liberal, Andrew Sullivan (the veritable British-American, Catholic, conservative, pro-Obama, gay blogger) convinced me I might be conservative.

I am bi-lingual now and a permanent resident of South Korea. Well, not bi-lingual. I speak or read (or spoke or read) several languages and I keep both learning and forgetting more languages even as Korean and English dominate my brain.

I am a Christian, yes. Protestant--maybe not. Even self-defining as a Christian is not entirely helpful.  Many who are Christians would not accept my self-definition. Many who are not Christians misunderstand it. Nothing to be done but to keep following Jesus.


  1. One is not a murderer if she does not murder, Even if one were to think about murder. The thing that defines the murderer is the act of murdering.

  2. Anonymous, Well, I half agree. Legally speaking, a person who does not actually commit murder is not a murderer. Morally speaking, Jesus did say in Matthew 5, "Whoever says to his brother You Fool! is endanger of the fire of hell." So thoughts are also important.

    My main point with regards to sexual orientation and love is that I don't think it's all about sex. Ideally, sex and love would perfectly match and we would have perfect sex with the one person we perfectly loved. But it seems like life frequently doesn't work out that way. There are many straight married people who deeply love each other but don't have it going on in bed. I guess there are also gay married people with the same issues.

    One direction I'm not interesting in going is this: is it right or wrong to be gay? My question is broader: At the core, what is human sexuality anyway?

  3. Beautifully honest and thought provoking. I suspect may more people that ever admit it have felt they could be bisexual. I am close to more men than women and you would be shocked how many machismo, married men have wondered at some point in time if they were as well. It always boils down to the emotional attraction too.
    Sexuality is supposed to be deep emotional attachment and trust taken to the next level. It never ends up that way though.
    I also under stand where your coming from on the feelings of being gray. As a long student of the Bible, brought up Baptist and dabbling in Adventism, I feel sadly left out the more I learn and study. The most seemingly pious Christians I know have disappointed me the most. I am not sure if it is because I have higher expectations of them or if they fall harder. I am tired of all the hate, self righteousness and condemnation. Like a person who recently posted on a social networking site how Jesus loves them yet posted another page how the person who threw the bottle at Obama should have had a gun, and why doesn't someone shoot him. VERY Christlike,indeed.
    Sorry to go on so long!

  4. Hey, Anonymous, you should go on even longer!

    Like you and I also closer to more men than I am to women. Why men are easier for me to get along with is a subject I want to explore someday. But, yeah, I do think it all boils down to an emotional attachment.

    Also totally understand how it is that the most pious Christians tend to disappoint the most. I think they set themselves to fall, in a way. No one is surprised when a self-proclaimed gay man is, well, gay. Everyone is shocked when a lifelong advocate against homosexuality turns out to be gay. It's a matter of the expectations that they set up for themselves, I think.

    I may be a sinner but I hope I'm not a hypocrite. At one time,I thought I might be called to ministry in the church, but one thing that kept me away is the fear that I might fall and disgrace myself.