I Was Outed To My Church Pastor: How My Sexuality Almost Ended My Life

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Growing up I was your typical boy. I played ball, liked sports, and had girlfriends.

At the age of 5, I lost my dad in a car accident resulting in my mom gaining full custodial rights of myself and two older brothers.

My mother left us shortly after I was born with my dad, and left with no trace. My mother was your typical alcoholic and fought with her abusive boyfriends every weekend and most weekdays.

At one moment in my childhood, my mother walked in on me being sexually abused by an older relative. My mother didn’t immediately address the situation, instead, she pulled me by my hair down a flight of stairs to the living room. 

Then she began to call me a f*g, among other names, and informed me I will never amount to anything more than a f*g. I honestly don’t remember much more after that moment as my mind has blocked it due to the trauma. 

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Years later I knew I was gay. I hid this secret. I hid this secret with my entire being.

I feared the outcome of telling my mother about me not being like my older brothers. Eventually, my mother lost full custody of my brothers and me.

Going into my young adult life I found myself looking for direction and guidance.

I fell deeply involved in a Church that I felt loved in. Knowing that I would never be accepted in the Church I found if I revealed that I was gay, I continued to live as a straight man. This led to severe anxiety in situations, and eventually lead me into the biggest depression spiral of my life.

I would go to church but go home and cry myself to sleep because I knew I would never be happy in a straight relationship.

I eventually fell to the low point of researching the easiest ways to kill yourself. I looked for something that would make it hard to come back because I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to come back to live a life where I had to lie every single day of my life.

But The night I was planning to end everything something told me not to. Something put me in my car and made me drive. I ended up in a church the night I planned to die.

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Sadly, I soon went back into my old habits and began to live my same life day-to-day changing nothing about the way I felt that night.

A few years later I broke again.

I began to fall right back into my depression but this time I sought help. This time I took medication, I spoke to people about how I felt, and I spoke to people that were religious, and people who were not. 

In February of 2021, I woke up to a text message from the pastor of the church I was attending.

I had been outed to the Church that I was attending.

At that point, I knew I had to make a decision: Do I lie, or do I tell the truth?

I chose to tell the truth.

When I came out as a gay man, they advised me it would be best if I moved away from the small church I had attended and all of the congregation members abandoned me.

I gave in, moved away, and began my life as a gay man.

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My new life has been marvelous.

Coming to my truth set something free in me that I refuse to leash back into a cage. I learned to be fierce and rock my sexuality.

The biggest thing that I was always scared of was being in love with an individual of the same gender. You're advised in sermons at church that being gay is a life of lust, a life of deprivation, and a life of disease.

In church, they don’t inform you that being in love — truly in love — no matter the gender, is the absolute most amazing thing a person can experience. And love can indeed be found in same-sex relationships.

Two years ago, I fell in love with a wonderful man. He is gentle when my heart is broken, he is strong when I am having my weakest day, and he is the best part of my day.

Learning to understand and love the person I was and am today has truly been the most rewarding adventure — even if it nearly killed me to get me here.

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Jonathan Crabtree is a contributor to YourTango who writes on love and sexuality.