Dear Friends,

I’ve never written a letter to Everyone In The World before. I’m writing to tell you that I’m gay.

Before you proceed, please do take 39 seconds to watch and listen to this video, as it perfectly sums up my feelings about all this.

I started this blog back in 2010, partly as an outlet and partly as a writing project and partly to help people. I wanted to write the kind of thing I would have liked to read sixteen years ago, so that people who stand where I stood then wouldn’t feel as alone as I did.

The blog’s a big deal in my life, and getting bigger. More and more, writing and talking about this issue is What I Do, so it makes sense to be up front about it.

The Name

Until today, I’ve written under a pseudonym, Steve Gershom. “Steve” was because “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, ha ha. “Gershom” was partly an inside joke with my mother (which she can tell you about in the comments if she wants to), and partly because Gershom means “stranger” in Hebrew, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like a stranger. Plus I like how it sounds.

Why the pseudonym? I wanted to be free to be as candid as possible, and I wasn’t ready to do that under my own name. It will probably still be weird to talk about such personal stuff in public. I think and hope I’m doing it for the right reasons, and not just to be some kind of exhibitionist, but I can’t be sure.

I also didn’t want people to know I was gay. I was ashamed of being gay, because I had been taught to be ashamed; even though it doesn’t make sense to be ashamed of something you didn’t choose, and even though it’s just one among very many weird things that can happen to ordinary human beings.

I was also scared that the people in my life, especially the men, would start to keep their distance, or pity me, or see me as Different, or not want to hug me anymore ever, or just generally be weirded out.

The Blessing

The main reason I’m not ashamed or scared anymore is the way my friends have treated me since I told each of them. You people are such a blessing to me. I mean Jamey T. and Ben L. and Amos H. and Matt D. and John C. and Josh L. and John P. and Becca L. and Rosaleen T. and Berna S. and Ellen T. and Phil S. and Mike S. and Pete C. and Matt J. and John M. and Gregg W. and Richard R. and Jon G. and, and, and…! You see how blessed I am, probably not even to be able to remember (although I really hope I did) all of the people who have shown me earth-moving amounts of love. I don’t know if half of you understand half of what you’ve done for me, but I’ll be grateful for you till the day I die, and after.

(A special thank you goes out to Simcha Fisher, who is my favorite blogger and my inspiration in seventy different ways and also, incidentally, my sister, and Leila Miller, who posted the piece that started it all.)

I guess the only thing I’m still worried about is — laugh if you want — that this might hurt my chances with the ladies,

strongbad-in-the-shower

because (if you need a label), you could call me basically gay with some straight tendencies, or basically straight with some gay tendencies, or bisexual, or Same-Sex Attracted, or a Kinsey 4 (ish). Whatever. I just mean to say that I don’t think it’s impossible that I’ll end up married to a woman. But if that’s the case, then we’re going to have to talk about this anyway, so.

The Real Bombshell

You probably know this already, but I’m celibate, because I’m Catholic. You will not hear me talking about When Oh When Will The Church Get With The Times, because that kind of talk is boring nonsense. Guys, the whole point of having the Church is having one thing, just one!, that you can depend on to always be the same. Thank God for that.

If you want a church that constantly changes to fit in with whatever’s fashionable this decade, there are a bazillion options, and you’re bound to find one that is custom-tailored to your particular set of prejudices. Happy shopping.

It’s actually harder to come out as celibate than to come out as gay. Various people have pitied me, or tried to convince me that my life is vewwy vewwy sad, or tried to talk me out of it, or even surreptitiously tried to set me up with their gay friends. If you do this shit, I will not spin-kick you in the face, but I will very badly want to.

I’d also prefer that you not go “Hey but have you heard about this reparative therapy thing,” because I have, and I have my own thoughts about all that, which I’d be happy to discuss with you.

If you think I’m wrong to take this position, that’s okay, and I’d be super happy to talk with you about that too, preferably in person and over a few beers. But remember that I believe what I believe because of sixteen years of debate, reflection, prayer, study, and hard work; and also remember that I love the Church so very much, and I don’t like it when people badmouth her, especially if all they know is what they’ve read in HuffPo and the New York Times. Puh-leez.

The Word

Some people have a problem with the word “gay”. That’s okay; I get it. I have a problem with it too. I’ve written a little about that. It’s not a perfect word, but words are like that. You have to know the context. My life is the context. Get to know me first, and then we can argue about it.

The Followup

There’s just no way I can cover everything in this post, so please talk to me! Ask me questions. It would be very hard to make me feel awkward, and if I’m not comfortable answering something, I’ll just tell you. I’d really love to hear from you, and hearing from you will help me freak out a little bit less today.

I’m being public about this, not because I need everybody to talk nonstop about my sexuality, and not because I think every gay person has some sort of duty to tell everyone just how gay they are, but because I believe that homosexuality shouldn’t be a Super Secret Scary Thing That Nobody Can Know About. This is my way of trying to bring that about.

Peace and prayers,

Joey Prever

joey

This post is dedicated to and under the patronage of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, aka Edith Stein, whose feast day is today. Dear Edith, I don’t know you terribly well, but I am asking for your special protection today, because it’s your day and you know what’s up.

474 thoughts on “Yoiks, and Away!

  1. Jill

    This is an article I’d like to find again in the future and reread. Very helpful.

    Now, my question would be to ask how you were able to hang on to your Catholic faith and still accept your SSA. It’s inspiring that you did and have. Were you ever tempted to leave? Were you heavily burdened by ‘Catholic guilt’? How did God carry you through?

    Reply
  2. Justin

    Joey,

    It took a lot of courage to do what you did. More than I have, although as you experienced, I’ve experienced more support and understanding than rejection. I pray that your courage bears fruit and makes you a more compelling witness. I echo the person who said you were awesome.

    Reply
  3. Chris P

    I, too, am a gay Catholic trying to live chaste.

    As I read through your blog, I have been saying, “how in the HELL did he get inside my head?”

    Reply
  4. Chris Mirus

    Ellen forwarded your post–thanks! Two of my favorite novels are Brideshead Revisited and The Power and the Glory. I don’t claim to be fully accurate (I’ve read each only once), but the vision I resonate with is this. To look at things with the eyes of Christ is to gaze at them with a burning and purifying love in one’s eyes. This love is so powerful that it sees good where others see only evil, and simultaneously burns away everything that is not as it should be. To me, your provocative use of the term “gay” invites us to look at SSA with this kind of love. Yes, an attraction to homosexual acts is intrinsically disordered. But, for comparison, is a faithful, straight priest’s attraction to women necessarily an attraction toward sexual acts? Or is it rather a gift and a vocation–an opportunity to rejoice in the goodness of God’s creation? To complete the parallel: is SSA always and forever an attraction to homosexual acts? Or might it become, through the purifying love of Christ, a visceral yet no less holy joy in the beauty of one’s own gender? Might a JP/SG end up, through grace, with a privileged perspective on what it is to be a man?

    Such would be a vision so easily distorted as to be impossible without complete reliance on grace. But God seems to delight in scandalizing the faithful by turning up everywhere we think he should not be. He is the Lord, and there is no other. He cares very much about holiness, and hence about sin, but he does not care one whit about our fine sensibilities, our holier-than-thou aesthetics, or our priggishness.

    Reply
  5. TnConvert

    Thank you for your courage. How I wish that all who call themselves Catholic would love Christ and His Church so truly as to be faithful to the teachings He has given her. You are setting a great example. May God bless you!

    Reply
  6. Angela

    You afered to answer questions and this one has been bothering me for a year. We have a lesbian couple down the street and my kids play with their kids we are all on friendly terms. I have talked to my kids about what we believe as Catholics and stressed the “love” them. They are very conservative, meaning they do not flaunt or talk about their relationship (they are both phys. ed teachers so I assume they know how important it is to be discreet just like any person should be around kids) Anyway, the conversation never comes up. But I feel like there is an elephant in the room…I do not know if I should tell them my belief because the Bible tells us to tell a person when they are sinning. But I assume they already know this, do I really need to go over it with them? Am I leading them to believe it is fine to live this life style? I am I giving them false witness of the Catholic faith? If you can’t tell, I am afraid of hurting them and our relationship. There is so much false accusing of Catholics hating gay people. I do not hate them. I do not know if I will get your reply from this page if you want to answer please email me. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Joey Prever (Steve Gershom) Post author

      Hi Angela,

      It seems to me that if you are the one to bring it up, you can’t help doing more harm than good. My own policy in this sort of situation is to frankly and gently say what I believe on the subject, if and only if I am asked about it.

      JP

      Reply
      1. David from San Francisco

        Amen, Joey, and you’re right. It’s never a good idea to give unsolicited advice. If someone wants your opinion, they’ll ask. I’d suggest offering prayers for the couple down the street, asking God to work in their lives. Maybe you could purchase a prayer card, and, as a family, give it to them, as a family.

        Reply
  7. Bob

    Congrats!
    I too am like a you, a gay Catholic man that has decided to live a celibate and chaste life. I am 49 now, and lived as an out and active gay man from the age of 22 to 41. After many years of dealing with gay men and the gay community I came to the conclusion that something wasn’t “right”. What exactly that means is way too difficult to explain, but I just felt like I would only find my true peace by turning to God. I found out that Jesus was the only one who truly loved me, and only through Him would I find happiness. Trying to explain that to the our modern world is a waste of time…the world does not understand. The world is caught up in seeking pleasure as a way to be happy…and I found this just didn’t cut it. Anyway, nice to see someone else out there like myself…God is smiling down on you, for you have chosen the narrow road. It’s a tough journey, but in the end you will get your reward. Keep your chin up, stay strong, and pray alot, and God will take care of you!

    Reply
  8. Maria Tov

    I’m a lesbian for so long and hasn’t come out yet, only a few people know about this. Close friends. Not even my own parents know. I’ve had a relationship with my ex-girlfriend for 3 three years and just broke up last year because I choose to love Jesus more than her.

    God said that we should live by the spirit not the flesh. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I choose to see sexuality as needs of the flesh. Am I wrong? I wanted to confess this sin in confessions, but I’m not brave enough to do so. What should I do? How should I do it? Should I tell my parents? Should I come out at all? I’m just too afraid to do anything.

    Reply
    1. Maria

      My heartfelt advice to you, Maria Tov, is to make a sincere act of contrition and go to Confession… Remember it is Jesus, through His minister, the priest, who hears you, forgives you, and embraces you. Only Jesus will give you the peace and the courage you need to live a holier life and become the person He created you to be. I will be praying for you, Maria, and trust that you will be fine once you confess and receive Holy Communion. God bless you! +

      Reply
    2. David from San Francisco

      If you wanted to tell someone, maybe tell your parents in private. Only to get them off your back with the introductions to eligible men. Especially since you’ve dedicated yourself to God. Tell them the other way “I’m not attracted to men”. Put it in positive. But there’s no need to do so, unless you feel strongly about it.

      Reply
  9. Tracy Spenst

    Joey, I have to say that you have been one blogger I can read and say, “Finally! A gay person who understands and has the courage to live it!” I think SSA is one of the hardest crosses a person can bear and I have unending respect for your willingness to share with us what it’s like and how we can help lighten the load.

    God Bless.

    Reply
  10. Susan

    I am very touched by what you shared. I work with a number of gay people who are very vocal about the current trends, and as a Catholic I often feel defensive. I never knew a gay person who is brave enough to live their faith, and you have given me much encouragement. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Emma

    I’m confused! I’m putting myself in the place of a woman who’s been dating you, and imagining how I would react to your post. You’re 40%/60%?? What does that mean? You say that you have contemplated marriage as an option in the future, so, let’s pretend for a moment, that I’m *the* one. How would you convince me that I am not going to be replaced and that our marriage will be your priority? You’ve very eloquently stated what it is that you want : however, I know someone who had a miserable childhood because their father, who thought he could live in a heterosexual marriage, one day just couldn’t. No consideration for the children and how that effected them. No consideration for his wife. You say that you have spiritual advisors. They’ve probably addressed this with you. I’m sure that you’ve thought of this. I hope that you have. It’s commendable that you’re being open, but it seems that what you’ve said here is all about what you want and how it’s influenced your life. My concern is how it could possibly hurt others in the future. Marriage is about as intimate as it gets and has the potential to hurt on such a deep level. So, what would you say to me? A potential wife and mother of your children?

    Reply
    1. Tommy

      Hi Emma,

      Mixed-orientation marriages (where one spouse is homosexual and the other is not) are very possible. As someone who’s in one, I’d like to encourage you (and Joey) to think of them as a special gift of God. My wife knew all about my orientation while we were dating. It’s certainly been a complicating factor in our marriage, but not any more serious than other problems “normal” marriages face. I’ve written about it some on my blog (link above) if you’d like to hear more. But I strongly believe that, given the right two people, mixed-orientation marriages can be a beautiful picture of God’s love and grace, just as much as any other marriage.

      Reply
  12. Carol La Salle

    I applaud your honesty and will pray for you. You have a difficult road but then all of us have some kind of obstacles.

    Keep praying and asking God for help, He will never desert you, never!

    Reply
  13. kathleen

    Thank you for your post. It may help me in the future if a discussion should come up among family and friends. I think our wonderful Holy Father Francis will help with this discussion too. I believe, as you do, in all the teachings of our Holy Catholic Church. May God richly bless you and Our Lady keep you in her Immaculate Heart.

    Reply
  14. Rachel

    God bless you and love you. I love your love for God and His perfect Will and the beauty of His creation: you, exactly as you are, as He created you, ever striving to love and obey His perfect Will, depending entirely on His Merciful Love.

    Reply
  15. Gessie

    Hi, Joey!
    I have been reading your blog for some time, and have always appreciated your honesty and candidness about your trials as a person with SSA. By the way, you are absolutely right about it being difficult to be celibate in a world that encourages, rather aggressively, the use (and abuse) of one’s body as a way to find happiness, among other things. I, like yourself, lead a celibate life, and it has been the most liberating thing that has happened to me in…forever! Despite my heterosexuality, I have encountered many “friends” that are not able to understand, or simply refuse to understand, that you do things out of love! And gain, like yourself, I am celibate due to my love for the Church, which translates into my love for the Father. Thank you again so much for your sincere words and your humor. God bless you.

    Reply
  16. Ellen

    Joey, thanks for your honesty and humility. Your love for the Church is inspirational. And I too love Daffy Duck. That bit pretty much describes all of us.

    Reply
  17. Josh

    Thank you for your honesty and courage. Our world today doesn’t want to hear much about the virtues of celibacy and the crosses that we all have to bear, and your brave words will bear much-needed fruit for the world and for our Church.

    Reply
  18. Denny

    I guarantee your courage will help many to tackle their own vices with a renewed strength. You are truly showing an example of strength, of true manhood that many, both men and women can learn from. I pray for you to continue to be a light!!!

    Reply
  19. Rocky

    I’m sorry, but homosexual behavior is sinful. Trying to get me to accept that by insisting you’re ok with being Catholic and gay ignores one very big fact. God calls it a sin. If you disagree with what Paul plainly writes in the scriptures concerning this than I question your faith.
    Now, I want you to understand me clearly. This doesn’t mean I love you any less as a person. In fact, I would question anybody who says they never sin. The important difference here is this…are you accepting your sin as being ok with God…or…are you looking to God for deliverance from it.
    Here’s another way to look at this…Jesus said, “if you have faith as small as a grain of mustard seed you would say to the mountain be cast into the sea and it would be done for you”.
    Now any mountain (obstacle, issue, sin) can be dealt with in one of four ways, 3 are they way we humans tend to do, the 4th is God’s way.
    1) Accept the mountain as God’s will. This ignores the Lord’s prayer “God’s will be done on earth just as it is in heaven”. You want to know if it’s God’s will, a good place to start is see if that’s something that would exist in heaven!
    2) Try to climb the mountain. This is where most people get hurt. They try to solve this on their own. If you’ve ever been mountain climbing it’s hard work that requires intense concentration and dedication, and still there is great risk of getting hurt. Most all of us would never male it to the summit of Everest, and if we did it would be at great effort and peril.
    3) go around the mountain. Avoidance is the most often talked and practiced solution. We see it in trying to avoid sin by avoiding the temptation. Addicts practice this by staying aware from associations to their addictions. Unfortunately, when we avoid the mountain, we find the mountain is still always there! It is always in the background, nearby, or sometimes right back in front of you. Avoidance is not deliverance!
    4) Which brings me to God’s way. ‘He (Jesus) healed them with a Word’. When Jesus says, have faith – say to the mountain, here is what He is talking about. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word. Let every word be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. First thing to do is ask God to send His word of healing to you. It most likely is a word you either do not like and probably don’t even associate with your mountain. Why? Because there is a lie you believe and since you believe it you don’t recognize it as a lie. Once we hear that word we need to chew on it, allow God to illuminate us on what it really means as opposed to the lie we thought it meant. Then on hearing it that would will become faith and we will be able to say to the mountain be cast into the sea and it will be done.
    I’ve experienced this in my own walk with Christ. For 15 years I smoked. I desperately wanted to stop. Tried everything (climbing the mountain) from patches to gum to just going cold turkey (avoidance). None of it worked. I diligently prayed and after many months finally heard God telling me ‘obedience’. Up till this point I had always seen obedience as ‘sit, beg, roll over’. When I tried studying obedience the answer wasn’t coming, I just didn’t get it. I prayed that and the Lord sent somebody (a ministry I accidentally tuned into on TV, and one I actually didn’t like!) to explain it all to me. I basically walked away realizing that obedience is a choice! I can choose my wisdom or God’s. Kind of a no brainer when put that way.
    I can only pray that you will hear these words and realize that you do not have to be a slave to this lie that you have elected to believe. I can only pray you’ll ponder these words, go to God and get your answer from Him. The scripture says, (Isaiah 1) come let us reason together say the Lord, though your sins be like scarlet I will make them white as wool! Reason with God, stop reasoning with yourself and others…get your answer from Him. He wants to help you to have a better, more complete life.

    Reply
    1. Joey Prever (Steve Gershom) Post author

      Dear Rocky,

      I read the first sentence of your comment, and then I didn’t bother to read the rest, just like you did not read most of what I wrote. It’s very clear that you’re responding to something I never said.

      Peace,
      JP

      Reply
    2. Cesare

      Hello! Did you read carefully? He is not acting out on his inclinations for homosexual experiences because he is faithful to the teachings on chastity. We all have a bent towards sin due to concupiscence; we all struggle and seek after salvation with fear and trembling. One is not condemned for an inclination towards sin, only for their sinful actions. In fact it is often in overcoming the greatest temptations that we achieve a closer relationship with Christ. Celibacy means refraining from sexual behaviors, so a person with same sex attraction who doesn’t engage in sex in not sinning just the same as a person with an internet porn habit who avoids porn isn’t sinning.

      Reply
    3. ECS

      Hey there…I found your blog through Blackstone films and their documentary unnatural law good family friend of ours. I commend you for what you are doing and having the courage to speak your testimony will help many with SSA … know ROCKY….I couldn’t help myself…but your post was obviously mal informed ….yes the sexual act itself acting it out is sinful. Just as two non married heterosexual people having sex outside the confines of marriage is a sin…but being tempted is NOT a sin…succumbing to that temptation is…I.e. I may be very angry with someone and want to hurt that person but I don’t is that a sin because I’m tempted ??? NO…Jesus himself was tempted by Satan was that sin…no. the church who loves all clearly states that homosexual act itself is by nature disordered …yes and the action g out on that disorder is a sin..BUT the church says that one with SSA who is living a celebate life is NOT sinning…just as a married man in a heterosexual marriage may be attracted to another woman is the attraction a sin? No but if he acted out on it and cheated on his wife then yes a sin….we all have crosses to bear …we are all faced with vices…we are all tempted…we will fall at times but our Lord is merciful and wants to forgive……the other thing is when we are tempted to sin what master will we choose as we can’t serve both….if you read the post fully….this very brave man loves the Lord and His church more then his own self…more then his own desire….be is ready to pick up his cross and follow the Lord even if it means that he must deny himself…die to himself… and he should be commended for that…embraced and loved…so in the most loving way i can say before you pick up the keyboard to type your advice read the entire post and fully understand before you open your mouth..
      Peace to you all.
      God bless you for your blog….keep up the great work..we need brave knights like you fighting for the truth and for the kingdom of God …

      Reply
  20. kneeling catholic

    Hello Steve!

    what does ‘gay’ mean?

    It can mean a)’flaming’-naked-San-Francisco-sex-float-parader.
    It can mean what you say it does. b) an inexperienced virgin who thinks he might be a homosexual. or c) something inbetween

    To publicly own such a un-understood term seems to me to be inviting misunderstanding and, indirectly, scandal. i.e. lightly tiptoeing out of the-closet instead of doing it like, say, Ellen. Certainly you did not intend it that way, but one of the reasons the Church has private confession is that only priests are equipped to hear scandalous things without being scandalized. or even semi-scandalous things.

    Reply
    1. Joey Prever (Steve Gershom) Post author

      Dear Kneeling Catholic,

      I’m sure you didn’t mean to be condescending when you implied that I “think I might be” homosexual. I also assume you were not trying to be condescending by calling me an “inexperienced virgin”.

      Nevertheless, these were condescending things to say. This is not a good way to talk to someone who has thought deeply about the question for a long time, and most people will not hear what you have to say to them if you talk this way.

      Peace,
      JP

      Reply
    1. Jude

      to kneeling catholic- I understood what you said and I didn’t find it condescending at all….My dear old friend just told me that her son was gay and I shut my mouth because I didn’t know what that meant to her and she knew I had had gone back to our childhood Catholic faith 100%. She said her son can be very sarcastic when t comes to this subject. I still shut my mouth. I know what it means to me in the teaching of the catholic church but the word can be very offensive and scandalous and scary because they really hate anyone who disagrees with their gay rights. So, it is a word that connotes sin in these days and I would avoid it. Just saying….

      Reply
  21. John

    I converted to Catholicism after years being afraid and self-loathing after a childhood sexual encounter, and having become as a teenager addicted to gay porn. I have tried to convince myself before that my attraction is entirely heterosexual, and though I think I am healing it would be rash to consider myself completely free of that perversion. Thank you so much for your post. You are not alone. I want to witness with you, that there is another option in chastity in Jesus Christ, an alternative to a perverse life of homosexual activity and the emptiness of alienating oneself from fellow man and woman, failing to love either one as we should. Thank you again, and let us pray for our fellows who struggle with the same.
    Happy feast of the Assumption!
    Mary Queen of Heaven, pray for us!
    St. Theresa, pray for us!
    St. Rafael, heal us!

    Reply
  22. Amanda

    I have been reading your blog for a while and it has given me great insight to working with teens who are gay. Thank you for your powerful ministry and I’m looking forward to your continued blogging.

    Reply
  23. Denny

    Rocky, JP is not promoting homosexual behavior. Just the opposite, he is openly explaining a personal vise, identifying a very difficult cross he is carrying, and he is carrying it the way our Lord asks all of us. In his case, he is choosing chastity.

    He is in line with our Catechism which states, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (2347).

    And going a step farther, he is helping others who are in the same boat by putting his personal trial out there, courageously humble, and defeating pride at its very root.

    Reply
  24. Liberal Catholic

    There is hope out there. Not every one will turn away or pity you. You have done a very brave and difficult thing. God loves you no matter who you are. Be your self. Don’t let the bigoted people try to change you. Because they cannot. I wish people would stop saying chaste or chastity.

    Reply
      1. Liberal Catholic

        Doesn’t it mean they can’t have marry or have sexual intercourse just because they are gay? I might be saying wrong. Do you know a better definition of the word? That would be great if you did.

        Reply
        1. Bridget

          The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2337, defines chastity thus: “Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.

          The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.”

          Chastity does *not* mean the absence of sexual activity.

          Reply
  25. Mary

    Yay! I’m so glad to meet the real you! My sister and I have been following your blog for some time and think it’s totally badass. Your reflections about life and holiness are great for all of us to hear, as we all struggle to overcome the disordered desires we are born with (we all have them!). Thanks for being brave and honest and know that you are definitely, absolutely making a difference in the world!

    Reply
  26. john

    congratulations on taking another step towards fully integrated, healthy sexuality! i was where you were 20 years ago, although my “celibate stage” lasted only 12 years. for now, chastity will provide you with a degree of safety and comfort. you need that when you open up about being gay and begin to shed the notion that you have some sort of illness or disease. eventually, you might come to a different conclusion about whether God really gets all upset over gay people falling in love with each other (i mean, it’s not as if not doing it is going to prevent more people from becoming gay or doing it is going to make anyone gay). may God protect and guide you. peace.

    Reply
  27. D

    I got so used to thinking of you as “Steve.” This whole Joey name will take getting used to.
    However, you look mostly how I pictured you. That’s cool.

    Reply
  28. Scott

    Wednesday, August 14th, 2013–Dear Mr. Prever: Thank you for the charity, dignity and fidelity with which you discuss this delicate matter. I am a 49 years old gentleman, who is in the exact same situation as you…with the exception that; only confessors are aware of my “same sex attraction.” It gives me some “piece of mind” to know that I am not alone in: my hate for the sins, but love for The Church. Mr. Prever, I shall remember you in my prayers; please, do likewise for me.–Gratefully yours, Mr. Carlson

    Reply
  29. Mike Kristan

    A real hero figure, my friends, and a man that wants to be a saint. God bless you Joey for your courage, not to say you are gay, but for the struggle you go through to hang on to your connection to Christ. A VERY worthy struggle in deed!

    Reply
  30. Mike Kristan

    By the way, is the rock at the end of the cartoon the Church? I have always envisioned that to be the case for all us sinners out here. Loved it! We either accept the firm foundation or beat the snot out of ourselves while denying the obvious; Rock beats scissors…

    Reply
  31. mikell

    What’s Rocky drinking? I’ve been in the closet all my life and I too thought I could marry and I did. I had 4 great children and a wonderful wife. But I realized after she died that she never had the really great life she deserved. I so wish she had married someone else. We don’t have the right to hurt others by trying to be something we’re not. I pray she will forgive me. Still in the closet, celebate, and trying to do my best. Thanks Steve.

    Reply
  32. Anne

    Joey…Thank you for your blog and for this post. Your courage and your faithfulness are inspirational.
    May God bless you! (<– And I mean that in the non-cliche way).

    Reply
  33. Nicodemus

    You have chosen to walk the narrow road with Christ, a difficult and oft unpopular choice.

    Thank you, sir. Well chosen. I’m sure you know these things, but if you’ll indulge me these meager encouragements that I have to offer:

    God loves you so much. He walks with you every moment of every day, in every triumph and struggle. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you, and through Christ all things are possible. I have no doubt that He will continue to build you up and use you as an instrument in His hand, to His glory and to the edification and salvation of others.

    May God bless you always, brother, and the work of your hands.

    Reply
  34. Liberal Catholic

    Any way, Joey. Never mind what about chaste life. But I still don’t know what that means. You are very normal and I support you. The Catholic Church is suppose to be open to every body. If I were a priest, you would be welcomed to my church no matter who you are.

    Reply
    1. Maryam

      Hi Liberal Catholic,

      Chaste simply means not having sex. All unmarried Catholics are called to be chaste. The Catholic Church holds that all sex should take place within a marriage between a man and a woman, so anyone who is not in that marriage is called to chastity. As marriage is a life-long commitment, if my husband were to be imprisoned for 20 years, I would also be called to a chaste life.
      I hope this helps.

      Reply
      1. Mary Morstan

        MaryAm,
        “Continence” or “Abstinence” means not having sex; ‘Chasity” means the right-ordered use of sexual faculties. Single chaste people would abstain from sex; married chaste people are called to have sex as part of their divine vocation.

        Reply
  35. Olivia

    Hey, Liberal Catholic and Maryam,
    “Not having sex,” or abstinence, is part of chastity for a single person, but there’s quite a lot more to the meaning of the word than just that. Every person, whatever their state in life, is called to be chaste. The Catechism defines it as having ultimately to do with integrity (starting at 2337 and continuing):

    “Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. …

    The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.

    Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. ‘Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.’

    Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. ‘Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.’” (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm)

    It goes on from there, but you get the idea — it has to do with one’s understanding of self and relationship with others. For a single person it includes abstinence, but for every person, regardless of their state in life, it means treating people with dignity and respect and never viewing/treating others as a means to an end, not dressing provocatively, maintaining appropriate boundaries in relationships, not viewing pornography, etc., and requires growth in virtue and prayer to live it well. I’d suggest looking back at older posts — Joey has written a lot about what this has meant for him, particularly as a person with SSA.

    Thanks for all you’ve shared, Joey! God bless! :)

    Reply
  36. Tom

    I like what you say, and it is important for people like you to say it. The public discourse is so limited, unless you really start poking around. It’s like “gay” and “straight” are zoological categories as hopelessly different as crocodiles and kangaroos. Moral interpretations of sexuality and moral freedom itself are not permitted to play a role. Desire is always right. But that, of course, is nonsense and an insult to human dignity. I myself am a “Kinsey 3″, I suppose, but I would never label myself “gay,” or for that matter “straight.” I am a child of God and free to choose how I deal with my desires. Heck, I’m even free to take up my cross and follow Him, and learn what it means: “my yoke is easy, my burden is light.”

    Reply
  37. Lindsey

    Hi Joey! Wonderful post! I support you and pray for you! Are you seriously Simcha’s brother? This is fantastic and excellent news, as both of you are already a couple of my favorite bloggers.

    Mary, our blessed mother, pray for us!

    Reply
  38. Monica A

    God be with you, friend! Just met a priest this week who is trying to hang in there and uphold the wisdom of the Church in the face of mounting opposition, and found out that he has never met a person living with SSA who actually appreciated and embraced the wisdom of the Church. So your blog and the writings of others like Dan Mattson, David Prosen, and David Morrison are so critical.

    With Dan, together you say regarding the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, “I view it as freedom, where joy resides, and I want to share that with other people….I want to be a voice that says, ‘Wait a minute. The Church’s teaching is good news. On every level.’ It’s motivated by God’s love for us.” (http://www.dioceseoflansing.org/how_dans_faith_journey_led_him_to_the_catholic_church)

    Perhaps the best thing about this post though is the fact that your real identity was never that obscure anyhow! You look just like your cartoon drawing! (Also great to see that you’ll be in Unnatural Law! Just found you on their Facebook page.)

    Reply
  39. Mary V

    Joey, the grace with which you address the negative posts is commendable.
    In respose to Mikell, try to not to beat yourself up about past mistakes. Your wife’s cross is one that I can identify with, trust me, she is now reaping the rewards of carrying that cross without complaint…

    Reply
  40. Emma

    @Mikell….I have to share a little of my own history with you. My own parents were heterosexual, unmarried. I haven’t seen my own father since I was four yrs. old. My mother was physically, emotionally abusive. I had a horrible childhood. I met my husband when I was 16. We never dated, not in what is normally considered “dating “. We were friends, very good friends. The kind of friends that could be open with each other about everything and anything. I had quite a few friends who questioned our friendship and his sexual orientation (classical pianist, celibate) . Quite a few who wondered why I was wasting my time on someone who I wasn’t hooking up with. Simple. We were friends. He is the one person that I trust to listen, to be there. When we talked about marriage and family and faith, it was because we were friends that we could voice our beliefs with each other and be completely honest with each other. When we decided to get married, we did so not because we were “in love “. We did so because we had a deep friendship, because we shared our faith and wanted a family and because we both believe that true love is not a feeling, but action. I did, after being pressured by friends, ask him very directly “Are you gay? ” I asked him because he kept his hands to himself. That is a sad statement re. our concept of what love is, don’t you think? “If you love me, you’ll be stripping off my clothes to prove it! ” His answer, “I respect you.” That meant more to me than how hot he thought I was. Because, until then, I never respected myself. So. Now. Married, a small son. Married to my best friend. Your wife, God bless you, stayed with you. Don’t hurt her memory by saying you wish she’d married someone else. One of the most important things to me re. my marriage, is how good a father my husband is. I would be so unhappy to hear him say “You should have married someone else.” I would never want to think that our marriage caused him grief, when it has given me so much more than a “hook up “! I only asked Joey what I did because I believe that marriage is a lifetime commitment. A conscious choice best made between two people who are not afraid to talk about benefits and pitfalls openly and are equipped to ask the hard questions of each other. Romance is great, but marriage is about making hard choices and about trust. I would hope that if Joey comes to that point, he would pray, yes. More importantly, that they would pray together! That’s what makes my husband and I strong. When things get confusing, we hit our knees, join hands and pray…together.

    Reply
  41. george02

    What a step to remember!. Thanks for this. Courageous, enlightening and helpful as Matt.
    (And just to put a humor touch: thanks God you are not very handsome, I can go ahead reading your posts with peace of mind..ha ha.)
    Thanks again Steve Joey.

    Reply
  42. JAC

    Joey
    As a 45 yr old man with a large blended family I just want to let you know that your blog is serving a purpose greater than u probably realize and it is more than simply the perspective from which you write. In your words I gain clarity over what the love of Christ truly means to all of humanity. I know that sounds kind of heavy but I believe it. So thank you for being open to His call and rest assured my prayers and the prayers of my family are with you. Could I humbly ask you offer some up for us?
    PAX
    JAC

    Reply
  43. Anthony S. Layne

    I follow your sister, and I loved your mom’s piece on the AHC website, “It Only Hurts When I Stop Laughing”. Anybody else in your family write? It seems you all have a marvelous gift for presenting the faith with a twinkle in your eyes.

    Reply
  44. In Veritas

    Joey,
    For many years I too have dealt with homosexual attractions. What really freed me up was realizing that I didn’t have to be ashamed of being attracted to other women. The only way I would offend God is if I chose to dwell on the attraction or act on it. So basically I’ve come to the same place you’re at, and I’m so happy there are other Catholics out there like me. I don’t believe homosexuality is a choice, but I believe that choosing to live chastely or unchastely is. Thanks for this beautiful, thoughtful post- God bless you and keep you always.

    Reply
  45. Lily

    What an amazing witness! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as thoughtful and honest as this. Sharing with some friends as we speak.

    Reply
  46. Jude

    I am reading MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD online at SacredHeart.com – Book 6, Chapter 10 titled The Victory of Christ over Hell – one paragraph reads–PERVERSIONS AT CONCEPTION – Some of the devils charged themselves with perverting the inclinations of children at their conception and birth; others to induce parents to be negligent in the education and instruction of their children, either through an inordinate love or aversion, and to cause a hatred of parents among the children. Some offered to create hatred between husbands and wives, to place them in the way of adultery, or to think little of the fidelity promised to their conjugal partners. All agreed to sow among men the seeds of discord, hatred and vengeance, proud and sensual thoughts, desire of riches or honors, and by suggesting sophistical reasons against all the virtues Christ has taught; above all they intended to weaken the remembrance of his Passion and Death, of the means of salvation, and of the eternal pains of hell. By these means the demons hoped to burden all the powers and the faculties of men with solicitude for earthly affairs and sensual pleasures, leaving them little time for spiritual thoughts and their own salvation.

    Reply
  47. Julie

    I just can’t get over the fact that you’re Simcha’s brother. Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. I think you have an important story to tell, and I thank you for articulating it. I wish you all the best as you seek holiness.

    Reply
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  49. Jenna

    Thank you for your courage, your honesty, and the way you say things so well. I know it must sound funny to have a total stranger say this, but I admire you. Yours is a voice that needs to be heard.

    My question for you springs from my profession. I’m a high school teacher, and I know that teens can be especially brutal to those trying to figure out a) their orientation and b) what to do about it. Is there anything that someone did for you, or you wish someone had done for you, as a teen (either personally or within your school culture) to make this a less difficult thing to talk about and experience? I want to be as helpful and faithful as I possibly can as I (eep!) influence the lives of these young’uns.

    Reply
  50. Lauren

    OF COURSE you’re Simcha Fisher’s brother! Amazing writing from you both. You are a beacon in the Catholic Church. Prayers for you!

    Reply
  51. Alex

    Yay Joey! Haha had no idea you were related to Ms. Fisher, how cool.

    I suspect I will always be mindful of your blog and patient email exchanges as a critical part of my own spiriual journey. Yours is the first and most prominent example I’ve ever encountered of a fellow gay (proper context, of course) man who has a sound outlook/philosophy/theology and who basically has offered me hope that I’m not a defect, or rather my defects are like anyone else’s weaknesses: something in which God’s power is made perfect. Basically, reading your incredibly relatable thoughts and experiences have not only set me at ease–”oh thank goodness, I’m not the only one”–and also given me a whole lot of inspiration; I’d be mighty proud and happy indeed if I could say I was living my own life in a similar way to how you live yours.

    I’m proud of you! I’ll always be praying for you, and of course reading your superb blog :)

    Reply
  52. WSquared

    Dear Joey, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog from the first time I found it. …and your sister’s ain’t so bad, either. ;)

    Thank you so much for writing. God bless you.

    Reply
  53. Patty

    Hi Joey,
    First time commenter, long time reader! I’m a Catholic youth minister and really really love your honesty in sharing your journey!!! God bless you man:)

    Reply
  54. Sean

    Dear Joey,
    Praise God for your wonderful blog! I’m a psychologist who does some work in reparative therapy and so I’ve come across much of the pain that SSA involves, but also the holiness that it can lead one to as one is faithful to the Church. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  55. Christina Rose

    Joey~ I have always been so impressed by your writing and your openness about your experience. I emailed you once a long time ago when I first discovered your blog. While I don’t usually email authors of blogs, yours really stood out to me as a voice that our society needs to hear from and I appreciate your continued efforts to share the blessings of living out the teachings of the Catholic Church. I have to say that I was very excited to learn that Simcha is your sister…you both are such great writers! Many blessings to you as you continue your journey. I really don’t think this will hurt your chances with the ladies…but if it does that would be their loss! You are in my prayers, thanks again for writing!

    Reply
  56. Karrie

    Wow just from reading a few of your posts I am humbled by your witness. Thank you for your courage in sharing. God Bless

    Reply
  57. Nancy

    As the mother of a daughter who struggles with same -sex attraction, I will keep you in my Prayers and hope that some day soon you will be transformed through God’s Grace and Mercy as you heal your wounds and see yourself as God sees you, a young man who is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect in private as well as in public. The fact is, we all have disordered inclinations, some more difficult to overcome than others, which is why we all need Jesus Christ, our Savior, to begin with. You will be in my thoughts and Prayers. Godspeed!

    Reply
  58. Narcissus Goldmund

    Wow, I stop reading for a couple of months and then big news happens – complete with photos!

    While I have read many of the pros/cons, and am still unsure of the wisdom of labels and widely public self-revelations (hence my ridiculous, but literary! pseudonym), the sociologist in me is curious as to some of the factors that would make this, one doesn’t want to say “easy,” but perhaps more of an acceptable option. Specifically, I was thinking about generational factors and the reality of bullying.

    I contemplate such a decision myself and then realize, I just can’t.

    But if you felt called to this and are happy and at peace, then God bless and keep you.

    Reply
  59. KP

    Wow! I am amazed by your post. I enjoyed reading it and feel you deserve all the support and love in the world. Thank you for giving me some insight!
    I am mainly writing because my brother-in-law has SSA and will be getting “married” to his partner of <2 years and invited my husband and myself to not only attend, but also stand in the wedding (yes there will be an actual Catholic priest there and bible verse readings). We initially said yes, but as we prayed and talked about it (even to our local priest) we felt it would be going against what we believe. We expressed this to both him and his partner and emphasized that we loved them both very much, but could not attend their marriage. Of course they are angry and hurt, but now it seems as if our relationship is more strained than ever before. They emphasized there would be multiple Catholic priest in attendance (I'm not sure of the details) and also that they are both practicing Christians and attend mass together and my brother-in-law is Catholic- they said this as if they were trying to convince us that it would be okay for us to go even though we don't believe in gay marriage.
    It appears that even though we said a million times we love you no matter if you are purple, blue, homosexual, or heterosexual- all they heard was "we are not going to your wedding. we are judging you. we are against you having SSAs. we hate gay people" which of course we do not.
    How do we go about reiterating our love for them while healing this relationship? I would like to write a letter, but fear I will bring more harm than good. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have been praying for a resolve to this and I will keep you in my prayers as well.
    Thanks!

    Reply
      1. Mar

        Joey – I have an experience very similar to KP’s. Actually, it’s more about my mother’s relationship with my sister who is getting married to her girlfriend this coming Monday. Most of my siblings (I have 7) and many relatives are attending this wedding but not my mother (or myself). My mother already told some things to my sister which were spoken more out of emotion than love and it sparked one of my siblings to calling my mom and shouting at her to stop judging.

        I called my sister who is getting married to tell her that I was sorry that I could not come (which is true – it’s sad) and I asked her how she was doing and she told me about the wedding preparations. As she spoke, I kept thinking about how Jesus is interested in the minutest details of our lives and that if I wanted to love her like Jesus, I needed to be happy to hear her talk about details of her life. I “honored” her for her beautiful qualities – her strength, the way she loved and supported me through our father’s illness and death. And then I assured her of my love. I never once said “congratulations” or “I am so excited for you!”. I also didn’t say “I am praying for you” because I know that many people can take that as “you are a bed person so I am praying for you”. She knows where I stand. So far I haven’t heard anything negative coming out of that conversation. I felt peaceful after it.

        My question though is similar as KP’s. How does my mother convey her love for my sister now that she has stated her concern (with too much emotion)? How can she go about healing that relationship as well as with her other children who feel that she is “judging” and not loving?

        Thanks Joey for your courage. I also follow you on Facebook.

        Reply
  60. Bill M.

    At the risk of sounding superficial, I have to laugh at the accuracy of your caricature, now that we know what you look like. It takes talent to draw a decent likeness with an economy of lines.

    Reply
  61. kateri

    Steve I really liked this blog.. and even more so the loony tunes and strong bad references.. Very well done.. My now adult kids and I love Homestar Runner.

    Reply
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  63. Das

    I don’t know if you did a spot of research into her since writing this article (and I don’t know if posting in the past will reach you), but St. Teresa of the Cross was a Jewish woman who converted to Catholicism. As well, she was a teacher. I just thought you might want to know, seeing as there seems to be an interesting correlation between you two.

    Reply
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  65. Susan R

    Steve! Er, Joey!

    I have been following your blog off and on for years. It’s never failed to make me laugh and think deeply. Thanks for being courageous and I hope to meet you someday!

    God bless you!

    Reply
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  67. Mary Morstan

    Steve & All the Thoughtful Commenters,
    Thank you for this blog. I feel so uplifted when I read it; there’s truth, honestly, elegance, humor, and kindness throughout. I’m a mother of many (wonderful) children (I know, mothers are never objective about their children, are they?), and I feel I have so much in common with you and most of your posters because we care about being faithful to God, knowing His love, living chastely this precious life God has given us. You are encouraging so many, many people.

    Reply
  68. savo

    Joey, rest well, knowing your wisdom explains the faith to one as myself with ssa, a bearer also of the good news. God creates to celabrate the love within union of his commands. God Bless you, Savo

    Reply
  69. savo

    Joey/Steven, I am more blessed because your handsomeness is now engaged with the will of my chasity and the comfort of my dreams also rests in peace. Sleep well with a smile to awake the heavens. Enjoy the pun. Savo

    Reply

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