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Mark Tobey (1890-1976),

famous artist, dedicated and devout Baha'i, was gay. His life and work were commemorated.. More

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Homosexual Alternative

I became a Baha'i almost literally in a gay bar in 1973 at age 22. I thought at first it was okay to be gay since I had met 2 gay Baha'is. It was some time before I realized that living a gay lifestyle was not in tune with the Faith. I was amazingly willing to accept that. I deepened in the Faith and attempted to obey the rules. I had a couple of minor slips, but I succeeded for about 8 years in what I now know was repression of my feelings. From 18 to 22 when I had been somewhat promiscuous at age 30 I became a sex addict. It caused me a great deal of spiritual pain. There did not seem to be solutions. God was not changing me because I was a Baha'i. I did start counseling in 1986 and briefly I regained control and even married. I began attending Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. Unfortunately I married someone who actually had as many problems as I did, and when the relationship failed as a result of our unresolved problems, I was unable to maintain a Baha'i life. It was extremely painful to believe what I was doing was wrong and doing it anyway. I sought more counseling and made goals I could reach and got successively less out of control. I had worked in alcoholism treatment and got Joseph Nicolosi's book and met Baha'is in Recovery Programs. By early 1989 I achieved choice in my life and continued in counseling, because I needed to know more about who I was, how my family of origin had affected me, improve social skills, and understand feelings.

It has been a painful journey at times. I have not been open about my struggle. I think that appropriate for me. I have had to develop friends with whom I can be open. I have developed meaningful same sex friendships. I became willing to marry again, but have not. I consider myself in recovery. Where there has not been material success in my life, I am happiest about this progress. I feel I have strength and wisdom that nothing else in life would have provided due to this struggle. This can be said to be equivalent to an alcoholic in recovery, though I believe it has been harder, because more of my being been affected. The feelings of attraction are not gone for me. However I accept them, and by doing so I have choices. Fighting these attractions strengthens them. It is an odd mental dance. The Guardian wrote it can be just as hard for a heterosexual to live a chaste lifestyle.

I see gay liberation as the antithesis of the truth about homosexuality, an active form of denial. Giving in to it and attempts at legitimatization are the reverse of the solution. Recovery is so difficult that it is easier to consider homosexuality genetically caused than to work on resolving it. Recovery in all cases is not a cure, though some do very well. However the Baha'i Faith provided the motivation and apparently the spiritual strength for me and others.

My achievement gives me a great deal of comfort and lack of regret. I did not do this alone. I did seek help. Sexual Addicts Anonymous and Al Anon have been of great comfort and help. However assistance has to be sought carefully. The most surprising people, even Baha'is, believe that homoseuxality is genetic or not able to be overcome. I do not believe it is genetic. However even if it is genetic one can be in recovery. One cannot percieve recovery before one obtains it, it is not possible to project all that recovery means or the peace it can bring until it is obtained. At times during attempting recovery one may fail, that is part of the growth process. If ever a process could be described as organic, it has been this path I chose to take one day at a time, letting go and letting God. Cam cam, ruz bih ruz.



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