An End to the Loneliness! An End to the Loneliness
by Bill Hernandez
Even after I arrived at the “top” of the homosexual lifestyle, Iwas still lonely and unhappy.
As I emerged into puberty, I made a surprising dis-covery: I wassexually attracted to the male body. At first this didn’t disturb me.As a young Hispanic teen growing up in the 1960s, straightening myhair like “The Beatles,” a popular singing group at the time, wasmore important than my sexuality.
In my early teens my dad gave condoms to me and my brother. “Theseare for protection,” he said casually. He asked us no questions; hegave us no instructions. The only other sex education I received frommy dad was watching him gawk at women and listening to hisexaggerated descriptions of the female body.
My mom, on the other hand, was more interested in other aspects ofmale- female relationships. I remember her instructions: “If you takea girl to the movies, she expects you to put your arm around her. Ifyou kiss her, put some muscle into your lips!”
It never occurred to me that I was supposed to be aroused when Ikissed my date. I always felt disinterested, like I was play-acting.Maybe I’m just a late bloomer, I consoled myself.
I was effeminate and everyone frequently reminded me of that fact.I was deeply hurt by names like “queer,” “faggot,” “homo,” “sissy,”and “pansy.” My family kept correcting my effeminate behavior. “Don’tput your hand on your hip,” they’d say. Or they’d insult me withremarks like “I hope your garter doesn’t fall off” when I complainedabout a difficult chore. I got the clear message: Something was wrongwith me.
Finally I realized that people were pointing out my sexualorientation, but in an indirect, cruel way. I did some research,reading medical and psychological descriptions in obscure books in adark corner of the library. My worst fears were confirmed: I was adreaded teenage homosexual!
One day I confessed to my parents: “I think I’m a homosexual.”They were confused and anxious. My father blamed my mom. “I told youthat you should have let me take him to a prostitute!”
“It’s not my fault. It’s your fault,” she retorted. Dad took me toa physician to get male hormone shots but the doctor recommended apsychiatrist. Counseling did nothing more than help me become moreassertive and nasty with my parents.
In secret I continued having homosexual fantasies, never daring totell anyone. Eventually I escaped my family by going to college atU.C. Berkeley.
There, in the fall of 1971, I met a guy from Campus Crusade forChrist who wanted to tell me about Jesus. We met regularly andeventually I prayed on my own to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.At first I got involved in Bible studies and was very interested indiscovering more about the Lord. But, in time, I began drifting in myChristian walk. I got more and more into alcohol and drugs, and feltincreasingly drawn toward homosexual involvement.
One night I got very drunk with a college friend. He admitted thathe was a homosexual. “I’m bisexual,” I confessed, not willing toadmit the full truth. But from that point on, I slid right into thegay lifestyle.
It was mid-1974 when I started going to the bars. I was elated; Icouldn’t believe there were so many people who thought and felt likeme. No one called me names or questioned whether I was normal.Instead, people expressed their attraction to me. The gay life seemedto answer my needs for understanding and acceptance. The “real me”was free at last. I shed about 40 pounds within a few months,literally dancing the nights away with glee, alcohol, drugs, and men.
Right away I found out that I enjoyed affirmation and acceptancemore than sex. My first sexual encounter utterly disgusted me. Ialways had qualms about sex with other men, so I drank alcohol ortook drugs to rid myself of inhibitions. Even after sexual encountersbecame habitual, deep inside they seemed strange and dirty.
I became a bartender at the White Horse Bar in Oakland, Calif., aposition that made me popular and available. I knew many people atthat bar; we were like one big family. Most of the customers werealcoholics and sex addicts looking for a temporary lover. But Iignored the negative aspects of gay social life. I was in “my world”and couldn’t see beyond it.
Within a year, however, the joy faded. I had to work harder atattracting other men. My life was consumed with trying to find “Mr.Right.” At times my chest literally ached from the pain ofloneliness.
I inched my way toward alcoholism and drug addiction. Within ayear of leaving the Lord, I was an emotional wreck. One day I wassitting on the front steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco,watching the fog drift by and writing in my journal: “I really missmy Christian friends. I miss the fellowship and the songs ofworship… “
I was sick of the bar scene. But then “Mr. Right” walked into thebar one night, and I promptly forgot any ideas of leavinghomosexuality. Grant was different than the other men. He wanted along-term relationship with me; he wasn’t just a bar-hopping “discoqueen.”
Grant and I lived together for the next two years. Ourrelationship started out great. We had romantic dinners together,went on long drives, and snuggled a lot in front of the TV. But, overthe coming months, my desires for love, togetherness, and deepcommunication resulted in something unexpected. I craved the securityof that rela- tionship so badly that I compromised my ideas,aspirations, and even my personality to fit the needs of my lover.
I died as a person for the sake of trying to find true love withGrant. We spent time with his friends, but he didn’t like mine. I atethe things Grant liked, and wore his type of clothes. I began cookingand cleaning, taking the feminine “role” in our relationship. Welived in a big mansion with a wet bar that had a view of the street.I used to wait there for Grant to come home from work every evening.It wasn’t unusual for me to sit there waiting anxiously, tears in myeyes, as darkness fell and dinner got cold.
In time I drank more alcohol and took more drugs. I became soemotionally unstable that I began to contemplate suicide. My gayrelationship was drudgery, work was drudgery, life was drudgery.Everything seemed futile. I had a luxurious apartment, steady job,and committed lover. I had reached the “top” of the gay world, but Iwas still lonely and unhappy.
“Lord, pull me out if I get into anything beyond me,” I had prayedright before I went into homosexuality. In His love God was answeringmy prayer. In my lonely times while living with Grant, I beganpulling out my old Bible and reading His promises.
The Lord gave me an objective view of my sexual relationship withGrant. I felt pretty foolish. We had a shallow, twisted imitation ofa heterosexual marriage. “I no longer want you to be an imitator ofyour father or mother,” the Lord told me very clearly “I want you tobe an imitator of me.”
I started to rebel in the relationship. I divided all choresequally, and started going out on my own. “Are you see-ing someoneelse?” Grant asked me one day. “You’re be-having so differently.” Isaid “yes” and told him it was Jesus! He thought I’d gone off thedeep end.
Making the decision to leave my lover was not easy. Even though Iwas convinced that Jesus really lived and a gay lifestyle was wrong,my emotions were still centered on Grant. Facing the prospects ofbeing lonely again and living without sex was a tall order. Eventhough I still lived with my lover, the Lord began convincing me thatHe could meet all my emotional needs.
Through a friend at work, I heard about Love In Action in thespring of 1978. When I joined their support group, I found peoplejust like me. They believed in Jesus and were seeking to leave thegay life. They encouraged me, offering friendship and prayer support.After much thought, I decided to leave Grant.
The day arrived for me to move into the Love In Action program.But when I went to call LIA for a ride, all my resolve andinspiration disappeared. At that very moment, an inner courage fromJesus took over my mind and emo-tions. I made the plunge and calledLIA to come and get me. It was April Fool’s Day!
In the coming weeks, Jesus became real to me in every-day life. Hereminded me of His call on my life: “I want to be your Savior. I wantto be your Master. I want to be your Healer. I want to be yourLover.”
God answered my prayers in a way that made me feel like He wasright next to me. I prayed about finances, and cash came in envelopesand people provided nice dinners. One time I got lost while drivingto someone’s house in a strange town. “Lord, guide me,” I prayed. AsI turned through several streets, I landed up right in front of myfriend’s house!
When I received prayer from others, I felt hands on me-only todiscover that no one was touching me. One time I heard fluttering ofcomforting wings around me during a very stressful part of my returnto the Lord. Even though I couldn’t see Jesus, I knew that He wasreal.
Jesus took my lover’s place. He took my emotional vulnerabilityand surrounded me with His presence. He urged me to leave the gaylifestyle and, as I stepped out in faith, He met me.
I’ve now been out of homosexual activities for over 15 years.Knowing more about Jesus (rather than being “healed”) has beencentral to my Christian walk. I have focused on knowing God, andhealing has followed in all areas of my life. Over the yearshomosexual feelings have faded to a whimper, while heterosexualfeelings have emerged more and more. My new desires are a reminderthat His presence restores in profound ways. Hetero-sexuality hasnever been my goal, however. It’s a by-product of my fascination withthe Lord.
Now, when I’m tempted by anxiety or homosexual thoughts, I askJesus to hold me and tell me that I’m OK. He affirms me withencouraging words and actions through my friends, often on the veryday that I’ve prayed. My friendships with male friends areparticularly strengthening because now I feel like “one of the guys.”
As exciting as personal restoration is, nothing is more wonderfulor as interesting as Jesus. He’s the center of my life now. I’memotionally dependent on Him. He’s as fresh as when I firstencountered Him. My favorite scripture is in Hebrews 13:5 & 8, “Iwill never leave you nor forsake you. … Jesus Christ is the sameyesterday and today, yes and forever.” His promises are true. God hasbeen faithful. I’m no longer lonely because God has healed me by therich fellowship of His presence.
Bill Hernandez was on staff at Love In Action from1978-1985. Today, he is a pastor at the Vineyard Christian Fellowshipof San Francisco, where he directs their Healing Center and ministersto ex- gays through drop-in groups and a “Living Waters” program.Copyright 1993 Bill Hernandez. Distributed by Love In Action, PO Box753307, Memphis, TN 38175-3307.