Eventually I learned about straight-acting (or at least straight-looking) gay guys, and I found a way to wrap my head around the idea that I can be gay and yet not end up with plucked eyebrows. (At some point I did start plucking my eyebrows, but that was already me well into my journey to Fag-bulousness. More on that later.)
Having a positive role model that I can emulate was not my only struggle. I had a lot of hurdles to overcome in my journey to becoming comfortable in my own skin. Let me tackle them one by one in a series of episodes here in The McVie Show. Let me call this mini-series, “Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie.”
My struggle to make sense of my faith was fundamental in my development as a person. I had to reconcile my sexual orientation (a homosexual) with my religion (a Roman Catholic).
Part of the problem with religion, especially among us Filipinos, is that we’re brainwashed with it from birth until we start thinking for ourselves. So the struggle is against more than a decade of imposed belief and behavior. Thank god for puberty; for most of us, it’s the time we question things taught to us. Unfortunately for me, I was never the rebellious kind, so my questioning started much later.
I was told that homosexuals were sinners and doomed to damnation. So I had two choices: be a faithful Catholic and stop having sex and falling in love with other guys, or leave the Church’s fold. At that time I wasn’t willing to be a non-believer, but I also didn’t want to become celibate.
My breakthrough happened during my fourth year high school retreat. In agony, I confessed to the Jesuit priest who was hearing confessions about my homosexuality, and I asked him, “Father, am I doomed?” His answer stunned me. He said that while the Church’s current stand on homosexuality hasn’t changed, he personally believed that it was God Himself who made me homosexual, and that He loved me unconditionally. Hearing it from a priest reassured me; maybe, one day my Church will stop looking down on me and my fellow queers.
Eventually I heard of more Catholic priests (not just Jesuits) who privately believed differently even though they publicly towed the Church’s official line. But eventually I got tired of waiting for changes to happen in the Church. And given my increasing disappointment with the Church’s stand on several matters, I decided to drop my religion. Besides, I was non-practicing for quite some time already. I still believe in God, but mine’s different from the Church’s. I still have my faith, even though I lost my religion.
(Up next, Part 2: Let’s Talk About Sex)