Jake, in his own words: “My parents are Pastors of a church here in Portland. So I was born and raised with strong religious values all my life; raised in the pew is the term church people use. So as you can imagine, my story is much different than the normal “coming out” stories.
Like many other Christian faiths, I was raised to believe that being homosexual was an abomination and you would burn in hell for it. So understandably, I grew up in fear of ever exposing the feelings I felt about myself (sharing them with anyone was definitely out of the picture). And so over the years, I reluctantly shunned any non-Christian feelings that tried to overcome me and proceeded to live the Christian life as a Christian man. I married the youth pastor’s sister at the age of 22 and settled into, what I thought was, a normal life and began to accept it. Then after a year or so of wedded bliss, we had our first child – a beautiful son. And not long after, my daughter was born. So here I am, a Christian man, from an extremely religious family, married to a woman with children. The happiness and content I displayed with the life I was living was all for my faith and my community, but the suppressed feelings I had hidden deep within myself had wanted to resurface. I knew I was fighting a losing battle and the need to confront them was growing much stronger. I knew that I could no longer live the life that was expected of me, but to live the life I was meant to live – that being, a homosexual man of the Christian faith.
So I came out in 2004.
Being that my parents were Pastors, I was worried about telling them the truth, mainly for fear of rejection and non-acceptance, but they needed to know. And I was willing to accept their reactions.
My dad turned his head in disgust and said to me, “You are not gay.”
My mom cried. She stated that she prayed to God to give her a son, which made me think, so because I am gay I am not your son? I realize now that she was just scared and uneducated about what it means to have a homosexual son. The rest of my family had similar reactions. My older sisters have basically decided to sweep my sexuality under the carpet and blatantly ignore the fact I just exposed. They don’t talk about it, because to them, it’s not true. My little sister, on the other hand, loves me for me. So for now, they are choosing to not accept what I have told them, as hurtful as it is, I did not argue because I know who I am.
And so, having lived the “straight” life for so long… my journey into my real life is just beginning. I moved on from that day, stronger than I was the day before, and now live my life true to myself – as a homosexual, Christian man, father of two beautiful children – exactly as God created me to be.”