Blaine is the son of a merciful Heavenly Father, husband to a talented wife, and father of two enthusiastic boys. He is a practicing therapist and singer. Through his experience with same-sex attraction, Blaine has learned that God wants him to be deeply and genuinely happy.
There are few things in my life that I believe with more conviction than that God desires my happiness, and that all things work together for my good. Whatever trials and struggles I have had in my life, I know that ultimately they have been meant to lead to my happiness. Over the years I have come to find that same-gender attraction is no different. With all the trouble and fear it has caused me, I know it has also brought me a level of happiness I never could have reached in any other way. For that I am honestly grateful.
It is interesting to look back at my earliest childhood memories knowing what I know now. The feelings that I felt, what they meant, and how they would impact the rest of my life seemed so scary and complicated to me even from a very young age. There were many things that brought a lot of anxiety to me then that now feel like happy parts of who I am. It is such a testament to the nature of God’s plan of progression. What new insights will I have in my current life when I look back 20 years from now?
My earliest childhood memories largely include time spent playing with my girl cousins and younger sister. As the only boy in the group, an outsider looking in might have just assumed that house and dolls were games I was forced to play because there was no other alternative. It wouldn’t have taken long, however, for an observer to see that I was often the initiator of these types of activities that were stereotypically more feminine. I enjoyed playing dress up, doing makeovers, and baking. I don’t have any specific memory of why I felt shameful about these things, but I remember being very conscious of the fact that I needed to make sure that no boys—including neighbors, my brother, and my dad—should see me doing these things. Every time they did I remember feeling awkward and embarrassed, like I had been caught.
There were a couple of boys in the neighborhood that I played with on occasion, but I remember as young as four and five years old feeling like I was different from them. At the time I felt like my differences were blaringly obvious to them as well, and looking back it probably was apparent to them that I was only pretending to like playing guns and wrestling. Consequently, as so often happens with children, those differences frequently led to me being left out or made fun of. I was blessed at this early age of vulnerability to have older siblings who often came to my rescue (a water balloon/hose attack on kids who had been making fun of me was one such retaliation).
I remember working very hard through my years of elementary school to make sure that I kept as “male” a profile as possible, but this was not always easy. I fell into easy friendships with girls and any attempt at being social with boys made me feel inadequate and awkward. I played in various sports leagues, tried to dumb down my fashion sense by wearing a t-shirt when I really wanted to wear that snazzy sweater that was only for church, and did everything I could to hide the fact that when girls were talking about how cute a certain boy in our class was, I totally agreed with them.
As I look back on my childhood memories I remember specific boys that I had typical childhood crushes on. It is interesting for me to see the pattern I created of admiring a boy, having a confused kind of crush, and ultimately feeling far inferior to him in almost any way that I could observe.
The Teenage Years
I think it is usually the exception when someone has a really great experience in the early years of junior high, but for a boy struggling with feelings of homosexuality, junior high can be truly horrific. It was during these years that my differences really set me apart and the despair and frustration I felt with them was often all-consuming. There were several days when I cried to my mom, asking her to send me to some private Latter-day Saint (LDS) school that I had heard about. I made the naïve assumption that in a different environment I wouldn’t be subject to the teasing and being left out that I was currently experiencing at school. Again, Heavenly Father in his grace gave me siblings and my siblings’ friends with whom I could share my stories. Together we could laugh about how lame kids in junior high were and how someday things would get better.
The later years of junior high and high school brought destructive patterns of pornography. While on the outside I maintained a very “good boy” status with peers and leaders, I secretly hid a growing addiction to pornography, masturbation, and sexual fantasies, all of which were homosexual in nature. How extremely blessed I was, however, to come into contact with amazing friends who, while they didn’t know about the homosexual attractions, allowed me to be as true to myself as I had ever been. Together with these friends (which actually included guys!) I sang in the choir and performed in theater. One of these friends was my future wife, Lindsay Skidmore.
While high school experiences offered some acceptance of my differences, I still felt pressured to participate in discussions about who I “liked” and I often found myself working on having crushes that were more like the general consensus of who I should have a crush on, rather than crushes based on my true feelings. When people thought it would be cute if I went on a date with so and so, I would try to work up a desire to “like” them so that I could please the masses. Most of these attempts were pretty unsuccessful and I know that I left at least a couple of girls feeling confused and frustrated. Lindsay was perhaps the first girl that I remember having a genuine desire to want to have feelings for. For the time being, however, we were very close friends sharing the joys and frustrations of teenage life.
I graduated high school, went to a semester of college, and began preparing for a mission. I had spoken with bishops about my problems with pornography, but I never disclosed that the pornography was homosexual or that I struggled with these feelings at all. Even after having several months free of pornography, I struggled to feel worthy to go on a mission. I felt that my attractions to men made me unworthy from the start, regardless of whatever behavior I engaged in or refrained from. I worked as best I could through these feelings and went on a mission to Taiwan.
To those around me, I’m sure that I appeared to be successful in the mission field. I was learning the language quickly and adjusting to cultural differences but my constant questioning of my personal worthiness became a stumbling block. I worried about my attraction to men making me unworthy, and a sense of perfectionism led to all kinds of anxieties, feelings, and thoughts that tore me down day after day. Once while my companion was getting ready for the day I was sitting at my desk and was shocked when I realized that I had spent all morning thinking about how much better things would be if I were dead. I spoke with my mission president and after a couple days it was decided that I needed to return home to get help for anxiety and depression. For months things were very dark and scary, and although I sought help from a counselor I never discussed my feelings of homosexuality with anyone.
I decided to utilize the amount of Chinese that I had learned and go to China to teach English. This experience was one of the first that gave me a deep understanding of how our trials work together for our happiness. I experienced so much joy and satisfaction at that time in completely different circumstances than I would have been in had I not been sent home early from my mission. It was on a night just a few weeks before I returned home that I wrote in my journal about having same-sex attraction. That was the first time I ever acknowledged outside of my head that these feelings existed for me, and even writing it down on paper was very scary. I realized that I was entering a period of life when these feelings could determine the rest of my future, and I knew that I needed to start making some decisions.
Within a couple weeks of returning home, I shared this journal entry with my parents and then my siblings. All of them were very supportive and loving. I began seeing a counselor, and this time I was more open about my feelings of same-sex attraction. I felt some amount of hope that things could get better. I went to some support groups and learned more about others’ struggles and successes.
Before I left for China, Lindsay and I had dated off and on a little bit. Before we tried dating again I felt impressed to share the journal entry where I had written about my homosexual feelings. Through personal witnesses and relying on the Lord, Lindsay felt prepared for the struggles that were ahead and with confidence she lovingly supported me.
Marriage and Children
With all of the information on the table, Lindsay and I started dating more seriously. It was a strange transition, not only because of struggles with homosexuality but also because we had spent so many years being such good friends. I believe I was encouraged by the Lord to take some of the typical steps in courtship such as holding hands and initiating the first kiss. However, I was often frustrated when these attempts were not as “magical” as I had hoped they would be. I knew how much I wanted to make things work with Lindsay and how much I loved her for the person she was. I was blessed from time to time with strong feelings of attraction toward her until eventually it became natural and easy for me and the awkwardness dissipated.
As friends and acquaintances found out more about our situation, they were often confused as to whether our relationship could really work. It does. I know that I have been extremely blessed to have things work in the way that they did so that my best friend became my wife. It is so wonderful that when times are hard and struggles intensify we are able to talk things out and laugh with each other about the quirks of our life.
Marriage has brought many wonderful things as well as some new and unexpected struggles. I did not believe at any point that marriage would completely take away the attractions I felt toward men, but I had hoped that being sexually active with my wife would diminish them significantly. Contrary to what I had hoped this did not happen immediately. During the first years of marriage I learned the significance of something that someone had told me early on in my learning to cope with same-sex attraction. I was told that the opposite of homosexual activity is not heterosexual activity; it is turning to Christ. I made the assumption that as I engaged more fully in heterosexual activity that my homosexual desires would fade away, but I have seen time and time again that it is not my efforts to life heterosexually that makes the difference; it is my effort to include Heavenly Father in my life that truly makes change.
We began having children and my insecurities led me to believe that I could be an effective father only to little girls. Secretly I hoped that we would have only girls. I would be so good at doing their hair and watching princess movies! I imagined myself sitting at tea parties and everyone thinking I was just this amazing dad. I struggled to find confidence as we had a boy and then again when our second boy was born. Once again Heavenly Father has taken my trials and insecurities and, over time, shown me how they are to contribute to my happiness. I find myself as a father trying and experiencing new things that make me a better, more understanding person. I can see life through the eyes of a typical boy. I am able to understand things in ways that I wasn’t able to growing up. My new understanding has led to deeper joy than I likely would have been able to gain otherwise.
Life As It Is Now
From the time I experienced progress with therapy in learning to how to deal with depression and same-sex attraction, I knew that I wanted to become a therapist. I also knew that I wanted to eventually find ways to utilize my knowledge and experience with homosexuality to help others. Within the last year I started a blog, initially discussing my homosexual feelings and history. This was an intimidating step to take, but I have found that it has enriched my life. I am able to answer questions about the topic, and people have conversations with me that they might not feel comfortable asking in another setting.
Despite my increasing confidence in my sexuality, there have often been times that I’ve found it difficult to reconcile my feelings of wanting to live within the bounds of the gospel due to the increasing social acceptance of homosexuality. I know that to many this seems strange. How could a guy who was teased about being girly and who lived in fear of someone finding out about his attractions to other guys feel conflicted about the world being more okay with being gay? The conflict that I feel comes into play due to the fact that I have several friends who are living homosexual lifestyles, and I love them very much. When they and others talk about how opposing homosexuality is the same as opposing someone for his or her race, I know exactly what they are talking about because I know that these feelings are a part of me and are as real as anything else. Because I understand their point of view I came to the conclusion that there is nothing I can say to convince anyone why I have made choices to live a heterosexual lifestyle when I so clearly do not fit easily into it. As the world sees it, it does not make sense. However, I know that God wants something different from me, and I can’t deny that.
My experience both personally and professionally have taught me that homosexuality is so much more than simply being attracted to someone of the same gender. There are so many emotional and social components to the issue that make it much deeper than simply a discussion of who it is okay to engage in sexual behavior with. As I have contemplated this, I think about all of the parts of me that are connected to or born from homosexuality. I think about how I used to pray that I wouldn’t have these attractions anymore. I remember asking Heavenly Father to take them away. However, if Heavenly Father were to come to me today and say, “I’m going to take away everything that is homosexual about you,” I think that I would have a problem with that. His grace, shown to me through the help of family, friends, and professionals, has taught me to give less credit to the problems that homosexuality has created and to instead love the good things that come for me with this issue: a deeper sense of compassion, understanding, and appreciation for the beauty and goodness in the world.
So much of what is happy about my life is in one way or another connected to having lived with, and continuing to live with, same-sex attraction. That is not to say that I don’t have continued struggles that bring me frustration and regret. Would it be easier if I didn’t have the drive or temptation for sexual intimacy with men? Of course. Pornography and other temptations have continued to be a struggle for me, and there are still times when I feel alone and out of place. But I truly believe that Heavenly Father has used this situation to create happiness for me that I could not have had any other way.
Hope, for me, came and continues to come when I am able to see what is right about my situation as opposed to what is wrong about it. When I am able to keep an eternal perspective I see how my current struggles have led and continue to lead me to become more of what Heavenly Father wants me to become: like Him—deeply and genuinely happy.
8 Oct, 2014
Thanks so much for sharing your story...best of luck as you move forward.
Witness of His miracles
9 Oct, 2014
Blaine, thanks for sharing this honest and open experience. At times I felt like I could copy and paste this into my own story. God bless you as you assist others.
9 Oct, 2014
Thank you for your voice, your continued example to chose obedience rather than lifestyle. I pray God strengthen and bless you as you endeavor to do so. I too share your feelings and am grateful for each point of light that stands as a voice of hope; trusting God to be the judge and knowing it will all work out in the end. Keep hanging in there brother! Good job!
20 Sep, 2015
I wonder how many people read this and find a comfort. I did. I just attended affirmation and my friend sent the link to me. Everyone has their own journey, may God be in it! Love it, love you and I'm so curious about your wife and her thoughts.