Why Some People Transition Out of Homosexuality

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

If you listen to people who have transitioned out of homosexuality, you discover a common thread. They took deliberate steps and experienced various degrees of success during their transition. But they eventually made it. They have come out.

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Sadly, these brave souls are often ridiculed by folks who don't want to hear their story. How tragic. After all, a story is just a story. And one person's experience won't exactly match that of another, even when their stories have similar subplots.

For example, Jackie Hill-Perry's compelling testimony was in the news recently. Jackie wanted to make the transition out of homosexuality, and so she went ahead and did it. That's not to say everyone who sincerely tries to make this transition succeeds, but Jackie is certainly an encouragement to those who want to get out.

While some question whether people can actually make this transition, it is hard to argue with a story. And there are plenty of stories of men and women who have made the transition.

Most people who make this transition require the healing of emotional wounds from their past. Some of those with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) had a domineering or distant parent. A significant number of others were victims of sexual abuse. And a few people with SSA even tell the story of a "normal" childhood. Each person's story is unique to the individual who actually lived it.

The common denominator of each story, however, is the emotional longing to be vitally connected with a person of the same sex. In fact, the emotional longing is far greater than the sexual desire. Something critically necessary was missing between parent and child, or something sexually traumatic happened in their childhood or teen years. Just listen to the stories of those who struggle with unwanted SSA. There is a deep desire to have their emotional needs met, and their wounded heart healed.

Some people with SSA sense that God did not create them to have a romantic same-sex relationship. In fact, a significant number of those who have transitioned out of homosexuality have done so primarily because they understand homosexual behavior is sinful in God's eyes, and that God designed marriage for a man and a woman.

That doesn't mean their transition was easy, or without setbacks. But once the transition is made, the unwanted SSA no longer dominates their life. This transition often involves much counseling related to past wounds, which in turn contributes to inner healing.

As this emotional healing progresses, a gradual lessening of SSA ensues. By addressing the root trigger of their SSA, people open their soul to the tremendous pain they experienced way back when their emotional needs were going unmet, or when the traumatic abuse robbed them of a healthy perspective concerning gender and sexuality.

SSA really isn't about sex. It's about a wounded heart which didn't receive the proper parental love, or appropriate physical affection it desperately needed earlier in life. Such a heart can be healed through the love of Christ, and sustained through healthy emotional and physical relationships going forward. No one chooses to have SSA, but some make the choice to transition out of it.

The "transitioners" left homosexuality because they got burned out. It wasn't for them, at least not over the long haul. They eventually became weary of their SSA. They wanted out. And their desire to leave was greater than their desire to continue masking old wounds and unmet needs.

Richard Cohen has decades of personal experience with SSA, as well as with the transition out of homosexuality. Richard has written extensively about his life journey, and has worked for many years as a psychotherapist and educator. He presents powerful insights in "Coming Out Straight." These two chapters which you may find helpful are available online. 

Leaving homosexuality is a transition some people make. And while it's not easy, it is nevertheless possible. There is hope for the one who wants out. And if you doubt that fact, there are plenty more stories from people who have successfully made the transition. Each "transitioner" has a personal testimony worthy of respect.

Here are a few final thoughts for anyone who experiences anger at the very thought of a person transitioning out of unwanted SSA. I encourage you to ask yourself three questions:

1) Why am I angry about their stories of transition?
2) Will I be tolerant and accepting of those who have made this transition?
3) If I am unwilling to be tolerant of them, can I honestly expect people to accept me and my story?

This is your life. Are you who you want to be? Perhaps this song by Switchfoot will encourage you to consider a new direction.This could be the beginning of your personal transition. That is, if you decide you want to come out.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.