|Tom Cole: My school experience||
|As a result of the combination of alienation and pacifism, I became the object of much scorn and ridicule. As far back as I can remember I was called a fag, a queer, or a sissy.|| From: Reconcil <Reconcil@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 14:50:32 EST
To: policy@Bridges-Across.Org Subject:
Subject: My school experience
This may be lengthy but I feel I must tell the story in detail, so here goes:
I was the third son, hoped-for daughter, in a family of six children. I remember from a very young age that my mother told me if I would have been a girl my name would have been Debbie. I had rosy cheeks and long eyelashes and was often mistaken for a girl. My personality was such that I taught myself to read at the age of four. My interests were learning of the different cultures of our melting pot neighborhood and reading books about foreign and mythical lands. Needless to say my same-sex peers found me a little difficult to understand as did my father and mother.
It was not long before my lack of interest in contact sports alienated me from the other boys in the neighborhood.. My gentle demeanor and compassionate nature made me very desirable to the girls in the neighborhood, and they soon became my sole source of friendship.
In addition to my differing interests I took a hard line stance toward pacifism. I believed that violence of any kind was appalling. As a result of the combination of alienation and pacifism, I became the object of much scorn and ridicule. As far back as I can remember I was called a fag, a queer, or a sissy. Although I did not fully understand the meaning of these terms, I began to identify with them. School became a dichotomy; wanting and loving to learn, yet fearing the daily harassment and violence. I was chased from school and beat up nearly everyday of my elementary school life. Bitterness became my friend and I despised the males in my society with a vengeance. I vowed in my heart I would never be like them.
An older boy in the neighborhood began to show attention to me and I was elated. I did not realize that he had other motives. One summer day he led me into his tent and molested me. The feelings of shame and guilt, mixed with a strange sense of sensual pleasure fill my heart and damaged me greatly.
At the age of 12 or 13 I began to experiment sexually with other boys in the neighborhood who now saw me as a means to an end. One neighbor and I began a six year physical relationship. I now had friends, but I saw that they only wanted me for their sexual release. I saw that they had no interest in boys other than physical release, yet I yearned for more from them.
At the age of 19 I joined a singing troop and met one male member who was out of the closet. I knew that he could "show me the ropes" and came out to him within a couple of weeks. He began to introduce me to the gay clubs, bath houses and other gay oriented places of business. I felt I had finally found my place. I felt accepted in my sexuality and received a great deal of affection and attention. What a honeymoon I had.
I found it increasingly difficult to enter into a long term relationship with another man. This was partly due to my inability for intimacy as well as the lack of commitment from others. One night at the club I ran into my brother (15 months younger than myself). We began an enduring friendship that lasted until his death eight years later in a tragic car accident. I saw him and his lover in a seemingly healthy relationship and thought that maybe I had a chance. However, their relationship deteriorated into a violent end with my brother's lover attempting to kill my brother. I continued searching and became sexually addicted in my quest. From the age of 19 to the age of 26 I had approximately 300 sexual partners. Depression set in and I began to drink and use cocaine to deaden the pain and loneliness.
A woman I worked with constantly talked about a personal relationship with Jesus. She never condemned me as an "out" homosexual and new age believer. Instead she showed me love and compassion. Through her life I began to see Jesus Christ and desired to know Him better. One Sunday I attended church with her and gave my life to Jesus Christ. I began telling people of my life before Christ and asking for their prayers concerning it. As they prayed for me, my desire for the things of the past wavered. I immersed myself in the scriptures and in prayer.
I met a former lesbian at a prayer meeting and we began a prayer partnership that lasted for two years. We spent every hour available together studying the Word and praying. After two years I knew that my feelings for her were more than friendship and we began dating. Two months later we became engaged and two weeks later we married. The first year was hell as I realized my insecurities, but my wife was patient and enduring. We have now been married nine years and have four beautiful children ( Isaac - 8, Jacob - 6, Elisabeth - 4, and Emily - 2) and hopefully more in the future.
As we found joy in the Lord and freedom from what we perceived as unwanted desires we began to minister to others who wanted freedom from homosexual desires. Four years ago we joined the board of directors of Reconciliation Ministries of Michigan, an Exodus International referral ministry, and I became Director two years later. It is our vision to help Christians who long for change in their desires. We have not and will not force our vision on anyone. We want to display the love and compassion to Jesus Christ to any and all, and want to proclaim the message of peace to those who would use violence against those who do not fit in their frame of reference.
In His love,
Tom Cole Director,
Gays and Exgays: Sharing the Pain of the Past