The Importance of Praying for Closeted Homophobes

The Importance of Praying for Closeted Homophobes February 11, 2017

Manly Homophobes

I’m a young gay man who’s dealt with more than his fair share of homophobic harassers, all of them verbal, and many of them “manly” men. This was a recurring issue when I was at college, and it’s taken a great deal of prayer and divine support to not develop any grudges against these men.

I’ve categorized male homophobes into the following two categories:

  1. Type 1: In essence, sadists who deliberately choose to be homophobic out of hatred, contempt, disdain, etc.
  2. Type 2: The category that really used to grind my gears, because these guys choose to be homophobic in an attempt to cover up their true sexual orientation. In other words, hypocrites in action.

I realized that many of the guy homophobes I’ve dealt with are probably not straight themselves because of certain body language ticks I’ve picked up on. With Type 2 homophobic men, there’s almost always some sort of fear or anxiety in their eyes when they blurt out insults, and there have been a few occasions when they literally looked like nervous wrecks when they passed me by.

When I first started encountering guys like this, I was peeved. I could go on and on about how I don’t deserve that nonsense, and how it’s not my fault that they’re so afraid of themselves. In fact, because nearly all of these guys are barely older than me, it wasn’t too long ago that I told God that I’ve officially given up on guys my age. I was sick and tired of having to be their verbal punching bag.

Well, God’s given me an ongoing answer that I wasn’t prepared for.

Starting with the summer before my last year at college, I’ve had numerous dreams of these guys walking up to me and doing or saying a number of things showing remorse, regret, and their true orientation coming out. There are a few recurring themes and images that I’ve seen in these dreams so far, such as:

  • Holding my hands, looking into my face and wearing an expression of remorse and anxiety
  • Taking me into their arms, and hugging me close
  • Telling me about their fears, with one guy openly admitting to me that he knows he isn’t straight
  • Seeing a warm, genuine smile on their face as they look at me
  • Underlying vulnerability that I’ve never seen them express in real life

This phenomenon began with a subtle moment of divine intervention sometime in the summer of 2016, while I was on vacation. I had been praying late into the night for my guy best friend, whom I’ve had an on and off crush on. Out of nowhere, I suddenly had an urge to pray for the worst homophobe of them all, a guy who actively encouraged his guy friends to shout insults at me whenever I’d pass him walking by.

I resisted and grumbled that I didn’t want to think about that guy. It was a struggle to completely forgive him, because I once had a massive crush on him, and truly thought that he was a Christian knight in shining armor. The heartbreak that I felt after seeing the hatred in him come out was an ugly feeling that took a long time to dispel. But despite my protesting, the urge persisted, and I begrudgingly complied.

I made myself pray for that guy, and instantly, I felt some sort of weight be lifted off of my soul. It was alarming because it was so much more spiritually satisfying than praying for my best friend. After that, I made myself pray for this guy more and more, because I was certain that this was something God needed me to do.

No kidding. That’s how the first dream in this “series” occurred.

Terrible Vulnerability

Barely a week after this had begun, in the middle of a normal dream, I was suddenly taken to my basement, where a powerful image had appeared.

In the middle of the room, this guy and I were standing together, staring into each other’s face, looking like we were about to kiss. I looked confused, naturally, and this man seemed to be caught between the desire to kiss me, and his anxiety.

After seeing that, I continued to pray for him, up until roughly the end of that summer when I had a different dream of him taking me into a tight embrace, beaming down at me.

A few weeks later, when the new semester began, everything I had seen in my dreams was affirmed by a brief encounter I had with him. We crossed each other’s paths near one of the cafeterias on campus, and I tensed up because I expected more homophobia. But for some reason, looking at him didn’t bring the usual fear. Instead, I felt more at peace.

On top of that, when he saw me, he gave me a small, shy smile, and kept walking.

I still pray for him, because I’m not entirely certain that he’s fully accepted himself. I just hope that when the time comes, he won’t be afraid to accept that God made him whatever way he is for a purpose…and the purpose isn’t to be persecuted.

I began having equally revealing dreams about a different guy months after this, sometime in December of 2016.

“They Shouldn’t Have Hurt You!”

The guy who suddenly showed up in my dream this time was more of a, shall we say, “petty” homophobe than anything else. I never heard him insult me, but his attitude towards me was constantly disdainful and arrogant.

I first realized he might be a “Type 2” when I had a dream before this one where he offered me a chance to get intimate with him, in an incredibly condescending tone. It was upsetting because it’s bad enough, dealing with hateful men; it’s even worse, realizing that there’s a possibility that they scorn you to protect themselves.

But anyway, in this dream, the same guy came running up to me, looking desperate to talk to me. It was shocking, and at first, I didn’t recognize him. He was completely different from the guy I had encountered in real life.

He ran up to me, towering over me, and asked me in a pleading tone, “Are you ok?”

Before I could answer him, he got incredibly angry, and told me something along the lines of, “You deserved better! Those bullies shouldn’t have hurt you like they did!”

I woke up in confusion, jarred by his angrily protective demeanor towards me, and me remembering the image of a girl I’d seen just before he spoke with me. The only bullies I could think of were the girls who deliberately created a threatening, draining, and homophobic environment on my dorm floor when I was a college sophomore. I realized that logically speaking, those were the only bullies that could make him get so angry for my sake. That girl image was probably what he thought my perpetrators looked like.

This guy and I had never had the chance to actually speak with one another, even though we kept running into each other across campus. The only conclusion I could draw after waking up from this was that God had told him about what I’d gone through. 

There have been a number of occasions when I’ve believed that I’ve had a dream like this because somebody wanted to tell me something. This was one of them. I truly believe that somehow, this guy learned about what happened to me, and had a massive change of heart towards me as a result.

I’ve had numerous other dreams about this guy, and many of them revolved around us bonding as close friends. I appreciate those dreams of course, but I also worry for him. Based on my aforementioned theory, these dreams could also mean that he was struggling with his sexuality like I still do some nights.

What Does This All Mean?

I have no doubt that God started giving me these dreams in response to my anger over their behavior. Thank goodness He did, because while I did make myself forgive each of them, I would still be incredibly irritated towards them if I hadn’t had these dreams.

Now, thanks to the message that God gave me about these men, I feel better equipped to look at them with compassion and empathy. I know what it feels like to be terrified of your identity. I know what it’s like to wonder if God will reject you for not being what society calls “normal”. But what I’ve realized I don’t understand is what it’s like to be gay, while also feeling the burden of America’s obsession with masculinity.

I say that because I could easily be categorized as an “effeminate” gay man based on my short height, slim build, and the bizarre fact that I’ve been mistaken as a girl by numerous people, even coworkers. One could say that I strongly resemble the stereotypical image of a gay youth in America.

That’s both a good and bad thing. It’s great because coming out is usually a breeze because people generally react along the lines of “Well, duh!” It’s bad because, well, they generally react along the lines of “Well, duh!” I often feel sometimes that strangers who don’t know me well at all will instantly associate atrocious stereotypes with me, just because I have a more feminine appearance than other guys.

As for these poor guys, they fit the bill of “traditional masculinity” far better than I do. In other words, they look nothing like that stereotypical image, and would probably prefer to not be seen as such. That’s a highly logical reason as to why they seem so terrified when they see me. Psychologically speaking, I could be seen as the embodiment of what they fear to be perceived as, and thus they react with anger to cover up their fear. It’s quite Freudian if you ask me.

I’ve created an ongoing prayer list for these guys, and my goal as I pray for them nightly is for them to accept a few things:

  1. God made them however they are for a loving purpose.
  2. He loves them unconditionally, and is their strongest supporter.
  3. Being gay/bi/pan doesn’t make you any less of a man.

What Makes a Man?

I’m so sick and tired of this country’s obsession with masculinity, and I’ve realized that despite what others may think of me, I’m lucky to not be called “manly”. After seeing these guys reveal their fears to me in my dreams, I’ve realized that I should be grateful to not feel the constant peer pressure from friends, family, and strangers to fit society’s definition of manliness.

By using intercessory prayer for these guys, I’m hoping to do what I can to undo the damage that has been done to them by society’s unhealthy demands. Only time will tell what else will come as a result of these prayers, and only God really knows what’s meant to happen otherwise.

Featured Image by Ri_Ya/Pixabay

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