Dawn Wilde

Life after lesbianism

Dawn Wilde
By Dawn Wilde
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Editor’s note: This article is a follow-up to Dawn Wilde’s Confessions of a Recovering Lesbian. It was first printed at Catholicsistas.com and is reprinted with permission.

In January, I wrote about my struggles with same-sex attraction (SSA), while living out my vocation as a Catholic wife and mother. The article was picked up by several Catholic websites and secular blogs. I wrote the article anonymously and considering the vitriol of the comments that followed, I’m glad I did. Especially after reading one man’s enraged, sentence-by-sentence dissection of the piece on a site called Face Punch.

There seemed to be three main objections to my testimony:

1. I’m not a “real” lesbian so I shouldn’t be calling myself one;

2. I’m living a false, inauthentic life that’s unfair to my husband and children and that’s bound to self-destruct; and

3. I’m harming people who struggle with SSA by suggesting they can overcome their sexual orientation.

I was struck by how important labels are to people. At times, multiple commenters were arguing over whether I was lesbian, bisexual, or straight. Some claimed I was never a lesbian (despite living as one) or that I hadn’t been with a woman long enough. Which begs the question–how long does one have to have to engage in homosexual acts before it’s acceptable to be called gay or lesbian? Because apparently, three years is not enough.

I’ll admit I titled the article “Confessions of a Recovering Lesbian” to get it in front of those who wouldn’t be interested in reading one titled, “Embracing Catholic Chastity.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there really isn’t a label that fits a person like me. I’m not attracted to men, so I’m not heterosexual or bisexual. I’m not living out my attraction to women, so I’m not a lesbian. What’s most accurate is to say that I’m attracted to women, but I’m most attracted to one man–my husband. And that the emotional, spiritual, and physical bond I have with him entirely eclipses the attraction to people of either sex. Is there a label that encompasses all that? I think so: married.

But even if detractors couldn’t agree on what to call me, they at least agreed I’m a fraud. The people willing to let me call myself a lesbian insisted I was just stifling my “real” self, which would inevitably emerge when I encountered “the next Nora.” Though we live in a culture that celebrates girl-on-girl pornography and threesomes, my poor husband is an object of pity because I’m attracted to women. No one wanted to consider what kind of amazing man it would take to inspire such loyalty in a woman.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

I think my biggest mistake was stating I struggle with SSA “on a daily basis.” This gave the impression my waking hours are consumed by the struggle to desire my husband and not to desire sexual union with a woman, which is simply not true. I’m a mother of nearly half-dozen children; like most women in that situation, most of my life is consumed by how I will be meeting the needs of my family, not how I can fulfill my sexual desires.

Most of the time, my SSA isn’t an issue because I’m spiritually fulfilled by God and intellectually, physically, and mentally fulfilled by my husband. But there are times, as I said, when I’m struggling to get “in the mood” (and show me a woman—lesbian or otherwise, who doesn’t) and it’s those times when I’m most vulnerable to the thoughts and images I know will get the job done. Just as straight people are vulnerable to infidelity when their marriage is floundering, I’m vulnerable to thinking about the easy camaraderie of a woman when I feel emotionally estranged from my husband due to a fight or just the daily grind of life.

People who interpret these temptations as evidence I’m suppressing my true self have an immature understanding of what love—especially married love—actually is. It’s true that love is often sparked by a sexual attraction, and ours was no exception. But love is ultimately expressed in action, not in feelings. I watched Titanic along with everyone else, but all I could think about was how what Rose and Jack had was infatuation, not love. Love is making dinner and doing laundry after a full day at work because your wife is puking her guts out from morning sickness. Love is sacrificing time to yourself so your husband can go on a retreat to get closer to the Lord. Love is wiping the vomit off your terminally-ill wife’s aged face…changing your comatose husband’s adult diapers…caring for her even after she has forgotten who you are. Love is the Cross.

I’m human and I struggle with temptation at times; who doesn’t? But I also accept that the Church speaks with the voice of Christ, so I accept that my homosexual desires are disordered and ought not to be indulged. I’m not especially disciplined or faithful, but I have an unshakeable trust that God will provide all the graces I need to resist SSA and build a happy, fulfilling marriage. Marriage and family life are the means by which God has chosen to sanctify me, with SSA just one of many afflictions He’s trying to rout from my soul. And not even the worst one, at that.

Which brings me to the third criticism readers of my testimony had: that by sharing that I’m happily married, I’m proposing marriage as an effective “cure” for SSA. I wasn’t and I’m not. Marriage is a call to lifelong union, not a “treatment,” and it’s not the answer for every person who struggles with SSA. One of the things I love about Catholicism is that it admits to multiple paths to holiness, or vocations. For people who have a deep revulsion to being intimate with the opposite sex, marriage is almost certainly not their vocation. But we are all called to a vocation; whether that’s marriage, religious life, or the single life is something only the person can answer through prayerful discernment.

Can a person be “cured” of SSA? Yes, sometimes. And sometimes not. Homosexuality is a complex pathology that has biological, psychological, and spiritual causes and only God knows the full extent of why and how a person experiences SSA. And only God knows why He calls some of us to greater holiness through marriage, while others are called to holiness in religious communities or as a single person within the world. To those who claim it’s cruel to deny those with SSA the joy of physical union, I can only point out that the Church does not force anyone into a life of chastity.

It’s rare to find a person today that isn’t broken in some aspect of his or her sexuality. But to be healed, we must first admit we’re sick. Most people, even most Catholics, are unwilling to admit that SSA is a disorder in the first place. In the past, those who suffered this affliction were victims of prejudice and violence. Now our sins are celebrated as an expression of our deepest selves. Few know how to offer the truth in love, as Jesus did. If Our Lord were with us today, we’d almost certainly find him in the gay bars—healing those willing to admit they need Him, with a final, gentle call to “go and sin no more.”


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
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Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
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Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

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By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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