Growing up, all you want to do is to be accepted by the social normal which tend to dictate how you are meant to look, feel and act. Coming to terms with the fact that you are different from others, and that you would never really fit such expectations seemed like a constant struggle. From being the ‘fatso’ at school and being bullied cause of it, has pushed me towards unhealthy eating habits, which has landed me to the other extreme, that of being underweight. I remember many factors contributed to the shift in my body weight, part of it was that I wanted to break my mold, while another was that of the realisation and coming out to myself as gay.
The images portraying a gay person out there was that of having the perfect body, whether muscular or slim, anything but ‘being fat’ did not feature. Having lost weight, and feeling that I would fit in to the gay profile, another body issue emerged. That of being “possessed by the spirit of perversion” – according to a therapist who had a direct connection with an evangelical church here in Malta.
This is my story…
I always knew that I was different from other boys, even from a young age, but I never questioned it or gave it much thought. However, at the age of 18 I began to start questioning both my life and myself and, after much thought, and self evaluation, I realised that I was gay. Coming out is never an easy feat and the fear that comes with that is rejection and losing the people which you hold dear to your heart.
When I came out to my mum about my sexuality I must admit she was not expecting it; however she was understanding and told me not to rush into things, as my feelings might just be a phase which adolescents sometimes go through. She assured me that if I were gay she would have no problem with it, as she had already started realizing at the time that it was becoming more and more common, but in order for me to find out if this was just a phase or not she soon referred me to a psychologist who at that time was a co-host on a local TV program which had to do with faith healing.
During my first visit, she introduced herself and wanted to base the first session by getting to know more about me, my childhood and religion. Prior to this session, my mum had also briefed her about the great ordeal and trauma which had hit us with the passing of my dad.
After asking me several questions, she then asked, ‘so what are your concerns in life? What’s troubling you?’ She continued to ask if this had anything to do with my dad passing away, to which I replied by saying that it was a very traumatising experience but that life must go on. I continued by saying that I was there to seek help from her in order to figure out if I were gay or if it could have just been a phase.
She paused and said, ‘you gay?, not once did it cross my mind that you could be gay, however not to worry’ she added, and she soon reached out for a book which was created by a pastor, and told me to read some prayers, in order for the Holy Spirit to come into me and to basically deliver me from evil, and this was to be discussed in further detail upon my second visit. At that point in time being at such a vulnerable stage I just followed her orders, without any question.
Before I knew it the second visit had arrived, and this was when she dug deep into the subject of homosexuality, saying that our religion does not accept gay people and considers it as being a sinful act. She continued by saying that this can be fixed as gay people are possessed by the spirit of perversion, and that it has been proven that by means of an exorcism the demon can be taken out of one and that one would then be ‘free to live a normal straight life’. She assured me that I should not worry and that this works as an American pastor, I believe, had performed an exorcism on a gay couple who had been together for an odd number of years, and by the end of the exorcism these two men turned straight.
At that point in time I was shocked, and she invited me to one of the gatherings which this pastor was going to organise with a bunch of her clients. She did this, of course, to further go into the subject whilst having a greater effect on me as I would be hearing this from the mouth of a pastor.
Upon my third visit as she went on about the whole demon possession issue and religious acceptance, and that for me was the final straw. I said, ‘I am sorry but who are you to say that God doesn’t accept me? God accepts and forgives everyone and being gay is not considered as a forbidden sin, and as far as I am concerned I have never stolen, murdered or committed any mortal sin. I have faith in God and surely I am not possessed and God loves me as I am. After all I am one of his creations!’ and that brought about the end of my third and final visit.
Straight after that I had called my mum, told her with all of the psychologist’s madness, whereby my mum gave her a piece of her mind. By telling my story, all I wish for are three things…Firstly, people who are meant to give professional advice, must make sure that they
know what they are doing and understand what that person is going through. Before giving any advice, they have to ensure that they would have done a proper analysis of the situation in hand as, by giving the wrong information which verges into nonsense, the amount of damage that they can do on that person is unimaginable; such damage may lead to severe depression and even suicide.
Secondly, what I would love to see happening is for the Church to stick out its neck and accept that homosexuality forms a great part of the social structure, I know that till this very day people are still living in the shadows, the Church must see the fact that being gay doesn’t make one a sinner. Everyone has the right to be loved, and God himself said that showing love to one another and being loved is the greatest gift on earth.
And thirdly whether you are straight, lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender, this should not stop you from being yourself or for achieving your dreams and no one has the right to ever put you down or discriminate you, as we are all creatures of God and we are