My Friend Is Gay

My Friend Is Gay

I have gay and lesbian friends. What do I do?

You love them. Period.

…we wish we could leave it at that, but more needs to be said.

What does that love look like? We know that not all loves are the same. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that love equals blind acceptance. True love wills the good of the other, so loving your friends will mean working for their good.

Remember, in the CCC’s three paragraphs on homosexuality, one of them is dedicated to treating people with same-sex attraction with sensitivity, compassion, and respect. Every person has dignity as a child of God, and that’s what we recognize first.

If your friends with same-sex attraction haven’t chosen a life of chastity: well, first, have you chosen a life of chastity? The first step is to take the plank out of your own eye before pointing out the splinter in your brother’s (Matthew 7:1-5). Recently, a teen wrote to us about a friend of his who wasn’t committed to chastity. He was really worried about her and wanted to know how he could help her live purely. Our first piece of advice was for him to do his best to live purely, and then to talk to her about the benefits of choosing chastity.

We know that none of us are perfect – we’re all sinners trying to help other sinners stay accountable. If we all waited until we were perfect, none of us would be able to say anything. But doing our best to live chastity gives us an advantage when it comes to sharing with others. We’ve lived out its benefits and experienced its freedom – and so we can share from our own lives how wonderful living chastity really is.

If your friends have questions about what the Church teaches about same-sex attraction, then make sure you’ve done your research and can share those teachings with them from a place of love. We’d caution you to make sure they want to have that conversation, first. If it’s clear that you’re Catholic and they want to know what the Church teaches, it will come up in conversations naturally. Be ready to have that conversation, but don’t force it on them if they don’t want to hear it. You’ll alienate them more than anything. Be a person of prayer and you will know when that moment is right.

If your friends with same-sex attraction are committed to chastity, then they will need your love and support to live that virtue well – just like you need their love and support to live it in your own life. Chastity is always easier to live when we have people encouraging and supporting us to live it. Walk with them through high school, and college, and beyond. Take care of one another.

There’s no reason you should treat your peers with same-sex attraction as anything other than your peers. They are your classmates, teammates, bandmates, etc. Regardless of whether or not they’ve chosen chastity, you must treat them with nothing but love and respect. The way we treat others is the way we treat Christ – so make sure your every word and action is done with love.

Rachel Leininger is the full-time chastity educator for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis' REAP Team retreat ministry. She's married to the excessively creative and unfairly gorgeous David. Her favorite things include decorating their home, everything Cardinals baseball, and coffee.

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