- My best friend and I met in church, and eventually, we found out we were both secretly bisexual.
- Because of our shame, we prayed every week to be straight.
- Now we are openly bisexual women and we no longer go to church.
My best friend and I regularly get asked: “Wait, how did you two meet?”
Our response surprises most people. “We met in church.”
In 2018, I was riding what some might call a spiritual high when I became a group leader for about 15 people in Portland, Oregon. We met weekly to eat dinner and discuss various church practices.
My best friend, Tiff, was part of the group and only lived a few blocks away. We hit it off instantly. Eventually, we told each other our deepest secret: We’re both attracted to women.
First, Tiff and I came out to each other
One day when we were in our early 20s, I picked Tiff up for a study date, and on the way home, she blurted out, “I want to kiss a girl!” She was looking for direction on how to navigate such a conundrum while still living out her faith.
As a leader of the church, I was without answers. I knew I was supposed to tell her not to entertain her lustful, same-sex desires, but I couldn’t. Instead, I told her something I hadn’t ever told anyone.
“I have kissed a girl.”
We sat in the parked car for a long time that day, confessing fantasies, questioning our sexuality, and trying to figure out a solution to remain “good” Christians.
We thought, “Maybe if we pray, the thoughts will go away. Maybe if we talk to enough guys, we won’t be so interested in girls. Perhaps this is just a phase.”
Together, we pushed aside our attraction to women. We convinced ourselves that we were deeply flawed and needed fixing. Shame invaded our hearts, minds, and bodies, putting up a wall between who we were and who we felt pressured to be.
We knew we had to pray our way back to “normal.” We knew we had to pray to be straight and not be tempted by sexual urges.
Shame never let us escape weekly prayer
Sunday after Sunday, one of us would grab the other’s wrist to go up for prayer while the band played. We’d kneel close to the other congregants, and we’d pray for each other, making sure not to let anyone else know our secret.
We asked for sexual purity, forgiveness, and more self-control. While swallowed by Christian culture, we had learned that even things as natural and normal as masturbation were wrong. Only God knew what was best for us — our own desires and intuition were corrupt, immoral, and untrustworthy. Purity culture taught both Tiff and me to neglect, ignore, and reject our authentic selves. Praying for help was the only answer we had.
But then the COVID pandemic started, so we couldn’t go in person to church
It was not being allowed in-person church services during the pandemic that eventually helped us realize we weren’t as evil as we’d once thought. Without warning, we had to reevaluate our belief system and enter a period of deconstruction.
We both started to see how clouded our vision had become while immersed in the world of weekly sermons and church community, and we started to think freely about why we believed certain things. There was a lot of time to sit with ourselves, to confront our deepest desires, and to talk about them openly. We talked almost every day.
Without the influence of our church telling us the “right” and “wrong” ways to live, we learned to be ourselves; and we learned to accept ourselves.
A few months later, I got a call from Tiff. At that point, it had been three years since we first met.
“What’s the big news you have to tell me?” I asked her.
“I started dating girls,” she said confidently.
Together, we traded prayer for celebration
Today, Tiff and I are both proud bisexual women, unafraid of others’ opinions. Neither of us attends church anymore, and we have reclaimed our relationships with God in beautiful, shame-free ways.
It took Tiff coming out as bisexual to know that I could, too, and it took us both living out our truths to encourage those close to us to do the same.
Tiff and I no longer pray to be straight because we now know and believe that we are not broken, regardless of what purity culture spreads. Instead, we celebrate who we are.
During one of my recent visits to see Tiff in Arizona, she pulled out matching socks for us with the bisexual-pride flag on them. We put them on happily and reflected on how far we’d come since our car confessions and prayers at the altar.
Together, we’ve learned to embrace our sexuality as a gift and as a way of self-expression.