It started out like any other Sunday morning. Mom was in
the kitchen finishing her breakfast before heading off to the golf
I stopped to chat with her briefly before going to church.
Only this time our conversation turned sour.
“What do you want from me?” my mom asked abruptly.
Without thinking I shot back, “I want a mom!”
“I don’t want to be a mom,” she said curtly. “I didn’t
plan to have you. I didn’t plan to have any of my kids.”
Her words were like daggers to my soul. Tears came. I knew
I couldn’t stop them if I tried, but I didn’t want her to see me cry.
“And don’t start crying to make me feel guilty,” she
Her words hung in the air with the thought reeling through
my head, I didn’t ask to be here. Suddenly a veil lifted as I realized,
at age 22, that what my dad had been telling me for years was true: My
mother didn’t love me.
I don’t know why I bothered going to church that morning. I
didn’t hear a thing and couldn’t even see the pastor through my tears. I
cried all morning over the stark reality that I was nothing more than
an inconvenience to the one person whose affection I craved the most.
Months earlier I had become a Christian and begun my
journey out of homosexuality. As a young adult I was now attempting to
connect with Mom for the first time in my life.
The Wounds of Childhood
Growing up, my alcoholic father had a violent temper and
would often hit my mother. I saw her as a victim and rejected anything
to do with femininity, which to me represented weakness.
I looked to my older brother and decided I wanted to be
just like him. I hung out with him whenever he would let me, wore his
hand-me-down clothes and even copied his handwriting style. I wanted to
be anything but a girl.
As early as I can remember I preferred sports to playing
with dolls. I played Little League baseball when I was 10 and tackle
football for years with the neighborhood boys.
I was seen as one of the guys because I was as strong and
tough as they were. “Tomboy” didn’t begin to describe me—I walked like a
boy, talked like a boy, dressed like a boy and even played shirtless
like a boy. Most adults thought I was a boy and often called me “son” or
I hated my name, Christine, because it was obviously a
girl’s name. I went by “Chris” instead.
My dad and brother had an obsession with sex. My dad had
pornographic magazines stacked under his bed, and my brother was
preoccupied with my developing body.
My parents divorced when I was 12 and sent me away to live
with relatives, where I was sexually abused by an older cousin. For
years I hid my secret in my heart. Meanwhile it took its toll on my
mind, shaping my beliefs about men and women. Life already had taught me
that men were interested only in sex and that being a woman was a
liability. Being molested reinforced my already warped view of men.
From then on I wanted to conceal whatever shred of
femininity I had left, believing that if I weren’t attractive then
things like this wouldn’t happen to me. Yet there were numerous other
occasions on which men took advantage of me.
I never felt safe as a girl because every man I met
treated me as the object of his desire. I resented this and desperately
longed to be loved for me, not for my female body.
Feeding an Emotional Need
Though my feelings for women had not become sexualized
yet, I had a deep hunger for feminine love. Throughout elementary school
and junior high, I would linger in the -presence of a particularly
nurturing teacher, craving her attention and seeking to obtain it
In high school I was still routinely mistaken for a boy
because of my masculine appearance and mannerisms. Some people assumed I
was gay because I looked the part, but the thought never really
occurred to me. This was the mid-80s and nobody talked about
One day in my sophomore year, I discovered that my best
friend, a senior, was in love with me. I loved her, too, but was
confused about the possibility of a sexual relationship.
Eventually I overcame my inhibitions and became lovers
with Kate. I was 15 and she was 17. Our lives revolved around each
I became jealous and possessive of her, wanting her all to
myself and viewing other friends as a threat to our relationship. These
were all characteristics of emotional dependency, which was the
hallmark of my six years as a lesbian.
I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Kate, even to
marry her. But my mom discovered our affair and worked to put an end to
it—she was embarrassed to have a gay daughter.
At 17 I began experimenting with guys sexually to find out
if I really was gay. Each encounter left me feeling degraded.
In college I resumed my lesbianism and reveled in it,
believing it was innate and inborn. I settled into the idea that I would
be gay the rest of my life.
My junior year I fell in love with Jane, a married woman
who was seven years older than I. Her husband worked long hours, leaving
Jane emotionally needy and vulnerable to looking outside her marriage
for ways to meet those needs. I was there for her.
Jane also regularly attended church. She felt guilty about
our relationship because she believed homosexuality and unfaithfulness
in marriage were sins.
I struggled with guilt about being a home-wrecker, but I
was powerless to stop our relationship because she satisfied my hunger
for love. Jane continued her involvement in church throughout our
Having felt judged by Christians in the past, I wanted no
part of her church life. However, my love of sports motivated me to join
the church softball team. I was there for one reason only—to play ball.
But God had other ideas.
During the course of three softball seasons, I was drawn
by the love my teammates had for one another and for me. It seemed so
pure and so right. I felt accepted even though they knew I was not a
Christian. My profanity and unsportsmanlike conduct made that obvious to
The coach never once scolded me for my behavior. Instead
he prayed for me and encouraged my teammates to do the same when they
complained I was ruining their Christian witness.
One teammate, Kelly, could tell I was gay, but never let
on. She didn’t preach to me or confront me about my lifestyle. Instead
she reached out to me in love and friendship all the more.
I began to desire what my fellow teammates had. They were
sincere, kind, loving and peaceful—different from any other Christians I
had known. I started attending church and Sunday School because I
wanted to know their God.
The Healing Begins
On a Sunday night in November 1989, Kelly led me in a
prayer of salvation as I knelt beside my bed in my dorm at the
University of Tampa.
I didn’t feel any different, but deep down I knew
something had changed. I knew I meant business with God. I wanted Him
more than my homosexuality.
Becoming a Christian didn’t instantly resolve my lesbian
orientation. It was only the beginning. I broke up with my lover yet
continued to suffer in silence with my homosexual desires, blaming God
for making me gay.
I didn’t understand that God was not responsible. Like
many lesbians, I was on this path because I was trying to protect myself from further hurt by men
and to compensate for the love I didn’t receive from my mother during
Thankfully, I found out about Exodus International, a
ministry that helps people overcome homosexuality, and began attending a
local support group. That’s where I discovered the root causes of my
homosexual desires—things such as sexual abuse, breakdown in the
relationship with the same-sex parent, gender confusion, abusive father
and peer rejection.
I met with a counselor to deal with the sexual abuse and
rejection issues. Several Christian women became my adopted moms and
showered me with the love and affirmation every child craves growing up.
Change happened gradually from the inside out. First, the
misguided beliefs about men and women were put to rest as I met godly,
strong women in the church who dismantled my belief that to be feminine
is to be weak. I also met men who treated me with dignity and respect,
which freed me to embrace my gender.
For the first time I felt safe as a woman. I even started
going by my full name, Christine, because I no longer wanted to hide the
fact that I was a girl.
However, I still looked very masculine. I wanted to
embrace my femininity but didn’t know how. All my life I had struggled
with intense feelings of inadequacy about being a girl.
Now for the first time since I had been sexually abused, I
wanted to look pretty. Slowly I began to outwardly identify with women,
experimenting with makeup, clothes and purses.
Others noticed my progress and encouraged me. I’ll never
forget the time Robert approached me in church and said, smiling,
“Christine, this is the first time you don’t look like a boy in a
dress.” Though it didn’t come out right, I knew he meant well, and it
let me know I was making progress.
As I worked to overcome my feelings of inadequacy about
being a girl, I learned that straight women struggle with insecurities
as well. I used to think I had nothing in common with them, but I
discovered I was more like them than I ever dreamed.
The key to my healing was developing healthy same-sex
friendships. As I did this, my sexual attractions for women naturally
diminished because I found what I was looking for all along—love,
intimacy and connection.
With God’s help and the support of caring people, I have
been walking in freedom from homosexuality for more than 12 years now.
We live in a society that says homosexuals are born gay and can’t
change. But I am living proof that’s not true because I am a changed
person with a changed life!
Christine Sneeringer is a conference speaker and
freelance writer based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is the executive
director of Worthy Creations, which is part of the worldwide network of