My Journey from a Catholic to a Wiccan
Posted: On WitchVox August 13th. 2006
There comes a time in life when you know you have to change, when you've hit rock bottom and that if you go any lower, you'll die. For me that particular time came about three years ago when I was 15.
I am a bisexual FTM transgender boy. I also used to be Catholic. For some people, discovering their sexuality is a sudden revelation. For me it was a process that lasted 9 years. Some part of me knew I was different ever since I was four years old. But being raised a Catholic in a fairly conservative household, I just denied, denied, and lied to myself about my sexuality and my gender identity. But I could only do that for so long. When I began going through puberty at age 12, it got a lot harder. Not only was I becoming sexually attracted to guys but to girls too. Now at the time, I had not yet realized I was transgender, so it was my attraction to females that I believed was wrong.
Anyway, for more than a year I tried to convince myself that my attraction and arousal for girls was just jealousy over how good they looked. But when I was 13 and having sexual fantasies of myself with not only guys but girls as well, the thought of me being a lesbian hit me for the first time. It was a terrible thought. I was so scared. I hated myself immediately because the Catholic Church taught me that to be GLTB was morally wrong. I grew up believing that gays would burn in hell, that they were sick perverts. I grew up listening to homophobic remarks and making them myself. To me gays were freaks. And now to suddenly be one of them? I was sick with hate and fear. I prayed to God as much as I could to take away my desire for girls. I begged him to forgive me for my sin and make me straight.
But when my desires for girls remained I was crushed. I longed to ask my parents for help but was afraid that if they knew I was bisexual they would hate and/or kick me out of the house. I thought about talking to a priest, but I was afraid he'd tell my parents. Having nowhere else to turn, I turned to the Internet. Doing so probably saved my life. For the first time in my life I found resources that said being GLBT was okay. It was so shocking yet comforting. But even thought I read plenty of things online that told me that who I am is perfectly okay, I still could not believe it. The Catholic Church was still a big part of my life, and the Catholic Church still said I was a pervert; my parents still said gays were perverts. Inside my heart, I still believed I was a sick pervert.
From the time I was 13 to 15 years old, I tried to commit suicide three times. All three were rather pathetic attempts and failed. I wanted to die, but I was afraid of where I would go when I did. My life was a living nightmare back then. I was depressed all the time; I cried frequently; and I cut myself. All because I had been brought up believing that what I am was the very embodiment of evil and sin. Writing this essay and thinking back brings all the old pain to the surface. But it's dull and distant. It now longer has the power to hurt me.
What changed between than and now? And how the heck does this essay relate to Wicca? I'm getting there; I promise. When I was 15 I hit the low point in my life. I had no reason to live except my fear of hell. When I looked in the mirror I wanted to smash the image I saw. I figured then that my life was already so painful a little more wouldn't matter. I came out to my parents. It was the hardest, scariest thing I have ever done. It could have killed. If my parents had rejected me I know I wouldn't be alive right now. But they didn't reject me. They told me they loved me anyway. I was so happy, so relieved, all I could do was cry.
Over the next year or so though things were not easy. Although my parents promised to love me they had trouble accepting me for who I am. There were many bitter fights and arguments between my mom and me. But now that I’m 17 going on 18 in September, my family has finally made peace with my sexuality. They fully accept me for whom I am and supported me when I came out at my high school this school year. While my parents are still Catholic conservatives their views regarding GLBT people are very different than before. Through me and my gay friends my parents have learned that GLBT people are just like everyone else. We're not perverts.
While my parents’ love and acceptance went a long way to helping me accept myself, it didn't do the trick. I still clung on to the threads of Catholicism and Christianity, trying in vain to reconcile my sexuality with the Church. It wouldn't work. All that was left in Christianity for me was that old self-loathing pain and hate. Even when I finally cast off Christianity completely last year, a part of me was still deeply scarred by its teachings. To make matters more complicated I started realizing then that I was a transgender. That brought on a whole new cycle of self hate. I'd look in the mirror and think, "You're such a freak. How can you be a boy when you have breasts?"
I was headed for another spiral of depression when I discovered something so wonderful. I discovered Wicca. I was in a Border's bookstore, looking at the Religion section in a desperate attempt to find something to save me before I finally just gave in to the pain again. A title caught my eye: Gay Witch Craft. From the moment I picked up the book and started reading it, I knew I had found something good. All those years of self-hate, of spiritual turmoil, were finally starting to end.
Wicca, during the brief time I've been practicing it, has helped me so much. Through Wicca I have finally been able to begin the process of healing myself. Thirteen years spent hating GLTB people can't be rectified easily, I suppose. But I'm getting there. Each day I feel better about myself. Each day it's easier and easier for me to fully believe that the God and Goddess love me. Each day a little bit of that self-hatred melts away. And as for being transgender, becoming Wicca saved me from going through the painful times I went through when I realized I was bisexual. Through Wicca I have come to see my transsexuality as a gift from the God and Goddess. Before, I saw it as a freakish mistake and curse. Wicca has turned my life around. It gave me hope for the future and a way to live in the present.
How do my parents feel about my practicing Wicca? They aren't exactly thrilled, but they don't mind. My mom buys me candles and, occasionally, books about Wicca. I think she'd rather I were still Catholic, but at the same time she's noticed the positive change that Wicca has had on me. I guess she's just glad I'm not always so sad any more.
All that being said, I still have my bad days. Sometimes I do wake up and wish that I were straight and not transgender. But those days are happening less and less often, thanks to the love and healing Wicca has given me. I just really can't express in words how much Wicca means to me. But I can say this: when I think about what my life was like before I became a Wiccan and compare that life to now, I weep for joy for having been set free of that old pain.