Causes For Queerness? How Trying To “Fix” Us Actually Breaks Us

Jamie Arpin-Ricci
7 min readMar 19, 2020

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, established in my administrative job at the Christian organization, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), I had worked hard to build protective walls around my bisexuality (which I still thought of in terms of being “only kind of gay”). I had intentionally gained an unhealthy amount of weight to make myself unattractive to other men, carving out a space in the Christian world as someone “battling the strongholds” of my “sin nature”. As destructive as it was, it was the only strategy I had for protecting myself from the fear, shame, and rejection that seemed the only alternative. Compared to the pain I had already suffered at the hands of other Christians, it was a price I was willing to pay.

Instead, I devoted myself even further to understanding the problem, continuing to devour any books, pamphlets, or tapes on the topic from a traditional Christian perspective. Neither did I hide or deny my sexual orientation, as too many of my friends and co-workers were already aware of it from my time there as a student. So, it was not surprising that other staff would occasionally pull me aside to ask me questions about the topic.
At first, this surprised me, as my sexual orientation had for the most part been a liability in my Christian life. Why was my view suddenly of interest to them? As it turned out, more and more of the students who came through YWAM’s programs shared their own “struggle with same-sex attraction”. Given that much of the staff was relatively young and all were largely ignorant on the topic, I offered personal insight and experience that they needed.

As I became more trusted by the staff around these topics, I would often be asked to have conversations with the students themselves. For many of them, I was the first other Christian to genuinely know what it was like to be like them. Remembering my own first encounter with someone who shared their experience, I felt deeply honoured to be a safe person who not only genuinely understood but who showed unconditional love.

Invariable in those conversations the same questions eventually emerged: Why am I this way? What caused me to be same-sex attracted? Is there anything I can do to fix it. While I was clear that I wasn’t a counsellor or even a pastor, I…

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a bisexual author & activist with more than 25 years experience living at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and justice.