Thanks for sharing @mrmusic, I feel ya. Being Christian myself and being gay or same-sex attracted has forced me to seriously reconcile how sexuality fits into my faith. And man, It's hard. I'm so glad that your friends reacted positively -- that was brave, and I think it was the right move to make.
Just a heads up, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "I want to stay true to my Christian values", so this next part is reading between the lines. When it boils down to it, there's the perspective that Christian communities should affirm LGBT+ people, and there's the perspective that Christian communities should accept but not affirm. You probably have your own take. Some key Christian resources are Q Christian Fellowship (affirming) and Living Out and Life Teen (non-affirming). And if you're looking for some more academic discussion, you might find these essays helpful: [link] for the "God blesses same-sex marriage" side, and [link] for the "God called you to be single" side.
Personally, I find it helpful to put things into perspective: is sex / sexuality really such a big deal? Sometimes I think we can put so much focus on that and lose sight of the person we are - we're wonderful, complex, mutli-facet. When sexuality isn't such a big a deal, it means that if I don't ever get married, then so be it. If I become (romantically) attracted to a girl, then cool. If a relationship with a guy becomes serious, then I'll figure it out. It can also be helpful to seperate the stereotypes and the lifestyle from the attraction, when it comes to labels. Am I gay, or is my identity that I'm a child of God? That's how I feel right now.
Ultimately, I don't think you can figure yourself out without the help of others, so it's really important to just keep talking to people.
@mrmusic I just want to say thank you for your courage and bravery in sharing your struggle with us.
I'm not sure how helpful my story will be for you, but I'd like to share it anyway in case it helps you in any way. While I don't identify as a Christian myself, I have always gone to a Catholic school and was surrounded by a Christian family on my Dad's side. As I struggled with my same-sex attraction, I become more hostile towards religion as I saw it as incompatible with my identity and a major contributor to the shame and internalised homophobia I felt.
The year after I came out, I moved to a city from my rural town, and met a girl through university. She was kind, caring and really fun. But she was an incredibly devout Christian. She went to Bible study, went to Church as a way of relaxing, and knew verses of scripture off by heart. I judged her instantly, and didn't think we could be friends.
3 years on, this girl is my best friend. She supported me through coming out to other friends at uni, having my first girlfriend, and was one of my most vocal supporters and a soft place to land during the gay marriage debate. I have a much deeper respect for the religious in general, and recognise now that everyone practices religion in their own unique way.
Long story short, the message I took away from this experience is this: your Christian identity does not have to be mutually exclusive with your same-sex attraction and what that adds to your identity. I genuinely believe that you can find a way to embrace both in your life. I don't know if you have ever watched Queer Eye, but occasionally the Fab 5 discuss their relationship with religion. One of them said that they have a great relationship with God, and that that is all that matters. While I am not Christian, I know in my heart that if you can work on having a strong relationship with God and a strong relationship with yourself, then the other aspects of your multifaceted identity will all fall into place.
Sending so much love your way, always here for a chat xx