5. West End Blues
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I was born in London in 1950 into a family typical of many around today. Mum and Dad were not married, both had been married before, and had children from those marriages. Dad was hard working and hard drinking: Mum was very emotional and highly strung. They were always arguing and fighting. Eventually Mum had a nervous breakdown and went into hospital. My younger sister and I were placed in a children's home for nearly three years. Some memories I have of the home are still vivid - some good, some not so good, and a deep insecurity entered into my life that left me emotionally damaged for many years to come. Somehow between my sister and myself, I seemed the more sensitive and vulnerable of the two.
When Mum eventually came out of hospital, we went home. We all expected things to be a lot different and at first they were, then back came the drinking and fighting. I suppose Mum and Dad were trying to do the best for us, but deep down inside me a great hatred was growing for my father. I loved Mum very much indeed and hated what he was doing to her. She was as madly in love with him as ever.
At first the relationship I had with my Dad was very much a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I would long for Dad to treat me like other boys' fathers did, but he didn't seem to have much time for me. Working and drinking were his lot.
Growing up wasn't easy. As soon as I started to be aware of myself sexually, I was aware of other boys too, and I realised that I was sexually drawn towards them. I could not understand this at first, but looking back, the underlying emotional needs I had caused me more and more to find excitement in the attraction of others who felt the same way as I did: their acceptance of me, and the enjoyment of it all. This never went further than masturbation. Then one day at the swimming baths I first experienced sex with an older man and realised that I was a homosexual. This somehow hit me like a drug, and every spare moment I had was spent looking for a man to have sex with. I longed to find others who were like me.
By the age of 15 I was going to West End gay clubs on Friday and Saturday nights. It was said of one club that you had to be "gay" just to stand outside it. One Saturday night I left the club early to walk home. On the way I met a man who offered me a lift home but I ended up at his place and realised that I could get money from what I seemed to enjoy the best. From the word go, the West End was a very exciting place to be, especially for someone who had nothing going for him. Somehow I could not hold down a job, and so I would spend even more time in the West End. I did enjoy sleeping with men, but deep down there was a complete dissatisfaction as my homosexual contacts were no more than brief encounters or one nights. How I longed to love someone else more deeply.
Although I was a prostitute, there were times when the horrific side of homosexuality disgusted me. It failed to meet the emotional needs that were in me - the need to be loved and accepted for who I was. After every sexual encounter, I was just as empty as before.
Eventually I met some gay drug addicts and they introduced me to every kind of drug available to them. I was soon to find out that homosexuality, drinking and drug taking went hand in hand. Most of the homosexuals I met were the loneliest and unhappiest people. I spent 14 years in and around the West End, and was ever-searching and lonely, someone who was addicted to drugs and unable to find a way out; someone who didn't know who he was. It is difficult in a testimony like this to share the dissatisfaction which led me into drug addiction, and the misery I experienced. I was married briefly to a young girl who knew I was gay. Her life was made a misery by the endless stream of men I invited into our flat. What a desperate cruel person I had become.
So what changed my life? Well, at the age of 28 I went to live in a Christian rehabilitation centre. I had reached rock bottom. The tables had turned and no-one would sleep with me unless I paid them with drugs or whatever. Mentally and physically I was a mess. Even the surface veins in my body had all collapsed. In this Centre I became aware of the reality of the living Lord Jesus Christ. I saw His power and love in others there, and was convinced that He could help me. So I gave my life to Him. Putting down the syringe wasn't easy, nor was facing up to the problems that led me into addiction in the first place. Realising I was a Christian with homosexual tendencies brought about fear and despair in my life. The staff at the rehabilitation centre knew I was a homosexual but somehow I did not trust them enough to share my fears with them. So I left the Centre and went back to London, drugs and men.
Fortunately for me, the few Christian friends I had, loved me very much indeed and helped. The guilt I was experiencing for what I was didn't help, and I found myself in hospital, while friends were looking for another Christian rehabilitation centre for me to go to.
Yeldall Manor prided itself (rightly so) on being a "discipleship" training centre. They knew that ex-drug addicts need to be grounded spiritually in God and in the Church, and that they also need a fresh start in the world, so that they can gain employment, etc.. It was here that I understood through scripture that God really did love me and that Satan had been trying to ruin my life through drug abuse and perversion of my sexuality. During the six months at this centre I repented of wanting to do my own thing, and handed over to Him my addictive personality. I repented of all drug-taking and all homosexual acts. I asked Jesus to deal with my homosexual tendencies and since that time I have noticed these become less and less.
This is now my tenth year of being a Christian. I have discovered that through the power of the person of the Holy Spirit, I can live a normal life. I am married to a lovely lady and we have two children. We have been married for nearly six years. I had been a Christian four nearly four years before meeting my wife, and during that time had fallen only once into a homosexual act, not long after leaving the rehabilitation centre. Looking back, it was a time when I was most vulnerable, and forgiveness came quickly after repenting of that sin.
When my wife and I met, we knew from the word that we were meant for each other. My wife is a very beautiful, loving and honest person, and from the beginning she opened up about her past relationships, etc.. Although I loved her and could quite easily share with her my past drug addiction and prostitution, I could not trust her enough to let her know that I had been a life long homosexual with those homosexual tendencies still hanging on. I was still afraid of rejection and wondered if she would take the risk of being married to someone with such a bad track record as me. Wasn't it enough for her to know that I was an ex-addict/prostitute who had been married before? What was she letting herself in for?
Even as we both faced the altar, I knew that I should have been more trusting and honest. I should have let her know about the tendencies, but I hadn't. Well, this is where I have to thank God that I know for sure that "everything works together for good with those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). Before we met, God had prepared us for each other, and now, after six years of marriage, I can honestly say that sexually and in every other way, we have a fulfilling life together as a couple, and as a family. We want to see it get better all the time. Our marriage has had its not to easy moments, mostly in me overcoming my fears. My wife is someone who fears little (praise God!). The Lord has taught us to be frank and open with each other, and as I have become more trusting, the fears and old desires are leaving. I now find fulfilment in being known and loved by God, and in trying my best to be a hardworking, good husband and father. These new desires have been planted as seeds in my heart by God, and working together He is bringing about the growth - it is beautiful in His sight.
The Lord has healed the relationship I had with my parents. My wife and I introduced my Mum to the Lord about eighteen months before she died, and I have the joy of knowing that in the last eight years of her life, she knew that her son loved her and was doing well. My Mum was the one I loved the most, and as it turned out, was the one I had hurt most. I don't see my father very often, but I have heard him say he loves me. When we do meet up, we are more at peace with each other. I hope the relationship continues to improve all the time.
Reproduced with thanks from a pamphlet published by:
True Freedom Trust
Merseyside L49 6NY, U.K.
This page was created on 30 January 2001
Last updated on 30 January 2001
Reproduced with Thanks