I'm from Driftwood | Nathan Manske | News

LGBT Stories: Coming Out But Keeping The Faith

Gabe Neitz TR



After coming out in high school, Gabriel found classmates and even the football players telling him how awesome he was. Other aspects of his life, however, were much less accepting.

“God was a huge, huge influence on my life. He still is. And that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t come to terms with who I was, and it took so long because I felt like a horrible person.”

Guilt from his mother, who is a minister, and fear of God forced Gabriel back in the closet. Somewhat ironically, it was Gabriel’s praying and evolved belief in what God wants that led him back out of the closet and to his own personal acceptance.

“I feel that all the nights I spent crying and really begging and pleading for God to take these feelings I have for men away...He didn’t. And I don’t believe God can sit up there and see this young boy crying and in so much pain and not do something about it. So I feel like God accepts me for who I am.”


Driftwood ***

Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee embarked on a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD. You can follow IFD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Father Comes Out After 28 Years of Marriage [tr]
Coming Out in a Cuban Family [tr]
It's Okay to Be Gay in Montana[tr]
Teen Becomes More Popular After Coming Out in Conservative Town [tr]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Sorry to have to say it guys, but anyone who believes in an organized religion has a simple mind. Don't religious people realize that their belief is nothing more than a result of cultural and social brainwashing!?
    The fact is that even Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell would have been ayatollahs and staunch believers in Islam had they be raised in Algeria by a devout Moslem family. If you can't understand that, then you're a pea-brain. Sorry!

    Posted by: dancobbb | Sep 28, 2011 2:14:21 PM

  2. Really?

    Whatever helps him make it through the day I guess.

    Everyone knows god is way too busy helping rap artists and sports teams win awards. Unless we're talking about another god. You know the vengeful one that hates that gay little boy.

    There are bigger problems like disease, poverty & hunger.

    But you go on, this is America and you can believe whatever you want. Go on girl.

    Posted by: truthiness | Sep 28, 2011 2:14:28 PM

  3. Ahh but just think about how liberating it would be to let go of the faith...

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 28, 2011 2:15:10 PM

  4. Good for him! I am also a pastor's kid and dealt with the same self-hating in the name of Christianity.

    I also came to terms with it that last time I was crying and begging God to change me. I finally figured out if after 19 years of begging for change, maybe God was trying to tell me that He didn't want me to change because I was just perfect the way He made me.

    That was enough for me and I was able to move on. Other Christians weren't so thrilled with it (and let me know it constantly) but that's their problem.

    So to any other people out there fighting this losing battle - you are OK just the way you are and tell those other "Christians" to get their noses out of your business and back in their bibles!

    Posted by: Victor | Sep 28, 2011 2:16:27 PM

  5. >"Don't religious people realize that their belief is nothing more than a result of cultural and social brainwashing!?"

    Of course not. They have been brainwashed after all

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 28, 2011 2:22:28 PM

  6. What a moron.

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 28, 2011 2:49:58 PM

  7. "Guilt from his mother, who is a minister, and fear of God forced Gabriel back in the closet."

    Religion is evil, plain and simple! The psychological harm it does is immeasurable.

    Posted by: Jake | Sep 28, 2011 2:59:58 PM

  8. Apparently his minister mother isn't concerned about the "sin" of gluttony.

    Posted by: Mark | Sep 28, 2011 3:04:03 PM

  9. @ DANCOBBB & STEVE, I hear what you're saying and, in general, I agree. But, there's a difference between what happens to so many gays brought up in religious areas or families and "brainwashing." The former is properly called "socialization," as the process that everyone goes through, while a child, to learn how to live among whatever group and local is involved. Socialization is an innocent process. "Brainwashing" is a deliberate campaign on the part of one faction or person to alter another's values and actions from a previous state. The critical differences are intentionality and a pre-existing "nature."

    It's too bad Gabriel continues to feel that dependency on the sky fairy. I hope that he overcomes that system of abuse, too.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Sep 28, 2011 3:04:03 PM

  10. Gabriel's adorable and absolutely a prisoner and a victim of his environment. He needs to realize that there are no gods. It's sad that he's probably going to live his entire life enslaved to a fairy tale.

    Posted by: ohplease | Sep 28, 2011 3:04:04 PM

  11. There is no man in the sky.

    Posted by: ynot | Sep 28, 2011 3:07:20 PM

  12. The only "flaw" is that he's gay?

    No way! The only "flaw" is that he's a Christian.

    Love the Christian. Hate the Christianity.

    Posted by: candide001 | Sep 28, 2011 3:22:23 PM

  13. so glad I got away from any kind of organized religion yrs ago - at 51...my religion is REALITY.

    Posted by: Gay American | Sep 28, 2011 3:27:50 PM

  14. His life would much better if he didn't need to be torture by some sky daddy.

    Posted by: Dairyqueen | Sep 28, 2011 3:28:31 PM

  15. @ Victor, you'd think that after 19 years of begging for an answer you would have come to the conclusion that no one was listening. I am glad that you finally realized that you are who you are and are not "broken" you do not need to be "fixed" but I hope that any other teenager in the same situation would not spend so much time trying to fit himself into a society that has no place for him. Yes there are individuals who will accept you but the institution is adamantly against you. The sooner gay people realize this the healthier you will be.
    I don't need the superstitious/supernatural in order to be a good person, I do it without threat of punishment or promise of reward, but because I am a civilized rational adult.

    Posted by: Paul | Sep 28, 2011 3:28:31 PM

  16. While I am not a believer, I would encourage anyone whose loved ones are unaccepting of their sexual orientation based on Christian beliefs to give those loved ones a copy of Daniel Helminiak's "What The Bible REALLY Says About Homosexuality". Helminiak is a Roman Catholic priest and biblical scholar who debunks current translations/interpretations of the Bible as condemning homosexuality. It's a good read.

    @MARK: Your comment about gluttony was cruel and unnecessary.

    Posted by: peterparker | Sep 28, 2011 7:16:26 PM

  17. I have had experiences that have led me to believe in the existence of Universal consciousness outside of this existence and a "layered" reality, that in a sense supports my devotion to the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha. We are everything, we are each other, when we hate others, we hate ourselves.

    Some of these experiences were during meditation and hit me like a drug and others happened during a "ceremony" in the woods with friends.

    Believe what you will, I do believe in the sky fairy in a sense. I believe that I manifest this world and my experiences in it, and that I am all of you and you are me.

    Sounds weird? Yep, but I believe it. That's why sometimes I seem like such a fence sitter because I try to take everyone's side to an extent and learn what I can from it.

    I fall down a lot, but then I pick myself back up.

    I don't believe as Gaga says that I was "born this way"...I believe that we all choose in this existence what will help us explore ourselves the best. It is an active, conscious choice at some point so that we may educate our eternal "us".

    So gay, straight, boy, girl, fish, dog, ...these things (most of the time) mean nothing to me. Some days...yes, but I really do try to keep my zen on.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 28, 2011 10:23:56 PM

  18. So a gay guy who has come to terms with his sexuality and religion, and you guys don't congratulate him on being happy, or finding peace, or surviving his ordeal. You bash him for believing in something different than you?

    Why does this sound so familiar?

    Because he has learn to navigate a situation that many of you could figure out, you bash him instead of saying "Congrats, Live Well"?

    You guys make atheists look like miserable people.

    Posted by: PKM | Sep 28, 2011 10:44:54 PM

  19. "Guilt from his mother, who is a minister"

    Note to Gabriel's mom: "dear, you do realize don't you that the same apostle paul who has MISled you to play the guilt card on your son is the same apostle paul that said that women have no place in the pulpit...how do you reconcile your inconsistency in the fair application of scripture?"

    sigh. people like gabriel's mom are the type of people that give the rest of us christians a bad name.

    Posted by: David Milton Greer | Sep 28, 2011 11:58:03 PM

  20. I have to agree PKM. I find the atheists need to shove their beliefs down everyone's throat by belittling them is no different than the religions they hate. Does the term bully mean anything?

    Posted by: Joey | Sep 29, 2011 12:11:21 AM

  21. Wait, he does realize that God sat quiet through the Holocaust, but He/She is moved by one gay boy's angst? Wow. Just, wow.

    Posted by: Tikihead | Sep 29, 2011 12:50:00 AM

  22. LOL at PKM and Joey. And I do mean laugh AT.

    Posted by: Tikihead | Sep 29, 2011 12:58:08 AM

  23. @PKM and Joey: No, it's that we're incredulous that people would allow themselves to live a fiction for decades and not realize it. If it seems like atheists are miserable in calling other people stupid for making themselves miserable, then you're stupid. We're happy. Big difference.

    You can be happy without the religious fantasy. Very happy.

    Posted by: Paul R | Sep 29, 2011 5:33:55 AM

  24. And you can be happy and be religious at the same time.

    And I didn't say that atheists can't be happy. But the unnecessary bashing of a gay person of faith gives atheists a bad name.

    A happy person doesn't need to go out of their way to bash a person just because they don't agree with you.

    At the end of the day you guys are just a bunch of trolls giving the rest of your tribe a bad name.

    Posted by: PKM | Sep 29, 2011 6:34:24 AM

  25. Cool.
    Cheers,Joe Mustich, CT USA
    Justice of the Peace,
    Minister, ULC

    Posted by: Joseph A. Mustich | Sep 29, 2011 6:46:07 AM

  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment


« «New Details Call 'Homosexuality Is Wrong' Student's Story Into Question« «