This is my life story: about my coming to terms with my sexual orientation, and identity, and my finding my answer and a life of hope, joy and freedom, in the Roman Catholic apostolate known as Courage. In short: I have been a member for 18 months, and I have found the answer to what I had been struggling with all my life, unsuccessfully, until that point. 

I have been aware of a very strong sexual drive from my primary (grade) school years, and from early teens I have been aware that I can be excited by either males or females. Unfortunately, the people I lived amongst, at the time, convinced me that that was “totally depraved”. So, I spent most of my life alienated from my very self, as our sexuality is so central. Indeed, I was seriously suicidal throughout secondary (high) school, entirely because of this rejection, and needed help. 

I also had real gender identity issues in my schooldays and prayed to be a boy by some kind of magic. I used to dress as one, play with them in pursuits thought to be traditionally masculine in those days, and would certainly have been flagged up as a trans child today. Mercifully, for the female I am today, in those days we were not given any kind of permanent gender reassignment. I am happy in a female body today. This is not to condemn others; I am just offering my own experience. Courage itself, of course, espouses Catholic Social Teaching in its entirety, as indeed do I.  

In mid-adulthood, I identified with the emerging LGBTQIA+ rights movement. I called myself LGBT and went to a Pride march. For a while, I thought I had found freedom. But I was uneasy in my conscience, and it did not conform to my Catholic values. I never did actually act out with a female during that time, for that reason. Later I contacted Courage, as I say, the Catholic resource for LGBT+ people, having by this time converted to that Faith  

I learned to call myself by the Catholic concept of “same-sex attracted”. The chaplain (priest overseeing) of my nearest chapter replied to my enquiring email immediately and has been looking after me by email and phone calls ever since. 

Courage is fairly widely scattered, still, a very underdeveloped resource in the Church, given how many like me struggle in silence, or go against their consciences. My chapter is on the other side of the country. So, I could not attend, but the chaplain supported me, and I sent him a full Step 1 (life story if you like) of the 12 Step programme Courage sometimes utilizes to help members in their pursuit of the five goals (Courage is not a 12 Step group per se). He was very helpful in response. I have since lived a life consistent with my true conscience and found contentment under this process. 

Courage has found video conferencing, and I now attend the chapter fortnightly by that medium. I am overjoyed. I am entirely among men at the moment, but they are my brothers, as we are on the same quest to live lives of chastity and purity, under God, in the Catholic Church. They treat me as a sister, with perfect propriety. They actually seem to like and to respect me, whereas my original background had rejected me for my sexuality. They certainly do not in Courage. 

The other chapter members and chaplain give me accountability and feedback, and the chapter now uses a chat app, so we interact, share meditations and encouragement, and request prayers, on that. I have found the fulfilment I had so wrongly sought before. I have never been so happy in my life, finally finding peace and joy. 

I told my parish priest, then later my bishop, of my Courage membership. I also suggested to the bishop that I would be very happy to talk further, if he wished to start a Courage chapter in my diocese. I am sure he is thinking that over and will get back to me if I can be of any help. 

I owe Courage my very confidence and happiness, and I am delighted to be able to repay in some small measure, by writing my story for them. 

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Kathie is a widow and a member of the Courage chapter in London, England.





The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.