“Side B” vs. “Side Y”

The Gay Christian “Sides”
One of the members of the YOBBERS! group on Facebook summarized the “sides” with this helpful chart. (Patreon supporters of Your Other Brothers at the $5 or more per month level can get access to this group. Please forgive the advertisement!)

Mudblood Catholic (Gabriel Blanchard) wrote a really interesting seven-part (as well as an excursus and a postscript) series of blogs a while back on being “Gay and Catholic.” I encourage you to check out each post, starting with the first one that I’ve linked to.[1]

In “Part I: Gaystation 2,” Gabriel, a Side-B gay Catholic, outlines, as he puts it, “a quick run-down of the Christian views of homosexuality” using the widely accepted terminology of sides. “Side A” and “Side B” arose from a site called Bridges Across the Divide, which is now defunct but that you can see on Web Archive. These are generally accepted and understood terms for those in the know because they were popularized by the Gay Christian Network (GCN, now called Queer Christian Fellowship, or QCF), which not exclusively but generally promotes side-A theology. GCN calls this “The Great Debate”; hopefully my summary accurately reflects their positions:

  • Side A – God does not condemn homosexual genital contact within a faithful, committed, monogamous relationship (same-sex “marriage”)
  • Side B – God has defined marriage as the lifelong covenant between one man and one woman and any genital contact outside of marriage is sin. Therefore, he calls gay believers to the vocation of celibacy as how they are to live out their sexuality.

People connected with Bridges Across the Divide and GCN have also variously used “Side C” and “Side X” terminology:

  • Side C – Unsure of one’s views.
  • Side X – Being oriented[2] toward or sexually attracted to members of your own gender is a spiritual sickness and must be repented of and “cured.” Side Xers, then, usually espouse sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

Confused yet?

To all this, Gabriel adds “Side Y,” a term of which he acknowledges himself as the inventor:

  • Side Y – Although SOCE are generally ineffective and may be harmful, the Christian who finds himself oriented toward his own sex must renounce any identification with that orientation, meaning that sexually he will remain celibate and in every other area of life he will strive toward heterosexual norms.

(I do implore you to read Gabriel’s full post because he fleshes out these terms better than I have.)

I’ve outlined all that here simply to (a) define some terms that will likely appear semi-frequently on this blog and (b) confess my own uncertainty about these sides and which side I’m on.[3]

I am definitely not “Side A.” I am no seminarian, but the plain reading of Scripture according to the hermeneutic that makes the most sense to me rules out that view. (Someday I will write on this in greater depth.)

I am also not “Side X” at the opposite end of the spectrum. Why? Because I used to be. And it was awful. My efforts to become heterosexual left me spiritually broken and emotionally battered.

So I suppose I’m “Side C,” except not in the way that term was originally intended (somewhere between “A” and “B”). As I see it, there really are, or at least should be, three distinct “C” positions, which I’ve illustrated in the graphic below.[4]

The “Sides”

I find myself in the C² realm.[5]

That’s really all I care to say about the matter at the moment, but stay tuned for more . . .

And, as always, thank you so much for reading my random musings!

Updated 12 January 2018: An acquaintance of mine who considers himself “ex-gay” has offered some justified criticism of this post. My response here.

Updated 3 February 2018: Added the fact that GCN is now called QCF and updated the link to GCN’s old “The Great Debate” page to direct to Web Archive’s snapshot of it, since QCF no longer hosts the page.

[1] To read the entire series, it’s probably easiest just to head over to mudbloodcatholic.blogspot.com and find them under his archives (cleverly titled “The Archive of Angst”) on the right-hand panel. The “Gay and Catholic” posts were published between March and June 2016. A word of caution: Although I find Gabriel’s caustic humor and mildly crude language amusing, you may not.

[2] Someday (hopefully soon!) I will review Nate Collins’s rethinking of the language of sexual orientation as aesthetic orientation and its implications on the moral standing of one’s attractions. For now, take “oriented” as you will.

[3] You’ll notice that I’ve made no judgments here about the sides other nonstraight Christians take. I’m just talking about myself for the moment.

[4] I abhor words like “progressive” and “conservative” with all their political baggage, but deemed them helpful enough on this chart to make it worth it. Note that, as someone convinced by the traditional Christian sexual ethic, I don’t find Side-A theology “progressive” at all because it progresses right past the historic truths of the Bible, and true “progressives” should still care about Truth. Note also that, as someone convinced by the traditional Christian sexual ethic, I don’t find Side-X theology “conservative” at all because it conserves nothing of the love, grace, and acceptance that Christ stands for, and true “conservatives” want to be faithful to genuine Christian behavior (orthopraxy) as much as they are to Christian doctrine (orthodoxy). Beyond that, there is definitely room both to the philosophical/theological “left” of A and to the “right” of X.

[5] Since I used politics-laden terms in my chart, I guess I can at least take comfort that C² lies smack-dab in the middle, just like my personal political views—I describe myself as a “radical centrist.” 😉


Add yours →

  1. I just stumbled across this, thanks Aaron for this fascinating post. I do need to read and understand more about this. I have not been at peace with the fact that although I may have a beginning of understanding, sympathy, for all sides, my empathies have been all over the map on this. Perhaps now, I may find a little peace with the fact that I too, currently at least, am defaulting somewhere around the C2 position.

    I love this note:
    “true “conservatives” want to be faithful to genuine Christian behavior (orthopraxy) as much as they are to Christian doctrine (orthodoxy). Beyond that, there is definitely room both to the philosophical/theological “left” of A and to the “right” of X.”

    We are somewhere between right practice and right belief.

    Sincerely, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so incredibly helpful. I have shared it extensively with people in my church denomination. As a pastor who is same-sex attracted, I feel like I have had to “explain” what Side B means… and then now I explain what Side Y means. Thank you so much for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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