Being the Change — One Gay man’s journey to reconcillation with the Church.

Ken Saunders
5 min readOct 14, 2019

I wasn’t born into the Catholic Church, I came to it on my own during my teens. I was born into a pretty non-sectarian family. The earliest memories I have are full of turmoil and chaos. My mom was killed in a car accident when I was just three. There was a shuffling and court cases, and in the end, I ended up with my father and his new wife. She legally became my mother, and very soon after, they divorced, my mom and I moved from Florida back to New York, where she had grown up. Probably the other unusual thing about my mom was that she had grown up in the Church, in fact, she went to Marymount in Nyack from the time she was very young through her second year of college. She was in Mexico just before I was born, exploring her own vocation when things suddenly and deeply changed for her.

It was during the late ’60s that I was initially exposed to Catholicism by way Sisters at Marymount. I was fascinated by their habits, the structure, and joy that almost all of them displayed. I had no formal relgious education until my 3rd grade when I was enrolled in parochial school, St. James in Carmel NY, that I could receive first Communion, which I did. I went back to public school that next year and all subsequent years after to my dissapointment. It seemed to me an oddity almost a hickup because after that one year we never really went to Mass or Church of any kind. Our household just wasn’t religious, and it was only years later that I learned what changed for my mother in Mexico that caused her rift with the Church.

By the time I was 9 years old, I had begun to notice I had feelings towards boys that I didn’t have for girls. I thought of girls as my “friends” and boys as something other than friends. I was in middle school when I first noticed these feelings; it was also when other kids started calling me names. I didn’t understand why or what it was they were calling me until I looked it up in the dictionary. I thought to myself that the first time I read the definition of “homosexual,” yep, that’s me. I completely identified with the description and then almost as quickly felt a sense of foreboding. I didn’t want to be gay, not because I thought anything was wrong, but because I knew that it meant I would have to deal with other people’s judgments. The Church didn’t play a role in my life until I was 13 and had a…

Ken Saunders

Born in New York, schooled in the Berkshires, Became an adult in L.A., found my Soul in Seattle. Been writing & drinking copious amounts of coffee since 2012.