I've been coming OUT since the spring of 1994 shortly after I moved to Northwest Portland. I've found that coming OUT is not an event but a process. To start coming out is not an easy thing to do, in general, and in my case was not either. In fact, I'd say it was the scariest thing I've ever done. There are many aspects to deal with, self, family, friends, church, work. I did not begin tackling the family OUTing until about a year ago -- first to my brother and sister and brother-in-law, then about 9 months later to my mom. I assume she told my dad, but i'm not really sure because we have not talked about it since.
Dealing with self was first, and was very closely associated with dealing with the church -- the most difficult for me. Most of the time was/is spent trying to decide what I believe(d) but most of the turmoil was manifested dealing with people whom I loved and respected but with whose opinions I did not agree. Several books helped. A Stranger at the Gate, an autobiography by Rev. Mel White, and Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, by John Spong were two of the most noteworthy.
The former deals with a man, who had a similar background to my own. He was raised in a Pentecostal Christian family, and had a commitment and relation with Jesus Christ. But at the same time he was gay. We spend the first part of his life hoping that noone would ever find out, and hoping that though self denial and commitment to God, the homosexual feelings would subside. Mel eventually came to the conclusion that the feelings were not going to go away, and that to be true to his Creator, he must acknowledge them and appreciate them as part of the Creator's divine plan. A sexual orientation is just a small part of what makes a person unique and special in God's eyes, like left/right handedness, skin/hair/eye color, body type, intelligence, personality etc...
The other book was written by an Episcopal Bishop. It is a hermeneutic look at the Bible and deals with several questions: How did the Bible come to be; Who were the authors; What were their motivations and agendas; and What is its relevance today. The book strives to present the Bible in a context that makes it consistent and relevant to our society today. In order to do so the prejudices of the authors and the social situations in which they lived and wrote had to be exposed. Over the course of the book he addresses many issues that are seen as contraversial, including divorce, the role of women, homosexuality, and others.
In the future I'll try to include a more detailed review of these and other books.
I am unfortunately single at the moment. But do not intend to stay that way the rest of my life. I do not think i'm being unreasonable in my expectations for what I'd look for in a companion?
Here is a brief treatise on what I and some other people think the Bible has to say about Homosexuality.