In one study on sexual identity among Chistians, both those who identified with a gay identity (and were part of the Metropolitan Community Church) and those who dis-identified with a gay identity (and were part of Exodus) shared information on their experiences. Interestingly, both groups talked about what might be considered congruence. Both wanted to line up their behavior/identity and their beliefs/values. Those who identified as gay appeared to line up their beliefs/values with their behavior/identity as gay, while those who dis-identified with a gay identity appeared to line up their identity/behavior with their beliefs/values (with this group, identity was often “in Christ” and behavior often reflected chastity).
In addition to congruence, there were differences with respect to attributions about the meaning of same-sex attractions. Those who identified as gay tended to attribute their attractions to who they “really are”; their attractions signalled their “true self” as gay. In contrast, those who dis-identified with a gay identity tended to attribute their attractions to other things (e.g., a reflection of the fall, a result of strained parent/child relationships, etc.).
One last thought: For those Christians who identified with a gay identity, authenticity meant worshipping God as who they really are – that attempting to approach God while not acknowledging their gay identity would be inauthentic. In contrast, those who dis-identified with a gay identity tended to view authenticity as important too – that they would approach God on His terms and not form an identity as gay.
For reflection: Is congruence a reasonable outcome that mental health professionals could work toward when it comes to sexual identity concerns in counseling? How important is it to live authentically? What are your impressions about how authenticity might be defined differently by different people?