I’m From Bismarck, ND.

by Kevin Tengesdal

Satellite overhead image of North Dakota from Google Earth 2022

Why am I gay?

I grew up during the ’70s and ’80s on a farm in rural North Dakota to loving, committed heterosexual parents in a Lutheran based home. I am the youngest of nine. I witnessed my siblings dating and marrying into heterosexual relationships. I grew up around the heterosexual relationships of my aunts and uncles and cousins. Outside influence, maybe?

We had a black and white TV with CBS, NBC and that was it. I did not know any “homosexual” influences of any kind. All I knew was that I had attractions to men instead of to females, opposite of the case of my classmates who were lusting with their teenage hormones after women. I was clueless as to what was “wrong” with me. I tried for years to “straighten” up. About the only thing I did not try was electroshock/conversion therapy and/or marriage. Yes, even Exodus International.

At the age of 34 or 35, after moving back home to North Dakota, I finally realized it was past time to acknowledge this is who I am. And in doing so, I began a closer walk with God. Along the line, some of my siblings and family have stepped away. But, also, friends have come along and replaced them, as my chosen family. So, it’s just who I have always been.

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