John E. Sidle
I attended Cedarville from 1981 to 1985. I have some great memories of my college years and the great friends I made there. Coming from a very strict upbringing by Baptist missionary parents, Cedarville provided a good transition for me as I learned to think and live on my own. Nevertheless, I have known I was gay since I was in grade school, and I found myself very conflicted over my sexuality and my religious beliefs during my time there.
Following graduation from Cedarville, I moved to Philadelphia where I worked for a few years before attending medical school at Temple University. I moved to Indianapolis in 1993 to complete a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Indiana University. Despite my assertion that I would never stay in the conservative Midwest, I took a job at Indiana University School of Medicine after residency. Since 1998, I have been involved with the IU-Kenya Partnership, a partnership between IU and Moi University in Kenya.
I currently live fulltime in Kenya where I run a rural HIV/AIDS clinic for AMPATH, Kenya's largest HIV/AIDS treatment program. I am also a Field Director of Research for the IU-Kenya Partnership and oversee collaborative research projects between the two universities.
I was over 30 before I became comfortable with my sexuality. I tried dating women and praying for my feelings to change, but eventually I came to accept the fact that being gay is just an intrinsic part of me-not a choice, just a fact. Acceptance of myself has made my life immensely better and happier. It has also improved my spirituality. My intense conflict over my sexual orientation was actually an impediment to me finding any spiritual footing at all.While I retain a strong belief in God and consider myself a Christian, I know that spirituality is a progressive journey for me. The God I believe in today is very different from the one I was raised to believe in. Luckily, I had some wonderful friends and a very tolerant Methodist church to help me along that path.
I am hopeful that our stories on this website will help some other conflicted young men and women to accept themselves a little earlier than I did. It took me years to say this, but I'm happy that God made me gay.