Geoffrey Hooper struggled to accept both his vocation to priesthood and his gay sexuality. Discarding masks of denial and self-deception he ended his thirteen year marriage and moved from comfortable parish ministry in the Cotswolds to East London. There he headed-up a large charity at the cutting edge of alleviating social deprivation and lived openly in a gay partnership. After being awarded a MBE he moved close to his daughters in Wales to work as a NHS and Relate psychotherapist. Geoffrey’s memoir, An Honest Life, was published in 2014.
“There was a growing awareness, probably brought on most powerfully for me when I went to theological college and for the first time came across people who clearly had a gay identity. It wasn’t called that then, the word hadn’t been invented. I looked around for any literature I could find that would give me information and there simply was none. I remember the earliest document I found – a pamphlet produced by the Quakers ‘Towards a Quaker View of Sex,’ which was the first time anything in the Christian domain came out addressing the subject, which of course was very accepting from their perspective. (But) what I was getting through my theological education was a reinforcement of what I had got through my Sunday school and church choir and scouting. It was all wicked and sinful.”
“I couldn’t hold the dishonesty and the secrecy and I went to my director/confessor, Warden of my Theological College – the person with whom I would shared my secrets. I poured out my heart and I was told, ‘don’t worry Geoffrey, you’ll find this is absolutely normal at this stage of life here. When you get married these feelings will go away.”
You can hear Geoffrey’s story here.