I tried, a few times over the course of the past 22 years, to wear the label “Ex-gay.” I even made fun of it by building a website called “Ex-gay Superstar.” That lasted six weeks because I simply couldn’t stand how that one little label was its own prison. It is stigmatizing, polarizing, and an inaccurate word on far too many levels. Using that label as a primary or secondary identity modifier is about as effective as placing my “husky” body into spandex: 1) It doesn’t work, 1a) it really really doesn’t work, 2) it is unsightly in more ways than I can actually see, and 3) no one, including myself, should have to be subjected to that uncomfortable, impractical, weirdness.
Yes, I just equated the “ex-gay” label to a
fat husky man in spandex. ::: laugh ::: Hmmm… I hope this makes the final edit.
TWO (Truth Wins Out) announced, well … “laughed at” … an FRC Action sponsored event of “Ex-Gay Pride Month” being cancelled (postponed?). I was surprised that it was ever even scheduled to begin with. Why would the Family Research Council … Action … sponsor this event? Is this a “jump the shark” moment for them as an organization? Seems like a desperate attempt for attention.
Regardless, here are the reasons why I can not support anything resembling “ex-gay pride” or talk of “ex-gay rights.”
Adopting identity politics as a way to approach and reinforce an “ex-gay” identity/community is pre-packaged lazy. It’s lazy messaging, lazy arguments, lazy policy/culture analysis. Just adding an “Ex-” in front of everything others have written does not make for a compelling argument or real in-depth analysis of what are the true issues. It assumes that a unified “ex-gay” community (that doesn’t actually exist) is deserving of protected class status. For example, the ex-gay Pride/Awareness organizers wrote in their cancellation announcement:
Due to legal actions such as the 2009 Superior Court Ruling in Washington, D.C. (that has now given discrimination protection to ex-gays in Washington, D.C.) the road to legal protection and recognition of ex-gays has been paved. Now it’s just a matter of us claiming our rights and demanding to be heard. This is precisely how the LGBT lobby has achieved so much over the last forty years – tirelessly chipping away at the legal system and patiently working within powerful educational, psychological, and medical communities, thereby creating allies and support. So must ex-gays do the same. We have long realized that LGBT organizations will not be our allies. We are routinely marginalized by organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) who routinely shut us out of the debate and refuse to give us a seat at the table.
This type of “demand” reveals what looks to me like jealousy; Well they have it so we should too! It also implies, to me, that the people organizing this event have a very low view of what it actually means to have protected class status. From my laymen’s perspective, that I have picked up over the years, the protected classes have to have:
- Economic Disenfranchisement: Something “ex-gays” have not experienced as a community (again, if there is a community.)
- Immutable Characteristics: I think if you claim to have “changed” your sexual orientation … your own testimony undermines this one. Plus, this implies that you are now heterosexual, which places you in the majority, not a sexual minority within a sexual minority needing protection from the more-power-than-you sexual minority. If that doesn’t make sense, welcome to the world of ex-gay identity politics.
- Proven systemic pattern of abuse: The only abuse that comes is when you place the “ex-gay” label on yourself and purposefully pick fights and write flippant insults. Being insulted by the APA, is not the same as seeing your whole family lynched, or being called 3/5ths of a person, or having police dogs purposefully attack you, or being denied the right to vote, or being burned with cigarettes as you peacefully demonstrate, or being chained to the back of a car, or a fence, to be murdered in some truly horrible ways. It’s not the same as being vastly underpaid and refused equal legal standing and protection because you are a woman. It’s not the same as being burned alive for not agreeing with the ruling authorities over the issue of water baptism.
People who do have same-sex attractions but don’t identify with the “gay” label are sometimes unfairly mocked or ignored but that occasional insult is not anywhere near the level of needing protected class status. In fact the pursuit of which will only create more pain and confusion to the benefit of no one.
Also, mimicking gay pride in this way is obviously a willful attempt to insult. Not only does the propagandizing of an alleged “ex-gay” community impose self-inflicted harm by ostracizing the people they claim to represent, it is a direct slap in the face to a generation that see’s gay pride as empowering and clarifying. “Ex-gay pride” is an indulgent attempt to project an “I’m not you, na na ne boo boo!” approach to the cultural dialog.
If I were the APA, I wouldn’t invite you to the table either.
Galatians 3:26-28 (NASB) reads:
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
There are no modifiers truly worthy of describing our position in Christ. We are not a this kind of or that kind of Christian. Dare I say as well as there not being any Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male or female … that there are no gay, ex-gay or straight either? I don’t mind what other people call me. If it helps them place me in some relatable frame of reference … ok. But as for me, the only person/position worthy of my primary identity is Christ. I am not ex-gay, I am Christian.
I have no interest in conjuring up ex-gay pride or fighting for ex-gay rights. Let’s talk about Christian humility through sacrificial service. Let’s talk about how the Son of God *willfully* laid down His rights to live, and chose to die, so that we would not have too. Let’s talk about true religious freedom and liberty, for all, and not take all the very worst of identity politics and demand “a place a the table.” I would rather hear about Christians holding fundraising banquets to bolster suicide intervention efforts, or help homeless gay teens, or support further efforts that provide for the common good. I would rather take a seat at the far back of a Trevor Project fundraiser, and not say a word, than stand in front of like-minded people demanding my rights. I have no interest in a toxic echo-chamber of newly created groupthink spun out of semi-clever talking points made up by yet another religious political group.
The problem with Ex-gay pride is that it is a distraction, a false context, not seeking a way forward but emphasizing the worst of the culture war with a really shallow new “brand” of identity politics.
The post represents my own views and not the views of my employer .