Well maybe a few things.
What’s stranger still is that, at bottom, the “ex-gay” and I are simply different sides of the same coin. I thought about it as I was getting lunch, and realized that the eatery was playing instrumental Christian “Muzak” over the AP. I recognized one of the chorus of one song that I grew up hearing and singing, around the time I was coming out (at 12): “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burdens of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received by sight, and now I am happy all the day.”
The difference between the “ex-gay” and me is simple one of different burdens, different struggles. The minister Wayne Besen rights about, sees his sexuality as a burden, a cross to bear. Growing up and coming out in a similar religious context, for me, has meant something different. Despite all my noise about being “out, loud, and proud” the struggle for me has been to let myself believe that I’m worthy of love and happiness “Just As I Am,” to borrow a phrase from another hymn. The burden is having been taught almost from the beginning that I don’t, and contending with people who still believe that.
Which struggle is harder? Which burden heavier? I can’t say. For me, there just wasn’t any other real choice.
As a confirmed Kinsey six, I’m one of those people the folks mentioned above would rather see “living a chaste life” or one of those people they think should “just be alone.” I’m one of those people that even they are beginning to realize they can’t change, and so they’ll settle for getting us to fit into a box they’re a little more comfortable with. I’m one of those people they’d sentence to roll a rock up a hill only to watch it roll back down again, over and over, like Sisyphus. And they’d have believe I’m better off that way.
One look at my life, one look into my husband’s eyes, one look at my son’s smile and I know the “ex-gay” herd has nothing better to offer. Nothing remotely close.
It all comes down to this. You can take a load of crap, put it between two pieces of bread, and call it a sandwich. But don’t expect that to make it so. And don’t expect me to buy it.
And this from a post I that was lost in a database crash.
And at the end of the day, if you ask me, it doesn’t matter why I am or anyone else is gay. What matters is that we’re treated equally before the law and as human beings.
These days, with the reality of a new baby in the future, I’ve been pushing myself away from the computer in the evenings, and spending them on the floor with playing with Parker, and the later on the couch snuggling with my husband, just talking and watching television together and talking. One thing that comes up for both of us is that when we were both going through our coming out processes, years before we met, was whether or not we imagined that the life we have together today would ever be possible, that either of us would ever be this happy or in a relationship this great. (I wasn’t so sure back the. But he, according to him, never doubted.)
A couple of weeks ago, we were cuddled up on the couch together watching In the Life, and it happened to be an an episode about an incredible young woman in conservative Iowa, who came out as a lesbian and started a Gay/Straight Student Alliance at her school. (It also has a great segment about Jeremy Hooper, who writes one of my favorite blogs, Good As You.) You can watch it for yourself, but here’s the basic story.
Emily Frerichs of Orange City agonized about telling her classmates last year that she is gay. Once she did, she said her real agony began, and the carefree high school days she had known ended.
Her closest friends shunned her. Her car was vandalized. Anonymous e-mail messages warned her that she was going to hell, she said.
“Everyday life had become a battlefield,” the 17-year-old senior at MOC-Floyd Valley High School told a Drake University conference Tuesday.
“I was no longer known as Emily, the girl who loved to sing, act, make jokes and play guitar,” she said. “Students and teachers and faculty chose to view me as kid with some sort of sickness who needed to be cured.”
And she got little support from school administrators, who initially banned her from the girls locker room until she demanded change. But what really struck me about Emily’s story is that she’s a devout Christian, and when she sat down to talk with her minister to talk about reconciling her sexual orientation with her faith, part of their discussion went something like this.
Pastor: Really, from a Christian perspective there’s two good optoions. One option, and probably the only one that seems possible at first is to say “I have these feelings and because of what God’s word says, I’m not going to act on these feelings. In other words celibacy, basically. Erotic, romantic relationships with the same sex is really not a Christian option.
What if you could see battling living out a homosexual lifestyle wasnt’ a battle that would give you less joy, but more joy?
Emily: I don’t know. It’s really hard to explain how i feel about it, because it’s like How am i supposed to fight a natural attraction that I have for the rest of my life? I don’t honestly think i could be happy if i tried to do that and for that reason I don’t think I will.
It always seems that the best these people can offer is the choice to either live alone or live a lie. (Remember, from a previous post and the one that got lost, a lot of these organizations are backing away from the notion of changing peoples’ sexual orientation, and settling instead for encouraging incurable queers to live “chaste lives.”) And both of those choices come with the bonus of fighting a lifelong, and most likely a losing battle against being who you are.
The best they can offer is that being gay means you have to accept less from life and expect less from life than everyone else, because you are less than everyone else. They have a right to more of life than you do. If nothing else, the past week has shown us what kind of personal destruction lies down that road. By all accounts, and based on his own words, Mark Foley accepted that bargain for most of his life. Langston Hughes once suggested that a “dream deferred” inevitably explodes. And now it seems that a life deferred inevitably implodes.
In that sense, the beginning of survival, as well as integrity, is coming out.