Over the last week an "ex-gay" champion engaged me in an email debate over my "leading gay people to destruction" by taking them "further away from the light of God" and "into the ways of the world".
I brushed aside images of being a transgender "Moses" (or "Moselina")leading the downtrodden masses across a candy-floss desert in my bright pink cape, imagining various forms of burning bush and grinning annoyingly from behind my false beard. Achoo.
As our correspondence gradually departed from friendly courtesy and drifted closer to open hostility, I took note of the apparent ignorance of self and deep-seated fear this person had of his own sexuality and nature. It was also clear to me that he was quite young, perhaps just out of school - or even in his early twenties, which made it all the more tragic. On the other hand he is young and has plenty of time left to learn the truth for himself - assuming he doesn't catch "ex-gay" first - and that has a pretty high mortality rate.
This person, let's call him "Roger" *wink* - wanted to remain anonymous (naturally) - but since I only knew him by his email address, and the name he gave me could be fake in any case - and since he was on the newsletter mailing lists for one of the advocacy groups I am involved with, that didn't make much difference. His first mail to me was a reply to a news update I sent out about some or other matter affecting the pink community. Clearly this poor guy is very conflicted - being gay and in denial - and also a religious fundamentalist voluntarily on the mailing list of a gay advocacy group! Quite a conundrum!
His mails were filled with rhetoric and propaganda which reminded me strongly of the same stuff I see applied against the pink community by "ordinary" heterosexist bigots. His first mail was to inquire whether the organization I represented was religious or not and the second was to berate me for not using religion to try and "convert" happy and healthy gay people into miserable and suicidal religious fundamentalist straight wannabees. (See my earlier fantasy about being 'Moselina'.)
To see something like this coming from a gay person in denial of his own sexuality is most disturbing indeed - and indicates to me the level of confusion and internalized homophobia in such victims of that horrible industry. His mails were replete with statements of denial, mention of "unwanted same sex attractions" and a haughty arrogance which chide the gay community for being gay and for accepting scientific facts over what he claims "the bible says".
Take for example statements such as this:
"I am living proof that God has taken me out of the homosexual lifestyle and cured me."
Such a statement makes the assumption that being gay is wrong, sinful and also some form of disease. If you apply logic to such a statement it shows the thought processes behind it, which look as follows:
- God created me heterosexual, just as I believe he made everyone heterosexual.
- If I find myself drawn to same sex partners it is my own sinful nature and perversion which I cannot explain.
- I choose to sin and to have sinful thoughts of an unnatural homosexual nature.
- I consider such obviously sinful thoughts an obsession and it is my duty as a Christian to suppress them.
- As it is unnatural to be gay, it is a disease or a sexual obsession which I can choose to follow or to deny.
- If I pray hard enough - or try hard enough, God will cure me of this condition.
- Therefore, if I believe God made me heterosexual, being gay is a choice or an illness and can change or be changed or healed or cured.
Of course, as with most assumptions about homosexuality, it shows a glaring lack of understanding of human sexuality and its origins. It casts an interesting light on fundamentalist bigots - and perhaps reveals them to be people obsessed by the rules - and how they apply to other people. There has been a great deal of research into this matter over the centuries, some of which has produced fairly accurate results - and some of which has produced nothing more than second-rate Cameronian propaganda and biased and prejudiced junk-science of the same calibre as the rubbish used by the Nazis to "prove" that so-called "Aryans" are in any way superior to any other human race.
Firstly, homosexuality occurs frequently in nature - completely debunking the claim that homosexuality is "unnatural". (Certain fish which change physical gender naturally do the same for the cause of transgender people.) Secondly, science may not have isolated a specific gene or gene sequence yet which controls human sexuality - but that may yet happen in future. In any event, science HAS shown beyond any doubt that sexuality and sexual orientation - as with gender identity - are all consequences of biological action, either on the part of our own bodies, or those of our parents - and more importantly, that it is completely natural. Thus whether it is genetic or hormonal - it is NATURE, and NOT nurture which makes a person gay or transgender. This of course removes the element of choice - and therefore sin - from the equation surrounding the question "what am I?" and ergo, the issue of BEING gay. Choice and sin of course come into an equation all their own when you decide what you are going to DO about it.
If you are religious and believe that fornication and adultery are sinful behavior, then even if you are gay and you indulge in these acts you are no less guilty - or no more innocent of these sins than your religious heterosexual fellows - in terms of your particular religion of course. But as for being gay being a sin, I for one cannot reconcile God creating people gay with what so-called religious experts are persecuting us for. At the risk of sounding increasingly like Mr Spock, it appears "highly illogical, Captain" *lifted eyebrow*. It seems to me that somebody has their lines crossed - or double-crossed.
Taking into consideration that religion is the generally applied reference used to determine what is sin and what is not, it is fairly easy to see where fundamentalists go wrong in the thought process regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Scientists prove something as soundly as dropping a rock on your big toe proves that gravity is not a myth and they claim "I cannot go on what doctors and professors and scientists say, but I will have to go with what is written in the bible" - and this is exactly where they make their mistake.
Fact vs fiction - and they choose fiction. If you release a hammer, it will fall.
Scientific fact, try it yourself and see. Mind your toes.
The facts show that people's sexuality is influenced by genetic and hormonal factors before birth - check that with the scientists who proved it and see. Did they make that all up? Are they part of some global conspiracy to discredit the bible and Christianity? Or are some people reading between the lines of their holy book (or is their book missing a few chapters?) and perhaps taking the idea that the universe was created in seven days a little too literally? These things do not change or become false just because a book written (and changed piecemeal) by ordinary people says different.
"I am living proof that God has taken me out of the homosexual lifestyle and cured me."
Let's test that against the scientific argument,
- I was born gay or transgender. (The propeller-heads backs me up on this).
- My thoughts about sexuality and relationships are the same as any heterosexual person, with the exception of the gender of either my partner or myself.
- My sexual orientation and gender identity are completely natural because I was born this way (just ask the gay penguins in East London zoo).
- Because this is how I was born and this is who I am, my sexual orientation or gender identity, however flexible, cannot be changed - and that since it is immutable it is not a "disease" to be "cured", and to attempt to do so would injure my sense of self-worth and destroy me as a person (check with all the so-called ex-gays who survived and now combat this vile industry).
- If I believe in a God, and that God created me - then considering that I was so by birth, I have to believe that this is HOW this God created me and intended for me to be.
- Because of this I cannot conceive that my being gay or transgender could in any way be a sin in the view of the God who created me thus.
If all this is true, then is it not a logical conclusion that if God created us as gay and transgender people, and he claims to love all those he created, then he also loves us as he made us?
In this case, the glaring question of incongruity presents itself -
why do some Christians claim that God hates gay people?
Indeed, some gay people suffering from internalized homophobia, being so afraid to face their own nature - or admit it to themselves - even go so far as to agree with them.
The reason religion comes up so often in the debate about sexuality is because of the undeniable fact that the pink community is constantly under attack from religious zealots with a poor understanding of both gay or transgender people as well as their own sexuality and religions - and who glory in the hatred and persecution of people they mistakenly view as a threat to their own faith and way of life.
Fundamentalist bigots - people obsessed by the rules - and how they apply to other people.
Like many others it seems they have been fooled into thinking that the same God who created all people hates his own creation. There is no such thing as an "ex-gay" - if you are born gay or transgender, you are gay or transgender always - the ministries which preach "conversion therapy" employ lies and deceit to achieve their own political and religious aims to destroy us.
Nowhere does the Christian bible actually in those words claim God hates gay people - and even if it did, one should bear in mind that the religious texts today called the "word of God" were in fact written by fallible mortal men. Science and medicine have in fact shown sufficient evidence that people are born gay or transgender, while the burden of proof, as always therefore rests with the religious, to substantiate their intolerant claims that gay and transgender people are "sinners" - specifically for how they are born - and in any way "evil", or "a threat to society, civilization" or "the family".
As you should be able to see, this they are unable to do.
Being faced with so much religious propaganda, it is easy to understand that gay people themselves (especially those who do not know who they are) can become doubtful and also inwardly homophobic and intolerant of themselves and each other. This is one of the aims of the "ex-gay" movement, to eliminate gay people as a "threat" by neutralizing them either by suppressing themselves and denying they are gay - or by making them so miserable and broken that they become suicide statistics, making them correct in their absurd claim that "homosexuality is a suicidal lifestyle".
Because this is how I was born and this is who I am, my sexual orientation or gender identity, however flexible, cannot be changed - and that since it is immutable it is not a "disease" to be "cured", and to attempt to do so would injure my sense of self-worth and destroy me as a person. By this logic it is clear that anyone promoting a group claiming to supposedly "cure" gay or trans people is not concerned about the well-being of such people - but is intent on their destruction.
By this I mean they view the gay civil rights movement as a threat to their supremacy - and in order to combat this they figured out that the most effective way is to make gay people doubt themselves, suppress themselves, agree with their narrow-minded views and swallow all the bullshit they feed them in the guise of truth and fact. Thus, the more gay people become immobilized by their deception, the less effective the civil rights movement will be. The part they hope for most is that the "ex-gays" will eventually outnumber those who reject their fallacies and hate mongering and continue resisting their fascist drive. If this ever happens, in my opinion - we are as good as dead.
The truth is, there is absolutely nothing bad or wrong about being gay or transgender in itself. In the end their fight with those who recognize and accept their true nature and sexuality is all about religion - and their word against ours. The trouble for them is that they are running into battle wearing cardboard armor and waving plastic swords because they have no science or fact to back them up. Not even one single solitary fact.
If you examine the propaganda they employ against the pink community you will see that they base this opinion on ignorance and misinterpretation of their bible - but yet they are the ones standing there with our blood on their hands pretending to do the will of God and patting themselves on the back for it.
For centuries they have twisted religious texts to do their bidding and used God as a weapon against us - and some people will actually come to believe that they are evil for "defying God" in being who they were born to be - and yet in the end we do not defy God - but only them.
When it comes to us and them, I have an idea which of us is going to have more
to answer for, and I sincerely doubt it will be us.
If science shows you were born gay or transgender and you believe you were created by a god, you do not think it likely that it was this God who made you so? Why would a loving God create a person such and then curse and condemn them - and justify the waging of a war against them? Something is broken here - and it sure looks like it's the "logic" applied against us by people who strive to remove our human rights along with our humanity and the fact of our existence - and who paradoxically insist on calling themselves "loving" and "true" Christians.
As for being a believer, I think there is a god - in fact, I even hope there is - but being honest enough to admit I do not know if there REALLY is one - or WHO it is - I call myself an agnostic and not a Christian - for these days to call yourself a Christian seems to me no less than an insult to Christ, who loved all people - and died to save them. It seems to qualify as a "true" Christian these days one must be a fundamentalist bible bashing brute who hears and sees nothing - not even the suffering and misery they cause others, and to revel in injustice and to call it "God's will".
I would like to point out that as an agnostic and former Christian I do not use the bible as a reference or guide by which to live my life. It has been changed too much and misinterpreted and even mistranslated and so I cannot tust it. If you do some research I think you will find how fallible and censored the bible is, having been edited (missing almost 40 original books - which drastically alters the context of much of the remaining material), edited and changed by various religious and political leaders through the years.
God gave us brains - I intend to use mine and not to allow some ignorant bronze-age sheepherders who knew even less about life than I do tell me how to live. God, whoever he or she is, can judge me by the life I have led and by my own merits - and not by the laws set down by men and modified by them whenever they saw fit.
"I am living proof that God has taken me out of the homosexual lifestyle and cured me."
"Honey - you are bluffing yourself. There is no cure for something which is not a disease.
If you are so "straight" then how do you somehow manage to have a gay "past" which you keep talking about? Why are you on the mailing list for a gay organization and why are you so clearly obsessed with your own all too obvious sexuality?
Because you can't get it out of your head, can you? (Better up that monthly subscription to Exodus, or pray harder, huh?)"
Are you an "ex-gay"? Do you make the same claim as this poor misguided soul? Do you need to cling to your obviously fragile "faith" to stop you from bursting back out of your neat convenient little "ex-gay" closet?
Knowing who you are is half the peace of accepting yourself. The struggle for peace inside you only ends when you accept who you are - the gay person you believe God made you to be. Whether you are gay or not, God made you and loves you. Lies put in his mouth by people do not change that.
Even leading so-called "ex-gays" in the worldwide movement, admit that they cannot "cure" homosexuality - all they can do is get people to lie to themselves and to other people, and to deny what they STILL truly are and always will be. Every so often one of them - or their religious right wing leaders, tumbles famously out of their closet, still clinging desperately to the hangers. If that doesn't cut right to the heart of the matter I don't know what will.
"If you (gay couples) are together for longer than 7 years please let me know and I will promise you I will believe your relationship is right."
As for your sarcasm here, let me point out the countless gay couples who are celebrating their togetherness for more than 25 years - and I happen to know a few personally. Does this mean you will keep your word? I have my doubts. In answer to this meaningless shot in the dark - let me ask you how many hetero marriages last more than two years these days, let alone seven - and even so, does that make them right? And if so, who cares? I don't. And I could care less what these people believe - I don't need their validation. The point is, a person's sexuality and who they love is their own business - and nobody - NOBODY - has the right to tell a person who they can or cannot love or marry or have a relationship with.
This person - a gay man claiming to not be gay "anymore" sounded in his arguments so much like the fundamentalist bigots I have had so much to do with in my encounters. "It's all about sex" he claimed, "and depravity." "You won't be able to remind me that I am gay, because I am not and will never be again." - oops, you did it 'again'. Oh honey, you still are gay - always will be. And you keep on proving it. Stop being ashamed of who you are.
I'm sorry you can only see sexual obsession in same gender relations and not love -
kindly do not impose your own failures on others who can, and mind your own business.
While I might pity you for your own struggles to accept your own sexuality, I cannot stand idly by while you try to convince others to follow you into your self-imposed prison of misery and death. That puts you on the other side of the chess board - with the James Dobsons and Paul Camerons of this world - standing beside the likes of the killer that butchered two people at the gay youth center in Tel Aviv, Israel on Saturday night.
This person - "Roger" - only wanted to provoke an argument - well, I long ago learned that there is clearly no point in arguing with a fundamentalist - besides the fact that aside from hate and the ignorance of their followers, they really have nothing to fight with. Unlike my replies and the links to medical and scientific articles I sent him - he can never delete the truth - it is out there - and inside him as well. And his own nature is indelible. It will always be there to remind him of who he is, what he denies himself and one day, inevitably, it will become too much for him. And perhaps in his fervor and zealotry to be "right" and "perfect", he will prove them right about their claim that "homosexuality is a suicidal lifestyle" as well.
Gay, and yet so terrified of accepting who you are. I could almost pity you, for all the harm you do to yourself and others like you.