One of the favored myths that the Christofascists seek to perpetuate is that being gay is "a choice" and that through accepting Jesus - and typically paying thousands of dollars to some bogus "ex-gay" ministry - one can somehow be miraculously "cured" and suddenly sexually aroused by those of the opposite sex. It, of course, doesn't work as I know from trying to be "cured" for over 37 years and the only beneficiaries are the "ministries" who pocket the cash and the far right which parades out pathetic "ex-gays" as a demonstration why gays need no legal protections. A leader in this quackery in the past has been Exodus International. Yesterday, Exodus issued an apology for its past deliberate lies and misdeeds. Here are highlights:
Several months ago, this conversation led me to call Lisa Ling to take another step on this messy journey. I asked if she would, once again, help us add to the unfolding story by covering my apology to the people who have been hurt by Exodus International. Our ministry has been public and therefore any acknowledgement of wrong must also be public. I haven’t always been the leader of Exodus, but I am now and someone must finally own and acknowledge the hurt of others. I do so anxiously, but willingly.
It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.
It is also strange to be an outcast from powerful portions of both the gay community and the Christian community. Because I do not completely agree with the vocal majorities in either group and am forging a new place of peaceful service in and through both, I will likely continue to be an outsider to some degree.
We have done wrong, and I stand with many others who now recognize the need to offer apologies and make things right. I believe this apology – however imperfect – is what God the Father would have me do.
I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma. I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me.
And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there.
I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. . . . . I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.
There is more, but you get the drift. I can only imagine the spittle eruptions and shrieks and convulsions that these very true statements are causing amongst the "godly Christian" folk at hate groups like Family Research Council, The Family Foundation here in Virginia, the National Organization for Marriage, all of whom disseminate lies and untruths daily.