Dear Joe,I am in discussions now with a young person who is totally freaked out about being gay. She says her father, who she adores and idolizes, is a strict conservative Christian and she is sure that if he finds out, she will be thrown out of the house and will be cut off from the family she loves.
I found your blog today after googling for items about Exodus, the ex-gay organization you wrote about yesterday. I am a mom in Texas and I keep an eye on whatever Exodus is doing, because you see Joe, I found some of their materials among my son's personal items after he took his life in 2002. Joe, he was only 19 years old and he was just the sweetest boy you'd ever want to know. My son had problems, yes, but his father and I (we are divorced) both feel that the Exodus people took advantage of his confusion about who he was. Even though he knew that we loved him, they helped him hate himself. Please don't stop writing about Exodus and the terrible, terrible harm they do to young people. I miss my boy so much.
Just a mother, Texas
It's not that she's that uncomfortable about being gay. It's that she knows her father will never speak to her again. She said to me that she has, on more than one occasion, thought about suicide so that she can just never have to face that moment when he finds out.
Frequently, conservative Christians approach me and wonder why I can't take a "live and let live" approach to their attitude about homosexuality and this is it. Because they have been misled by a fundamentalist and literalist homophobic approach to the Bible, they are driven into this kind of anti-gay hatred that they don't even know is hatred. Instead, it seethes and boils beneath a "love the sinner, hate the sin" lie they tell themselves. I don't doubt their sincerity, but "they know not what they do."
I want to grab these parents and shake them and make them grow up and get into the 21st century and make them stop listening to the seuxal mores of 2000 year old civilization of desert dwellers who thought sperm held all the life and that women were nothing but "fertile soil." It's all so very, very wrong.
Kids and adults die because of this theology. And still they lie over and over about how people can "change." News item for the clueless, you cannot turn ungay. Period. It won't happen. Your kids are not going to turn ungay, and if you're gay, you are not going to turn ungay unless you're already bisexual and you want to suppress your gay side. But suppression is not change.
This is a life and death situation. Choose life.
Here's a link to the American Psychological Association Question and Answer on sexual orientation. (Thanks, Kibs).