Focus on the Family will be in Indianapolis this weekend at Traders Point Christian Church putting on one of its ex-gay 101 conferences, ironically titled “Love Won Out” (I guess to them gay people are just a bunch of pathetic, loveless losers). The time will be spent telling folks that people can change their sexuality. Having spent years in such ministries myself, thinking about it brings up a lot of pain for me. Still, when PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, asked me for a few media quotes about my experience with “ex-gay” ministries to counter the views that will be presented by FOTF (an organization that spends much time working to legislate against families like mine), I thought I would try to help. Below are the thoughts I provided:
“After eleven years of struggling unsuccessfully to reorient my sexuality, I finally realized that my true struggle had been to fit into a religious community that only accepted me fully when I pretended to be someone I was not.
I was told by my ex-gay leaders that healthy same-sex couples were a myth, that they did not exist, and that any long-term gay couples were surely debauched in some way. To increase my odds of changing my same-sex attractions I chose to believe these statements as fact until I finally put myself in a position to learn otherwise. When I did actually look closely at the same-sex couples I met, in my case, at the Methodist church I attend, I found remarkable examples of commitment, fidelity, and unconditional love. Though legally still vulnerable these relationships thrive, often in the midst of great adversity and a striking lack of family support.
Being gay for me is like being right-handed. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. My family and my partner’s family see us as we see ourselves – as a mutually committed couple working hard to keep our family strong. And like any good family, our parents brothers and sisters all work along side us so that we might someday have the same opportunities to protect our family that they all have.
Keeping families strong is a full time job. It is sad that organizations like Focus on the Family work to make things even harder for families like ours by spending considerable time and money to keep them disadvantaged. It is especially hurtful that they do this under the guise of love and in the name of God.
Even though I now disagree with the assumptions that ground Love Won Out’s philosophy, it isn’t the presentation of an ex-gay point of view that concerns me. What is worrisome is the attachment of that point of view, at least in this case, to Focus on the Family, a powerful and well-funded political organization that prides itself on its efforts to further disadvantage the families of gay people.”