Freedom from Religion

A quick story: A woman approaches me while I sit alone at my favy coffee shop. I am wearing headphones, reading some Shaman wisdom cards and writing in my journal about my need to pursue some form of spirituality without clinging to absolute truths. She sees the box of wisdom cards, interrupts my quiet time and asks me why I am seeking wisdom when “God is all I need.” It was “the Lord” who put this on her heart to say to me and it was “the Lord” who she has been following for 39 years. Unsolicited, she offers me Jesus, a Bible tract and her testimony. Somehow, my urge to mock her is silenced by the genuine look in her eyes, as she tears up, talking about her “master” who, mind you, “wants to be your master too.” I want to tell her I’m a lesbian pagan-ish homospiritual person with a Bible College degree and a school girl’s crush on Jesus. Instead, I smile and I nod. I ask her for her name because I want to look up its meaning. She says she “really hopes I’ll look for God because He is just waiting for me to accept Him,” I wish her well and I thank her kindly for following her heart.

I found out her name means “soft and tender” and it occurs to me… If only her religion was as soft and tender as her name and her face. 

But as my hands started to shake and my head started to spin after she walked out the door, I knew that what she was offering was toxic to me not because I don’t want Jesus but because I don’t want a “Lord” who speaks so intrusively and with such authority into someone else’s life.

When will people tire of questioning others about how they live their lives? When will “well-meaning Christians” accept me for who I am, just as I am? When will we truly coexist and cease needing to rescue one another with our spiritual choices?

Maybe I’ll ask my cards.

Until then, I celebrate that one thing is for sure: While I may not be able to forget the wounds from religious abuse at the hands of Christians, I do have freedom to pursue spirituality in whatever form I deem necessary, appropriate or supportive to me. And I do have the power of free thought, to question all that I have experienced. That, my friends, is freedom from religion… and it’s my unalienable right as a human on this beautiful Earth.

(P.S. Maybe some day I’ll share what I read in the cards… oddly enough, it had something to do with Father Sky and following the Great Spirit towards all things good. “Christian Tarot card readings,” next on For Gail So Loved the World ;0)  JUST KIDDING! )

Heal at your Own Rate

When an ex-gay leader comes out of the closet, looking for the light, I want to be a person who welcomes him into the beautiful truth that he cannot and should not crucify himself any longer at the Altar of Heterosexuality. No longer will he pretend he is someone he is not. No longer will he wish he were dead. No longer will he wonder why God is so hateful as to create such a flawed sexual identity. When an ex-gay leader comes out of the closet, I want to be a person who does not judge their history but has benevolence that comes out of abundant grace, flowing from a fount of forgiveness.

That’s a tall order.

I get it.

But it’s what I desire for myself.

When John Smid, a former ex-gay leader, announced his return to sanity this month (a.k.a. that he is a big homo after all), I know it stirred up a storm of reflection among all of us who identify as ex-gay survivors and definitely for those who still identify as “ex-gay.”

The thing about Smid though is that he wasn’t just another guy who led groups at Exodus International (or some over-bearing, manipulative woman at Prodigal Ministries in Cincinnati Ohio). He wasn’t merely facilitating conversations where people come to meetings and get their identities molested. He was a ring-leader at the ex-gay residential facility, Love in Action (which was shut down last month due to low funding and oh yeah, it doesn’t work). Now, I’ve never been to the Love in Action facility but what I imagine is that it magnifies the soul-raping that I attended in therapy sessions and “support” group meetings. Basically, they gathered in a location where no one was around to monitor all of this self-hate and heterosexuality worship, for months on end. They made promises to set you free, taught you that what you felt is wrong and swore that God loves you anyway…

It sounds like gang soul-rape…

So when it comes to healing from the wounds that were inflicted under this guy’s leadership, I can literally only imagine what kind of things went on, the faces he made, the words he used, the hugs he offered, the intentions he twisted, the stories he told, the prayers he prayed. It grosses me out to even try to imagine it.

Rather than going too far in empathizing with the survivors of Smid’s smut version of “healing,” I wanted to share a private encounter that I had with the spirit of my father yesterday and how it relates.

Okay, I didn’t really run into his spirit or anything, but he just died a month ago and I spend a lot of time thinking about him, missing him, trying to access the better parts of who he was and in doing that, I’ve been celebrating one of his quirky habits in conversation. (You may have to read this part aloud to fully come into the journey but come along… it will be enlightening and entertaining.)

My dad liked to speak by inverting letters in words or phrases, which weren’t always appropriate but were silly and sometimes very funny. For example, my name was Dale Gickert or he would call and say, “Hey honey, dow’s your hay?”

In fact, he would have full conversations like this sometimes and it would drive me bonkers. He would be explaining how the V.A. were nucking futs or how the guy hown the dall forgot to meet him at Kentucky Chied Fricken and I would finally exclaim, “Dad, please stop waying seird things to me!

Annoying, funny but well, that was my dad. He thought he was hysterical and only now when he doesn’t call and talk like a goof, do I realize how much I miss it.

So, I’ve been seeing and hearing things in those “inverted” ways since he died and today when I came home, I saw a card on the table that a friend got for me yesterday since I’ve been sick.

It said, “Heal at your own Rate.”

But I read…

Real at your own Hate.

Reel at your own Hate?

Be Real about your own Hate?

In that moment, I thought about healing from the ex-gay movement and Christian Fundamentalism. This healing is something that we do at our own rates but how true it is that part of healing is recognizing when to reel about the hateful things they did and reel because it is still being done!

To be even more honest, are we real about the hate that we have, towards them, not as people, but towards their deplorable actions? (or anyone who has hurt us, intentionally or not)

Personally, I can say that I’ve forgiven the ex-gay leaders of my past and all previous wounds to this date from the fundies. (I’m sure there are more to come.) I can also say, personally, that if John Smid wants to hit up a club with me, I will buy him a lap dance from the most beautiful drag queens in DC but this is me, healing at my own rate.

And that is all that matters.

We have that in common. We all have healing to let in and hate to let out.

This is the homospiritual journey, as I see it.

I’m thankful that I get to share it with all of you, regardless of the stages of our healing or the type of wounds people of “faith” have put upon us. We must forgive ourselves for letting it happen and forgive them but not without proper and full acknowledgment of what it means.

Thanks for being a part of this journey. I’m sending blany messings to you all!

Ex-Gay Activism: An Identity Crisis

Forgiving Exodus International for their soul-raping ways has left me with a mild case of identity crisis.

First of all, when you exist solely to fight your oppressor, your oppressor becomes a part of your identity.

Secondly, when you receive praise for fighting your oppressor, your oppressor’s existence also becomes latched into your self-esteem.

Finally, when you stop believing that your oppressor is your enemy, you’re left with the question…

Why am I doing any of this?

As most of you know, I published my first book 7 years ago, (http://rescuejesus.wordpress.com/lesbian-coming-out-book)  but then a series of wounds prevented me from moving forward in the “activist” scene. When I made this “triumphant return” 5 months ago, I thought for sure that my main objective would be to focus on the words, actions and energies that would create the best weapon for overcoming fundamentalism. (Ending Fundamentalism… the New F Bomb?) I thought I would craft powerful narratives that would light a fire under even the most complacent reader and we would all begin to see that Fundamentalism is a violent force against the very nature of the Divine and work towards its destruction.

I thought my calling was to shine the light on the darkness of my oppressors.

I thought that being right was the more important work that I was to be engaged in as a writer.

After all, what’s so wrong with being right?

Well, as I discussed in my forgiveness post to Exodus, focusing on being right maintains the same pattern of thought as what the fundamentalists teach. The need to be right is a vehicle that doesn’t have to lead to hate but it is one that knows the way… so forgiveness, for me, was getting out of that vehicle and learning to walk a different path.

What I’ve learned in the last 5 months is that this work is about relationships… and being whole is more important than being right.

Restoring a sense of personal power and a trustworthy community is more important than making sure Alan Chambers hears me call him a soul-molester.  (The truth: He is a soul-molester but he is also oppressing his own self and that must be a far greater pain than I can understand anymore).

So I will continue to call Exodus International what it is but let me be clear…

I exist not to shine the light on the dark world of Christian Fundamentalism.

I exist to be a light in the rainbow-colored world of those recovering from any kind of oppression, be it religious or otherwise.

I’m here to shine not for those in darkness…

But for those in dim, gray places where hope was almost lost.

I’m here… for survivors.

That is why For Gail So Loved the World exists…

I’ve never felt more whole than I do right now.

Thank you all for being here, where all are welcome… no exceptions.

I love you so much I could burst into a thousand rainbows.

~~

This post is dedicated to the fine healing work being done through New Wings. Please feel free to check out their website (www.new-wings.org) to learn more about how to be a part of healing from fundamentalism… we’re in this together.

As always, if you are a survivor of the ex-gay movement specifically, please reach out to our community at Beyond Ex-Gay. You are not alone. www.beyondexgay.com

Oh and no worries… I’ll still find a way to be a snarky satirist from time-to-time. I mean, I forgave the fundies but I didn’t have a lobotomy!

Exodus International, I Forgive You

When you see the end of an era coming upon your soul, resistance is futile… wholeness is the only option.Forgiveness

Exodus International, I forgive you for teaching me that there is a God who is intolerant of me.

Exodus International, I forgive you for pulling me away from my body.

Exodus International, I forgive you for pulling me away from my family.

Exodus International, I forgive you for dividing me from my own mind.

Exodus International, I forgive you for dividing me from my own spirit.

Exodus International, I forgive you for raping my soul.

Exodus International, I forgive you for molesting my identity.

Exodus International, I forgive you…

Not because you have stopped hurting others with your cult tactics.

Not because you aren’t guilty of attempting to control others with ideas about heterosexual supremacy.

But because you taught me how to hate…

And it’s time I surrender that tactic entirely.

Forgiveness is my act of self-love and an act of refusing to hold any space for hate, even hatred for your ways.

I will not have space for hate anymore.

I will not hate myself for being human.

I will not hate God for making me homosexual.

I will not hate people for not understanding how spirituality and sexuality beautifully converge.

I will not hate churches for refusing to honor my commitment to love.

I will not hate this world for being a place where choices are taken away from us.

I will be a person of love.

So, in short…

Exodus International, love really did win out for me.

Because I forgive you for teaching me to hate.

~~

For anyone who has been damaged by the ex-gay movement’s attempt at genocide, know that there is hope and you will move BEYOND being “ex-gay.” www.beyondexgay.com And for anyone who has ever held on too long to an injury to your soul, know that in just wanting to let go, a change will come, the earth will tremble and eventually, forgiveness will find you…

In the News: Exodus shuts down its residential soul-raping facility. http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2011/09/love-in-action-suspends-residential-program/

To read more about my most recent transformation regarding ex-gay survival, follow the “ex-gay lie” category on my blog or view this category from my old site.

Would the Real “Progressive” Christian Stand Up?

After reading a post by religion writer, Becky Garrison, I decided it’s time I chime in on the subject of “Progressive Christianity.” This is going to be short and probably not-so-sweet commentary because there’s something rising up inside of me that has to do with newness and perhaps new wine in old wineskins, to draw from the Bible (gasp!)

I propose, right from the start, that what we are attempting to do by marrying two ideas such as “progressive” and “Christian” is already an unequally-yolked union destined for divorce court. Perhaps we are guilty of trying to mix oil and water and calling it wine!

I know, my Christian readers furrow their brows and my atheist readers cheers. I’m openly torn on the subject. I mean, isn’t progressive Christian an oxymoron? (Who you calling a moron?) But then again, wasn’t Jesus a progressive force to be reckoned with, challenging the religious leaders, political leaders and anyone who came in his path to think outside of the “status quo?” Wasn’t Jesus one of the most progressive people of his time and of any age?

As always, my jury is still out, especially because it is comprised of a group of peers who do identify as progressive Christians and that identity seems to be serving them quite well.

But as I read the post that describes how once again Sojourner’s Magazine a “progressive Christian” organization (ahem, business) falls short of being progressive in their treatment of LGBTQ concerns, we have several options. We can do as Ms. Garrison suggests and develop new labels for groups like this. Perhaps “traditionalist progressives” is a working option or maybe we need to go back to the drawing board…

And make a distinction not between progressive and conservative but authentic versus inauthentic.

I hate labels as next as the next Homospiritual Lesbian Hippie Wanna-Be but if we do require labels in order to maintain a conversation, know where someone is coming from and identify obstacles to understanding, let’s go with authentic vs. inauthentic.

Christianity that excludes, promotes division and moves us towards external conflict rather is inauthentic.

Christianity that includes, promotes understanding and draws us towards internal revelation, consciousness and action is authentic.

Let’s try those on for a bit and see how it goes.

I may not be able to prove it’s what Jesus would do, what Paul would say or what the Pope may approve of but it’s what Gail is going to try…

Authentic Christianity.

Maybe the people at Sojourner’s are more comfortable with the “journey” they are on but I wager that not only will business be affected by their policies, flip-flopping and inauthentic expression of Christianity, the people there will begin to listen to the stories of their friends and family members and refuse to work for an organization that doesn’t welcome all, no exceptions.

That’s my creative activism today: I’m sitting with the workers at Sojourners… all of them. We are having a sit-in and we are going on strike because FAMILY matters and inclusion is the only model of family worth emulating.

~

To read Becky Garrison’s article, go here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/what-to-call-progressive-christian-who-struggle-with-lgbt-equality/2011/08/19/gIQA6J9VQJ_blog.html

Straight Supremacist Warning

Portion of "The Rescue" my unfinished painting

Best $11 movie ticket ever. Last night I saw the movie, “The Help.” I laughed. I cried. I cheered. Best thing wasn’t the colorful (pun intended) and brilliantly written dialogue but the beautiful pauses and well-delivered punch lines exchanged among the characters. I don’t do movie reviews but this flick has me itching to pull an Ebert-move and toss up two thumbs to show my approval! So well done and so… well…

Easy to apply to my blog! (I think my friend leaned over at least 2x and said, “This is going to lead a blog post, isn’t it?”)

So, what was I thinking about my blog while enjoying this destined-to-be-Academy-Award-winning new movie?

I was thinking, “What really is the difference between white supremacy and the ex-gay movement?”

Both seek to hinder the progress of the people who are not like them.

Both seek to recruit young white people to their cause.

Both use unethical and sometimes violent tactics to evoke fear and oppress the people who are not like them.

Rather than making a plethora of comparisons, I thought I would simply take the statement that is on the KKK’s website, and replace words related to race with words related to sexual orientation and add “straight” and “gay” a few places. After reading it over, I suggest that Alan Chambers of Exodus International, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter get together to approve this new statement as their straight agenda. Let’s be real here… if you are emulating the KKK so why not own up to it and officially connect yourselves to the Klan? Maybe there’s a tax benefit in it for you.

Read it for yourself and tell me if this doesn’t this sound like something out of Michele’s mouth? Hasn’t Alan played a victim when reasonable people have taken a stand against the genocide of Exodus International? (Remember the Apple App?) Doesn’t Ann repeatedly try to usher in support by cheering on her “moral” majority and claiming the gay people have an agenda?

“There is a war against straights. But our people – my straight brothers and sisters – will stay committed to a non-violent resolution. That resolution must consist of solidarity in straight communities around the world. The hatred for our children and their future is growing and is being fueled every single day. Stay firm in your convictions. Keep loving your straight heritage and keep witnessing to others that there is a better straight way than a war torn, violent, wicked, socialist, new gay world order. That way is the straight Christian way – law and order – love of heterosexual family – love of nation. These are the principles of western Christian civilization. There is a war to destroy these things. Pray that our straight people see the error of their ways and regain a sense of loyalty. Repent America! Be faithful my fellow straight believers. ” (Paraphrasing of statement from National Director of the Knights, Pastor Thomas Robb)

So, to be clear… let this post serve as a warning that those who seek to deny rights or create “separate but equal” space for the LGBTQ community in the workplace, churches, homes or communities are no different from the white supremacists who insisted that African-Americans should piss in a different toilet, drink from a different fountain, or proverbially sit in the back of the spiritual bus that is en route to blessing and full inclusion!

We must refuse to call the ex-gay movement an “alternative perspective” or suggest that it is merely a “controversial” discussion (Shame on you, NPR!)

Call it what it is…

The ex-gay movement is no different from the White Supremacy Movement.

It is…

Hate.

~~

Furthermore, nothing should light a fire under true believers in Jesus more than knowing that in the name of your savior, they are proclaiming this hate. Many kudos to organizations such as Believe Out Loud and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists who are Christians standing on the side of love! Please visit their pages below:

www.facebook.com/believeoutloud

www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-Welcoming-and-Affirming-Baptists/207481543481

Ex-Gay Cult Tactics

Do I go onto Exodus International’s site or ex-gay pages and tell them that I believe that if there was a hell, they would be some of the first people through the fiery gates because they are soul-raping innocent victims?

No! I do not! (Granted, I do blog publicly and say such things but the point is…)

Cult members chase after those who find freedom.

Since the radio interview Monday night, I have felt chased. 

There haven’t been any direct attacks (yet) but there have been several posts and comments that I’ve banned from my author page because they were geared at spreading the lie that homosexuals can or should be changed into some mutant heterosexual expression sanctified by a gender-obsessed god.

I reject these tactics and state that while I feel chased by the ex-gay cult and by the memory of the person you wanted me to become, the truth is…

I am chaste… undefiled, free from obscenity, pure and full of virtue not because of anything I’ve done but…

Because of the Divine who purifies my intention and reminds me that the reason I’m telling this story again is because love matters.

Love.

Matters.

To the victims of ex-gay therapy who serve in leadership roles and recruit others into the cult, I want you to know that healthy, happy, whole sexuality is available to you… and you don’t have to crucify yourself to get it.

There is a relationship that is greater than the need to be right.

There is a love that is greater than the need to be right.

There is the right to love and be loved just as you are.

I have that right.

And from the deepest parts of who I am, I do this work so that you too will know, you have that right too.

Don’t let them molest your identity any longer.

You are born beautiful, your expressions are Divine and your thirst for truth will be met when you realize that it’s already inside of you.

Beloved.

As you are.

Right now…

Oh and… um…

P.S.

If you keep posting lies on my page, you will be banned because not only is my page/blog a no-hate zone, genocide is wrong and I won’t let anyone know how they can find out more about supporting you in killing off the LGBTQ community.

~~

To my blog and Facebook Family, I want you to know that I need to go offline for a few days to recover from this “coming out” again. Going inward is a journey towards god but also fuels the security that I need to nourish and keep going. Keep sharing your insights and stories with one another and feel free to share the interview!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

Listen to internet radio with Scott Lindquist on Blog Talk Radio

If the above link doesn’t work, this will also get you to my interview on Open Minds Open Hearts:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/openmindsopenhearts/2011/08/02/open-minds-open-hearts–radio-with-a-purpose

Keep the emails coming and more than anything else, keep trusting that whether we can prove if there is a God or not, we most certainly know that something Divine would welcome, bless and celebrate all people just as they are, no exceptions.

Old Lesbians Threaten Marriage

Satire is my friend… because I’m done pretending that Christian Fundamentalists can be reasoned with… too many lives have been damaged.  It’s time to let sarcasm shed some light.

I don’t know if you all saw this but it’s probably the most disturbing image ever to come from New York.  

Does this threaten your marriage?

We all knew that lesbians are a threat to the sanctity of marriage but these two are of a particular brand of terror.

Just look at them!

I mean, the white hair, the wheel chair, the wise-ass smiles and arms raised in some kind of cultic celebration of… their gayness?

Somebody should put these two on the most wanted list!

How dare they be so… happy to be committed?

Yeah, watch out straight Fundie Christians.

Homosexuals are a threat to your idea of sanctity of marriage because we stay committed even when the government doesn’t support us.

We commit when the church ignores us.

We commit when our families disown us.

We commit because when it comes to love… we are fearless!

And what’s more dangerous than fearless love?

~~

Truth be told, this picture fills my eyes with tears and my soul with hope but even hits me with a healthy twinge of envy… to love and be loved in a committed relationship with a woman who is willing to raise her hands in the air and celebrate us, our equality and our right to f*ck, fight and live a fabulous life to its fullest…

Yes please.

Sign me up!

~~

(Many thanks to my friend Karen, for posting this picture with a similar caption :0) You inspire me as always. I love you!)

Confessions of an Ex Ex-Gay: Part 3

To say I am not looking forward to this series is the understatement of my year. What I thought would be 2 or 3 posts that glazed over the darker experiences about my ex-gay drama has both fortunately and very unfortunately taken on a life of its own to the point that my dreams have  begun to interpret my current conflicts in Christian community through the toxic language of the ex-gays…

At 5:11 am, I awoke from a nightmare that left me gasping for air, clutching my stomach and chest and offering up an echo of dry-heaving as a morning prayer to all of the gods that would listen… and to my neighbors… to anyone within ear shot, I was sobbing and screaming because I’m now giving full voice to what this spiritual raping is all about…

As I stifled my screams into the bathroom towel, turned myself into a ball and rocked on the bathroom floor I thought, “Who is listening to this, really?”

The question went beyond the awareness of the moment and I thought about how there are now nearly a thousand readers who are witnessing this via my writing. I’m not sure I was prepared for that but as I’ve read emails and posts about how my opening up may save lives, change minds and change hearts, I am struck by how the truth has never felt so freeing.

I want to tell you about the nightmare that woke me up this morning and led to this ethereal vomit but I know that it’s going to take me another day or two to hash it out. I’m befuddled by how the “innocent” people of my current life can be portrayed as such hateful people in my dream life but the similarities between my ex-gay past and my present will reveal important trends that I believe keep us all away from Christianity at some point.

The need to be “like” them to be a part of them is ultimately the most frightful experience for anyone with a working, evolving understanding of spirit and his/her own place in this world. The language that Christianity, overall, has assumed for itself is toxic and through this sharing, I hope that is one of the ultimate transformations that some Christians undergo. Being around Christians again, in all their glory is exactly what is prompting this flashback-style process and is reminding me of the traumatic lessons I learned from the ex-gays and fundies. Specifically, I ask the Christian community to ask itself what it hopes to attain by only surrounding itself with people who are like-minded…

So I’ll share more about this nightmare and its effects very soon. It’s the perfect analogy to have woken up dry-heaving because I felt like I was spewing the nasty qi, their awful lies, with every violent exhale from the deeper part of my body. The posts and conversations are like a toxic chemical that is working out the cancer of my soul. It is uncomfortable, leaves me exhausted, turns my blood cold but is somehow killing off that which has been trying to kill me all these years.

I appreciate all of the light, love and prayer support as I unleash myself from the ex-gay lie. These attachments run deeper than I thought but I will not stop until others know that Jesus cannot be used to abuse others, lock them away from their identities or cause them to suffer. I may not arise from this any more of a Christian than I was when I started but I may truly be damned if I don’t get back a pure picture of how to love and be loved by a community of people, Christian or otherwise.

Please do continue to let this story be told and keep telling your own. Together I believe we will shut down the spiritual genocide known as the ex-gay movement.

Humbly, I say… thanks for listening.

What Made Me Gay?

Sign from Tommy Wells at Cap Pride

Vacations are great for uncovering memories about repressed sexuality. Okay, maybe it’s not quite what vacations are for but my time away is resulting in a lot of moments when I find myself in an internal dialogue with portions of my soul that I’ve apparently neglected. And we all know what blogs are for, right? Blogs exist as a means of taking inner dialogue and making it free and accessible to the public, duh!

What is on my mind tonight is my first known memory of being attracted to the same gender. After hanging out with a lifelong friend and watching Daria, which, mind you, was proceeded by playing with two small children, sipping a soy chai that gave me a headache and discussing the role of archetypal psychology in spiritual life, I recalled my first known memory of being a girl who liked girls.

Her name was Lisa.

She was blonde, had blue eyes and is probably living in a small Pennsylvania town with her husband, white picket fence and 2.5 kids by now. I doubt she is a full-grown lesbian such as me but one can never know. She would likely be a femme lesbian because I can tell you for certain that at age 5, her favorite color was pink, her hair was always perfectly brushed back or in some kind of kindergarten’s version of an up-do and her purses were full of notes from all of the boys who were constantly giving her their crayons, letting her borrow their scissors or bringing her pieces of candy.

I would never have guessed it but this memory is so “plain as day” that I’m struck by the simplicity of it all. What I remember most about her is how hurt I was when she stopped being friends with me in the 2nd grade, after Danny invited her to his birthday party and she realized that boys made her feel the way girls made me feel.

Such a tiny story set the stage for every rejection I would face as a lesbian. Of course, my high school memories of a popular blonde girl are quite clear in my first book (http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=240831) and the damage of being outed in high school may still play out in the new book but who would have thought that my first memory of having a crush on a girl actually goes back to kindergarten?

It leads me to answer that timeless question that came up for me while I was in the ex-gay “therapy.”

What “made me” gay?

We had a litany of responses for this “important” question. After all, if I could identify what made me so broken or sexually handicapped, I would cure this spiritual and social disease.

The more obvious answers were to blame my parents. Either my mother was too attentive or not attentive enough or my father was abusive or too involved. (Basically, according to reparative therapy, one of your parents screwed up but there’s no telling for sure which one.) If it wasn’t your parents, it could be because of sexual abuse or yes, because of Satan. (Church lady has spoken. Dana Carvey fans would love it.) However, we all know that not everyone who was sexually abused becomes attracted to the same gender and what even further unravels their “logic” is that some lesbians report healthy relationships with their mothers and some gay men happen to have fathers who showed plenty of unconditional love and support.

Despite the fact that reparative therapy is years behind me, it left scars and anytime I think about what I put myself through (and barely escaped) in the name of “change” and “god,”  a part of me crumbles…

Until nights like tonight when out of nowhere I remember leaning over the craft table at a small town school in Pennsylvania at no more than 6 years old and telling a little girl named Lisa, “I like you.”

What made me gay?

Clearly, my homosexuality is as natural as my curly hair and no more a product of a fleshly lust than was Lisa’s affinity for the color pink.

So before I go to bed tonight, I wanted to say a little blessing into the memory of my kindergartener self:

“You can reach out and take the hand of the one you like

Until someday it becomes the hand of the one you love.

Because the heart isn’t male.

The soul isn’t female.

And love… doesn’t come in pink or blue.

Love isn’t black and it isn’t white.

Love is colorless and like air, it will be everything you need it to be.”

~~

Meanwhile, I need a good laugh after all that so here’s some Church Lady with Justin Bieber: