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!

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

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!)

Top 10 Ex-Gay Slogans

Who is the oppressor?I need some dark humor before my Reiki session. As some of you know from my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/homospirituality), I’m having fun with what I’m calling “creative activism.” (uh, a.k.a. satire). I’m meeting with “famous” people (who would never really meet with me) and we are discussing some of the most important issues in politics and religion. This weekend, I’ve been hanging out with Alan Chambers of Exodus International. Today we decided that Exodus needs a marketing make-over (You should have seen his reaction to the word make-over. Wow!)

So energetically, I’m sitting at a coffee shop with Alan and we are brainstorming slogans and taglines.

This is what we came up with:

10. Exodus International: Services include Assisted Sexual Suicides.

9.    Exodus International: Captivating since 1976.

8.    Exodus International: Where Worshipping the Heterosexual never Felt so Gay.

7.   Exodus International: As Close to Hell as You Can Get

6.   Exodus International: Pay Now, Gay Later

5.   Exodus International: The Softer Side of Genocide

4.   Exodus International: Where Men Lie about Men and Women Lie about Women

3.   Exodus International: I Survived Self-mutilation and all I got was this F*cking T-shirt

2.   Exodus International: Now Hiring Psychologists and Counselors. No Degree or Training Required

1.   Exodus International: Celebrating 35 Years of Christian-Funded Soul-Raping

Be sure to check the brochure stand at Faux Community Megachurch near you for these new marketing materials. We are very proud of them. The Lord really spoke through us and people will be moved to change who they are and become their whole heterosexual selves, just like us…

~

Thus concludes my snarkiest post ever!

I’ll publish, right or wrong; Fools are my theme, let satire by my song.” – Lord Byron

~

Dedicating this post to Michael Bussee, a co-founder of Exodus International who has publically denounced the practices and beliefs of Exodus International. Thank you for trying to make it right. http://www.beyondexgay.com/article/busseeapology

Reshared Spring 2013, in honor of an upcoming meeting involving Alan Chambers… only a few years in the making 😉

Update: A spoken word piece on the topic… [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IM0CtA2OFI&feature=player_detailpage”%5D

Let’s Hear it for New York!

I can’t sleep, I can’t stop smiling and I can hardly imagine what may happen if I stay up all night on the computer, networking with the millions of people in the United States and worldwide who are cheering and crying tears of joy as a show of solidarity for the historic legislation that passed in New York tonight!

There’s such an incredible synergy at work in this country tonight and I tread lightly on the connection that I’m making… but my soul seems to gravitate to another time when I felt this awareness of national consciousness…

I haven’t felt this connected to the entire country since September 11, 2001.

As we were equally exposed to tragedy then, there is a rush of truth in how we can also equally celebrate the progress of the great state of New York tonight! This state deserves to be a beacon of hope to all who want to live free from oppression and fear… Tonight, Lady Liberty is standing tall for all of us. If she could, I would ask her to energetically take a bow because she has made a statement that is louder than any oppressor’s, foreign or domestic!

Equality is for everyone,” she shouts!

Love is a family value,” is her song.

And more, she has words to the those huddled masses of LGBTQ people who worry that we will have to hold our breath until we are fully recognized as citizens worthy of equal protection under the law… her words are that we will all someday breathe freely!

So, if for only tonight, we can know that our rainbow lamp is held high and New York, were it the entry point to the United States, would extend dignity and respect to all people no matter who they love.

I’ll try to sleep but in addition to having “An Empire State of Mind” (Glee’s version) in  my head, I’m also feelin’ some Flo + the Machine and must share. Let’s believe that the dog days are over!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOyfLBtuU (Flo + Machine, Dog Days are Over)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APjJwt7rc6I (Glee Version of Empire State of Mind)

~~

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:

Why Gay Pride Matters

In the spirit of equality, togetherness and reaching out to any first-timers in this month’s Pride celebration, I’ve carved out some time in my Pride Weekend to write a letter to an anonymous friend who is valiantly working through her coming out experience. I think that knowing me makes it a little difficult at times because I’m so very comfortable with who I am but I remember when I wasn’t… so this is dedicated to my dear friend but also to anyone who is coming out… and to all of us, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or queer, who know what it’s like to feel small in this big, big world.

~~

Welcome out of the closet ~

The closet was certainly a comfortable place so let’s start by acknowledging that it was somewhere known and a place where you could predict your own behavior and your interactions with others. You knew your “wardrobe” and what you enjoyed wearing in this world and while you were trapped in the semi-darkness, darkness can be soothing when light is blinding. So, an affinity for being hidden is natural…

But that isn’t your story anymore. All of these rainbow flags and colorful people can be overwhelming! I remember my first gay pride parade and how uncomfortable it was to see so many “proud” people, holding hands, kissing one another, laughing loudly, dressing wildly. I thought, “Wow! They are so pretty” but I was frightened at the same time. I felt like the whole crowd could sense that it was my first time and like a pride virgin, I was shy and reserved, confused and my stomach was in knots. So many people… celebrating what? Themselves? Their sexuality? Their friendships? Love? Their leather chaps and feather boas? What the?!

I saw more SKIN at a pride parade than I thought was legal. I thought, “Is this what Woodstock looked like?” and I wondered how on earth I would fit into this “freak” show. But that was the first year…

Over the years, I’ve learned that Gay Pride matters not because we get to wave our freak flags but because we become part of a community that sticks up for one another and agrees that only in diversity can the oneness of creation truly be manifest on earth. Does it sound hyper-spiritual? Well, I guess that’s what I call “homospiritual.” Gay Pride is this one month in the year and sometimes only a few hours when people identify with one cause: Equality. The events aren’t really about sexuality at all.

It’s about equality and how there’s room for everyone in this big, big world!

So this year, as you participate in some of the wacky events that make up the culture of gay pride, I hope that you can take a deep breath and realize that no one is asking you to become like them, full of flamboyant traits or over-the-top expressions of your sexuality. Rather, find YOURSELF in the crowd… not by literally looking around in the crowd and identifying with anyone, but realizing that in this crowd, you matter. Just as you are…

And whether you come out entirely, to your family and every friend, co-workers and acquaintance you ever meet, the point of this month and this weekend is that you fully come out to the crowd and realize your unique, intrinsic worth in a community.

And recognition of oneself, in the midst of a crowd… that’s not a gay pride matter, that’s a human matter. We have the gay pride phenomenon to thank for reminding us all that we are worthy of a celebration, because of who we are, not because of who we love or what we do.

So enjoy yourself this month and this weekend. The rainbow love and light that awaits you out of the closet is exciting but it is a hard adjustment when you’ve been told that you don’t matter and sameness has been worshipped rather than diversity. Be gentle with yourself and know that in time, you will know like I do that being a lesbian doesn’t make me special… but being myself does.

I love you.

Gail

A Letter to Ex-Gay Gail

(This post reflects a creative tangent I took a few weeks ago, when I started writing letters to “versions” of myself that are still going through a transformation. This letter is what I would send to myself, if I could turn back time and find a way to get myself out of the toxic environment of ex-gay “ministries.” Exercises in self-healing aren’t the most comfortable but they may be the cheapest and most effective… give it a shot.)

Dear Ex-gay Gail,

When I heard that you were going to an ex-gay ministry I wanted to stop you but I knew that you would have to suffer this for yourself. No one could look at you and “tell you” that you are beautiful, just as you are… it’s as if you don’t learn something unless you first suffer. I don’t know why your path so often involves suffering but I figured that you would have to hear them call you evil, lost, and broken before you would learn to stand up for yourself. Sometimes that’s the only way people learn… they have to be bullied, to learn what a bully is and learn how to stand up for themselves. It saddens me that you allowed yourself to be bullied by those false teachers, none of whom would be recognized in any substantial psychiatric setting as reliable practitioners… you let yourself believe them though because they told you they were representing what “God’s will” was for your life. I can understand that. We all want to be viewed in the favor of something or someone but they took advantage of you in ways that I never thought were possible by “Christians.” It’s a tragic thing, to hear about now, how they treated you when you told them about your first kiss with a woman. You were so free and aware, satisfied and fully present in your body and in your soul but they turned you into a lesson and into a project. The place where you went to help you find your identity is the very place where you lost it.

When I think of the lies that they ingrained you with, about community and the false intimacy they created in the name of restoring intimacy… I think of what Jesus wrote about those who cause little ones who believe to stumble. (Mark 9:42) The vulnerable, who seek out support from those with knowledge and resources… when they are led astray by bigoted, pompous, graceless teaching, it would be better for them to tie a rope around their necks, attach that rope to a rock and be tossed into the sea. That is what Jesus says of those who hinder those who believe in grace…

You were like that; a child, seeking the comfort of someone who was knowing, people who could guide you to truth and light. Your intention was pure and while they argue that theirs too, is pure, you know the unfortunate truth that their intention was only to create a community of people who behaved a certain way, believed certain things and chose a specific path. There wasn’t anything about individuality or becoming true to oneself, with a unique perspective, fearfully and wonderfully made. No, it was about becoming the same.

It was an incestuous pool of theological and psychological smut. Watching you drown in it was horrifying…

But I’m so proud of you now, for knowing deeply that you are beloved, by any and all gods, angels and creatures with choice because that is what is Divine in this world. Likeness isn’t divine. Diversity is Divine.

I know it’s been extremely sad for you these last seven years specifically, as you’ve tried to harvest community among Christians only to find that the ground was too difficult to break, the rains too infrequent, the seeds, planted in such shallow fashion. Yet, for the last year, you’ve encountered a community of faith where you can be exactly as God made you to be. You are different and not tolerated but entirely celebrated among these people. You are blooming and growing in ways those people from your past would never imagined…

Those people, at Greater Johnstown Christian Fellowship…

Those people, at Prodigal Ministries, in Cincinnati Ohio (affiliates with Exodus International)…

Those people, at Cincinnati Christian University, in the counseling department and in the classrooms…

Those people, at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, in the Youth Ministry program and in the counseling center…

Their message was that you were not okay as God made you.

Their message was that you should change.

Their message was that you should sacrifice what is natural for what is comfortable for others but what is abusive to you.

Their messages are no longer choking our the life force of your inner garden.

They are like weeds that have finally submitted to the evolution of the forest. They do not pop up often but even when they do, they are hardly noticeable in the presence of your oak tree-sized faith in your identity. IMG_2896

What God has restored, let no man, woman, creature, organization or church dare tear asunder.

That is my message to you.

In every step, you have learned to arrive.

In every question, you have learned to receive silence.

In every answer, you have learned to receive acceptance.

In every face, you have learned to offer grace.

And in so much grace as you offer, you will continue to receive.

Sincerely,

Gail, the one who is loved.

~~

I dedicate this post to my online community on my author page (www.facebook.com/homospirituality) and to my “real world” community at Convergence. Life is full of risks… love may have the greatest risk but it clearly has the greatest reward.

Author Update May 2013: Didn’t work out so well in the Christian Church after all. Details in Enlightenedish, yo. Also, if you watch Our America in June 2013, you will see a whole new truth being told about the Survivor Movement. Just sayin’. Whew, what. a. ride!

Waving the Freak Flag: Part 2

(Here comes part two in my “Wave your Freak Flag” series which is aimed at celebrating my wacky homospirituality and my gay pride at the same time… because I can. Happy Pride Month!)

I was scribbling a poem about love (and how it disappoints if intimacy isn’t in its proper place) and the sentence that tripped me is, “She teases me with virtue and pleases me with purity.” How much of a burden do I feel now knowing that I shared such a cheesy line with my readers?

Cheesy, first because I’m writing love poems and it’s not even February.

Cheesy… mainly because I used the word “virtue.”

Virtue? Who uses that word? It sounds like a religious buzz word, some kind of gunk in your teeth or at best, an accusation. (Virtue? Why, I never!)

I can’t think of a more sexless word than virtue and I was immediately frustrated to see it pop up in a love poem. I thought, “Am I trapped in a medieval poetry contest… and losing?”

Much to my chagrin, it turns out that the word virtue isn’t nearly as obscure as I originally thought. I sat with it for a while and decided that if I said it over and over again, it would start to fill in its own blanks about its value.

I wrote “Virtue is…” on a piece of paper and waited for the words to flow. As the thoughts came, I discovered something revealing about myself, my understanding of a feminine god and my spirituality. As I wrote, I recalled the only place in the Bible where I remember the word “virtue” and it was in relations to Proverbs 31, which is grossly overused by Christians as the description of the perfect woman.

Turns out, I can do one better than the writer of the 31st chapter of Proverbs. Go figure. (What did Solomon know about virtuous women? Let a lesbian take a stab at this topic…)

~~

Virtue is exploring sexuality with a rose in one hand and your integrity in the other.

Virtue is working hard when no one is watching and hardly watching when nothing is working.

Virtue is running out of ink and deciding to dance.

Virtue is knowing when to read between the lines and when to blur them.

Virtue is a willingness to be wrong but compassionate when you’re so very right.

Virtue is having a clue and a cause and the means to not only take a stand but take a knee.

Virtue is not a word fit for a poem, but a trait fit for a queen…

Ahh, to my beloved Queen, the goddess, the one from whom all blessings flow. This creature here, down below, is deepening her connection to the beautiful world she has been given but learning boundaries that one could never have attained were it not through loss and pain. And so I bow to your wisdom and say, “You tease me with virtue and you please me with purity.”

~~

Whoa, all that said and suddenly the writer of Proverbs 31 sounds like he is rattling off a task list while my words come out rushing out from the soul of a love-sick feminist hippie.

Yes! Taking a little red pen to the Bible is much more enjoyable than I ever thought possible.

But here’s the thing that is tripping me up and I’ll share briefly then leave you to ponder it. If this is virtue, in all its esoteric glory, what say ye on the matter of purity?

And pray tell, what does love got to do with it anyway?

Well, I’ll leave you Tina Turner fans on that happy note and close by giving a shout out to a peculiarly sexually progressive yet purity-driven lil’ group called Les Be Pure (www.lesbepure.com) Their work on the Facebook site www.facebook.com/GayChristians is interesting and promotes healthy sexual purity and while I’m not 100% sure what that means as defined by the Church, I’m diggin’ their approach. This isn’t an official endorsement of their theology because I’m way too liberal for that but it is a place to go if you’re looking for some purity in your life and you think you can’t access it because Christianity has the market cornered on it. (Which we all know it doesn’t…)

Namaste and Happy Pride!

-gail

The Religious Right Made Me Proud

Hanging out with sexually educated Junior Highers for only a few hours last night was enough to remind me of the fact that the only reason that “gay” is even an identity is because of the Religious Right. To summarize right off of the bat I would like to use to bash Pat Robertson’s theology, were it not for Christian Fundamentalism, I would be just be gay…

Instead, I am gay and proud.

Everyone in the LGBTQ community has the Religious Right to thank for giving us the reason to be so excited and progressive about our sexuality. We could just be another subculture of sexually repressed people but instead, they have made our sex that much more exciting, our intimate lives, that much more powerful, our faith experiences, all the more important! 

Well done, Fundamentalists. You’ve created the monsters that we have become, as we proclaim “I’m gay” as if it’s that big of a deal, to be attracted to someone of the same gender. Is it that big of a deal? No… I think we all know it really isn’t.

But when you oppress someone because of who they are, what they cannot and should not change, you create the need for speaking out, speaking up, looking within and then… look out! The whole country goes “Gaga” and suddenly a media frenzy of Gleeks and modern families erupts and being gay becomes a staple for being different, free, honest, true and brave.

You’ve made us brave!

You’ve taken the ordinary and granted it a superior place of expression, individualism and celebration.

The irony of what the Religious Right has done is worth noting. As one of the OWL (Our Whole Lives) students asked last night, “What’s the big deal about being gay? It’s just body parts,” I thought, “Well out of the mouths of babes!”

What is the big deal?

There is no big deal… but because of all of the oppression, the “enemy” that they created has become a tour de force and now needs to proclaim simple truths about itself. At a basic level, a gay person’s coming out should be no more important than a child saying that he has blue eyes. Can you imagine how the landscape of our culture would change if we demonized everything that was diverse? (Blue-eyed Parades in March, Brunette Awareness Day in June, Bring a Tall Person to Work Week?)

The irony of it all has hit me specifically because a very close friend of mine is struggling with coming out and in the meantime, I’m struggling with a church community who doesn’t publically announce that they are a welcoming congregation. These two situations have forced me to ask myself, “What again is the big deal?”

Well… unfortunately, the big deal is that Christian Fundamentalists are still winning the war, every time a young person slices his skin with a safety pin, engraving the words “sinner” across his leg or a college student overdoses on a handful of pills after shaming herself for thinking “unholy” thoughts about her roommate.

No, being gay is not a big deal… but oppression and suffering is a colossal issue!

You can choose to view the suffering in the LGBTQ community with the eyes of Jesus, you can maintain a safe distance by wrongfully calling it a “non-issue” or you can wear blinders to how deep the issue runs.

They’ve turned it into an issue of identity.

And if you value the inherent worth and dignity of any person, then LGBTQ equality isn’t just a gay rights issue… it’s a human rights issue.

Whew! I’m about to topple off of my soapbox… I’m getting dizzy up here and the air is a little thin and I know the risks of attempting to simplify such a complex issue but after all of these years of thinking about, counseling about, praying about and living in this “gay” life, my conclusion is this:

I’m gay because God made me this way but I’m proud because oppression made me this way. If you want to make it a non-issue as it should be, help end the oppression.