Listening to ex-ex-gays

At times I can be hard on ex-ex-gays. In particular I’m a bit annoyed at the moment by Peterson Toscano who says that he wants to “help foster a deeper discussion”, but whose website that he has created (Beyond Ex-Gay) has no interactive component whatsoever (forum or comment threads). That’s hardly facilitating a discussion and his failure to engage with some of the questions I’ve raised makes me wonder whether he shouldn’t just be clearer that his is a position of advocacy, not dialogue.

That said, another of the contributors to Beyond Ex-Gay, Jimbo, has responded on the same thread and one thing he has written in particular is worth highlighting:

My “issue” was eventually with the church (in the wider sense). At least those parts of the church that seemed unwilling to accept gay people (lay/clergy) even if they were in a ”traditional chaste life”. Like many in the groups I was in, I knew how suspicious the church was of those who were anything other than heterosexual. That was an immense pressure on most of us to “act straight” to fit in, even though we knew that wasn’t who we really were.

Please note, Jimbo’s issue wasn’t that he made different choices about lifestyle, or that he interpreted the “clobber passages” in a different way. Ultimately it was that he met men and women in the church who simply couldn’t abide having somebody in their midst who wasn’t attracted to people of the opposite sex, or who didn’t act in a manner they wanted.

Shameful, my friends, shameful, because what Jimbo experienced is homophobia, pure and simple. Perhaps there is yet some good listening to be done.

Thanks Jimbo for sharing this with us.

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