To My Fellow Ex-gay Men and Women
From Alan P. Medinger of Regeneration (ex-gay ministry)
The message that homosexuality is normal and even good is based in large part on the following beliefs:
1. Homosexuality is determined before birth.
2. Homosexuals can’t change. (These first two beliefs are interdependent.)
3. The problems that homosexual people face (extremely high rates of promiscuity, disease, alcoholism, suicide, etc.) are not directly tied to homosexuality, but are caused by society's attitude toward homosexual people. Gay people are victims.
4. Homosexuality is not pathological; gay people are just different.
Every one of these beliefs is false. But how enticing these false beliefs can be for a man or woman who has always felt different; has felt he or she could never measure up to the standards of other men or women; has felt rejection and isolation; has been driven by sexual desires that led to dangerous promiscuity; and at the same time has desperately longed for the approval of others, to feel good about himself or herself, and be seen as a “good person.” The idea is very appealing that, “I am gay; I was born that way; I couldn’t change if I wanted to; and why should I want to; there is nothing wrong with being gay; all of these conflicts can be resolved if I will just accept myself as a gay person.”
At first blush the conflicts do seem to be resolved. Self-acceptance does come; the exhaustion of leading a double life is over; a community is found that accepts you just as you are. And so the gay identity takes root. Once it does, few escape from it, even after they start to see its darker side – the excessive focus on youth and beauty, the superficiality, the rejection and loneliness, the disease and death. In part they do not escape because the false beliefs have become their beliefs. They don’t know that any other way is open to them.
I believe we are being called to more openly challenge the false beliefs – for the sake of those who have not yet been seduced by them, and for the sake of those whom we might rescue. To do this we will have to be more public; we will have to be more a part of the cultural and political battle centering around homosexuality. We must do it, because often no one can better testify to the falseness of these beliefs than we who have found victory over homosexuality. Our lives belie the belief that people are born that way and cannot change. We have experienced both lives so we can speak to the pathology of homosexuality. We know that it never met the needs that drove us into it, and we know first hand that there is a better way.
I now believe our concern that opposing the gay political agenda might make us the enemy to the people we are trying to reach was never valid. We have been rather like the pastor who won’t mention sin lest he offend someone in his congregation. In fact, our very existence is an offense and a threat to the gay community. Speaking out won’t make this any worse. We have not won gays to Christ because we have been kind and moderate. I believe we are more likely to win them to Christ as we stand clearly for God’s Word and His way for us to live.
What Keeps Us Silent?
By Jeff Johnson
I believe it is imperative that we proclaim the truth of healing from homosexuality in the secular arena. What are some of the reasons we (as ex-gays) remain silent? For some of us it’s fear. What will they think of me? What if they laugh at my story? How will the media portray me? What if they don’t believe me? Am I healed enough? How will this affect my family?
Besides fear, I think a lot of what motivated me was shame. I was ashamed of my brokenness and sin. I’d worked so hard to fit into the church and into the world of men – and now I have to go broadcast my struggles?
Not just shame, but pride is involved here. My pride did not want to admit to others that I had this struggle. My job at Regeneration (ex-gay ministry) has led me to testify before committees of the Maryland General Assembly; to tell my story to congressional staffers at the U.S. Capitol; to protest at the American Psychiatric Convention; and to have my story recounted in a two-page spread in The Baltimore Sun. So much for living a “normal, quiet life.” To be honest, I did not go looking for these opportunities, but I chose to say yes when they came my way. Each time I tell my story, I strike another blow at fear, shame, and pride.
A final matter that keeps some of us silent is feeling overwhelmed. What can I do to take on the whole culture? Thankfully, I’m not responsible for all that. But I can do small things: writing a letter to the editor, calling an irresponsible television network, and speaking out at work when others denigrate healing. If you would like to be better informed or have a few suggestions for where to start, give our office a call (410-661-0284) and we will send you a list of suggestions.
I could write a whole column about this, or even a book, but suffice it is to say that all the evidence here is on our side. At every level – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – homosexual behavior is destructive. Speaking the truth about homosexuality literally saves lives.
Not everyone is called or gifted at working in the media or in politics, not all of us are called to full-time ministry, but more of us must speak up about this issue. I believe God is calling more of us to get our and tell our stories, to tell what we know about the destructiveness of homosexual behavior and about God’s redemption – how God changed us. More strugglers, more parents, more family members. All of us are called to engage in the world around us, speaking the truth in love to a hurting world. There is no one better for this job. If not us, then whom?