In Exodus VP Randy Thomas’ latest attempt to define the happenstance of being attracted to the same sex with a single cultural “worldview,” he almost figures it out. He almost realizes that what pushes us to become LGBTQ rather than just L, G, B, T, and Q is our daily task of facing discrimination and opposition – including opposition from people like him who are members of groups like Exodus International. In his blog post about the hypothetical “Gay Legacy,” Randy ponders the discrimination and hardships faced today by gay senior citizens and recounts his own encounter with a young gay activist who had been picketing a Love Won Out conference:
He angrily went on to tell me how oppressed he and his boyfriend were (in Massachusetts), and how he had been beat up during his school years for being “different.” He had tried everything (at eighteen) to get rid of his feelings and now he was happy and embraced both his being “gay” and Christianity. He shared about how his coming to peace with his sexuality inspired him to organize the gsa (gay straight alliance) in his school.
I thought it remarkable that, aside from his wanting to get rid of his homosexuality in his early teens, he was repeating the exact same messaging I was saying before he was even born.
Well, Randy, it’s not difficult to deduce that discrimination against LGBTQ persons, despite remarkable growth of acceptance in my generation, is still rampant. This young man is not repeating “messaging.” He is describing his struggle to live honestly, without fear. There is nothing “remarkable” about seeing person after person recall the same kind of struggles with their family, church, and community.
When Randy decided to become a Christian, he rejected his homosexuality completely in favor of a path of sexual celibacy and self-deception, joining a group that actively seeks to limit LGBTQ equal rights and keep the bullying of LGBTQ youth socially acceptable. This young man reached a much more honest conclusion than Randy did, by deciding to be sexually true to himself and channeling his struggle for acceptance into positive outreach to other gay youth.
What many XGW readers may themselves marvel at is Randy’s admission here:
Public policy battles will always be flash-points of non-compromise but I am personally encouraged that today’s broader culture is much safer for those with same sex attractions than the reality of what some of our Senior citizens went through. It’s not perfect and I am not dismissing that true hatred (on both sides) flares up. Even so, it is a far different reality for that 18 year old as compared to the Seniors mentioned in the article.
Does this provide evidence of an ex-gay acceptance of the reality of substantial LGBTQ existence? In my personal opinion, it is a way for the ex-gay camp to spin a losing cultural battle into an avenue of evangelizing their propaganda. Just like ex-gay proponents are quickly restyling their message in reaction to undeniable proof that homosexuality is not caused by alterable nurturing factors such as an “overbearing mother,” a more visible LGBTQ community coming out at a much younger age means a bigger more vulnerable target for Exodus and their ilk. Fortunately, we are growing up knowing better.