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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

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There are no known causes of a person's sexual orientation. but we must respect their differences and their rights as citizens

Just Us

Dear Charlene,
Unlike some on this blog, I don't care if you call yourself gay, bi, straight, celibate or none of the above.
I do care to challenge the simple-minded, psychological prison you push in the name of religion. This brand of muddle-headed Christianity is literally destroying the Black community with it's cruel hatred of women,relentless soul crushing attacks on gay people, alienating relationships between families, between men and women.
It is making Black people abandon justice and instead seek judgement of others. Read the Bible? Which version? The one that replace the word catamite (child used for sexual slavery) with the word homosexual? The version written by a man latter burned as a heretic. The Catholic version, NIV, King James? They are all different. Is slavery acceptable to your God. Child prostitution? Are Black people inferior because Ham viewed his father's naked body? Read the whole book Charlene...there is some heinous stuff going on with your God smiling on it.

The Bible is a historical document not a literal one. It is also a political document, altered to fit the dominant culture of the time.

It sickens me how religion functions to make the world inhospitable, even dangerous to gay people and then preys on the wounds they've inflicted to convert people. I have never posted a message somewhere suggesting all women simply need to stop fighting the feeling and find lesbian love. I've never gone to a divorcee website and suggest any unhappiness stems from fighting their true nature. But here come you vultures looking for anyone breaking under the relentless attack, longing for acceptance back into that church-going family that rejected them, feeling tired of life near or at the margins. If your happy be happy. But peddle your snake oil elsewhere, your white Jesus, your faith to a mean God who commands you to severe bonds of love to prove your "sacrifice".

It amazes me how many anti-gay religious zealots are fascinated with all things gay.
How many so called "ex-gays" lurk nearby, keeping an eye on the gay world by telling themselves it is outreach, research, ministry.

No darlin, it is voyeurism. It fills that space where white Jesus and society and your own inner dwelling truth collide but don't fully meet. It is the longing you push away by chanting a prayer until it becomes sound without meaning. Where following the deeply treaded rut of the dominant culture is easier than cutting your own path but you still want to see how the other half lives.

Let me tell you--I'm loving my life, finding beauty and truth in the family of friends knitted around me. I will not be a false representation of who I am to satisfy anyone else. I will not allow the brainwashing of any religious cult to destroy me--even if that cult calls itself Christian and tells me it will stop trying to hurt me if I surrender myself to its obscene teachings.

And I won't be silent any longer in the face of psychological attacks on gay people wrapped in the Bible and soaked in religion.

Charlene E. Cothran, Publisher, VENUS Magazine

To the "gayest woman on earth" who is asking if God is now calling her to be attracted to men:

My dearest sister, I feel you on many levels. My advice to you is to do nothing, with anyone, until you have had a chance to submit yourself in prayer, search the scripture and receive an absolutely clear instruction from the Lord. You mention in you comment that you have given your life to Christ and asked Him to ‘control your body for His doing.’ Several questions come to mind with regard to how you are understanding the body’s ‘doing’ once we become committed to Christ.
a. Do you believe the Word of God?
b. How much time per day are you spending reading and studying the word on our own?
b. Have you developed a consistent prayer life? Have you reserved a certain portion of each day solely for communion alone with God?

I had also felt a strong male quality about myself. I probably was not ‘the butchest dyke in town’ but I enjoyed the control I felt in relationships, in business, etc. However, once I gave complete control to Christ and began to relax in my walk with Him, I no longer felt a need to be in control of everything or everyone in my world, which is the perceived male quality that I was holding on to.
I also realize that for me, the butch thing was about rebuking male advances. Once we truly give control of our lives [via our hearts and minds] to Christ, our thoughts and desires have the opportunity to progress toward the state of holiness that God intended for us.
The body, or flesh, however, has its own agenda. It wants what it wants all the time; sex, pride, attention, etc. This is why we must be careful as new converts not to be deceived by the enemy. Can you honestly say that sleeping with the woman you love or sleeping with a man you are not married to is a spiritual or ‘one-with-Christ’ experience? I think not. It feels good to the flesh but the act is void of spirit. God is NOT in it. The fact that lots of folks are doing it, including preachers and pastors, does not change the fact that it is sin, nor does it change the consequence.
I also know that it is painful to think of giving up the woman to whom you feel so deeply connected. I, too, loved a woman deeply. We were committed to one another for 10 years. However I was able to release her in my heart when God asked me to consider how much greater a sacrifice it was for Him to give up His only Son for a world of folks who hated Him. Your sacrifice in this walk is great, however the rewards are even greater. Here, I’m not referring to the rewards we’ll received in the ever after. I’m talking about the the promises and inheritance of God given on earth to those who truly give themselves for His service to win souls. Only full repentance unlocks His true treasures.
God is indeed calling you, but not as you stated, for the purpose of being attracted to men. Just as homosexual unions are NOT all about sex, full repentance is NOT all about becoming heterosexual. God is calling you to be completely devoted to Him. For now, let that be enough.
You are in my prayers,
Charlene E. Cothran

Just Us

When will Black folks stop wholesale believing in a fictional old man in the sky with a son born to a virgin? Why do we argue which crazy version of this myth is true...the one where God hates fags or the one where he loves them? It's time to call this bs out. If I told you Zeus called me to be straight you'd all be wondering which pipe I was smoking. Fear of angering God drives many people to do many things rationale and irrational. If you believe that eternal damnation, torment and pain everlasting await anyone who crosses this narcssitic God and his son who demands constant praise then I guess you'll denounce anything that is required. Some religions say no meat, some no pork, some no shellfish...people will adapt with the right pressure points. Someone once said with enough voltage in a caddle prod, you can teach a horse to dance. Religious sadism has no bounds. Use your brain, your reasoning abilities, your common sense...stop this mindless religious brainwashing. p.s. I don't care if you identify as straight, gay, bisexual, sgl, pansexual, beyond labels. Just live an ethical life, treat people with respect and leave the place better than you found it.

Regan DuCasse

Hello?!
I AM A BLACK WOMAN and regular at ex gay watch!
And Daniel is Latino!
And Foster never lets me forget it.
But he forgot me with this comment.
I WILL be making myself known to these faux straight wannabes like Foster that you either is or ain't.

That I'm here, near...loud and proud too!
I tend to be a singularity in a lot of situations. Either the only straight person, only black or only woman.
BFD.
I'm THERE, representing something. Inquisitve, eager, sincere...and caring.
There's nothing wrong with being this or that...
But Foster...I was virtually the ONLY straight person that seriously challenged you and you couldn't wait to ban me.
That doesn't happen anywhere else I go..
But I know I get honesty from the gay folks...and obfuscation, dismissal, if not hostility from the faux straight.
And THAT'S saying it all.

denise

Wow....the brother is quite testy and sensitive.

Whatever....

Stuffed Animal

I'm not your son, I'm your wake-up call. You're the one who needs to give it a rest. We see your true colors, and they definitely aren't pretty. Before you fall up in here next time, have your couturier run you off something more presentable in the way of rhetoric. Also, find a brand of makeup that makes you look less hateful.

denise

Somebody please tell me this man ain't haven't a hissy fit like a lil' school girl....

Give it a rest son.

Stuffed Animal

"I am amazed at the pure blood people are seeing because the publisher of VENUS has now committed her life to Christ. It's as if there's an inward fear or something. Her piece/testimony is not condemning, but as she shared it's something she knew all along....homosexuality is a sin."

Can't speak for anybody else, but I'm not seeing "pure blood." I'm seeing pure denial. Congratulations for your ability to read Charlene Cothran's mind. Neat trick, if you can pull it off!

"What I am seeing is God moving on the heart of some very prominent homosexuals. Is that the fear...that you may be next to open your heart to his love and healing? THat your hatred towards committed Christians may one day turnaround?"

Without God's love and healing, I and many other LesBiGay folk could never withstand the venom spewed at us by people like you. We who are both Gay and Christian can tell you a thing or two about "hatred towards committed Christians." I'll just tell you this much: Jesus Christ belongs to those who practice love for their fellowman, not to those who practice heterosexual supremacy.

"I don't believe that homosexuality is a orientation one is born with. That myth has already been debunked. I do believe that people who practice it, have successfully walked away. And there are some who practice it that are perfectly ok with it."

"It" is something you refuse to understand. A Gay person doesn't "practice it," he or she expresses "it" as part of his or her gender identity. Have you ever heard the saying "God don't like ugly?" God don't like ignorant, either. And he absolutely cannot abide willful ignorance! You've fallen up in Jasmyne's blogsite often enough to know that we can't be swayed by your absurd heterosexual cheerleading. There are people in the world who will believe lies if you tell them lies often enough, but we're not those kind of people. So sorry! Go find a receptive audience for your cock-and-bull speeches; you'll find that talking to gullible people is much less frustrating.

denise

I am amazed at the pure blood people are seeing because the publisher of VENUS has now committed her life to Christ. It's as if there's an inward fear or something. Her piece/testimony is not condemning, but as she shared it's something she knew all along....homosexuality is a sin. If she made it up I think we would have a right to cry "homophobia". But, as a Christian she had to reconcile her personal beliefs with what is said in God's word. She has that right and freedom.

No matter how it's twisted and turned, it's there. People leaving the homosexual lifestyle have just as much right to share their stories and offer help to those wanting to leave the life as much as a homosexual has a right to use the tools of the civil rights movement.

What I am seeing is God moving on the heart of some very prominent homosexuals. Is that the fear...that you may be next to open your heart to his love and healing? THat your hatred towards committed Christians may one day turnaround?

I don't believe that homosexuality is a orientation one is born with. That myth has already been debunked. I do believe that people who practice it, have successfully walked away. And there are some who practice it that are perfectly ok with it. So to the homosexual that's at peace, I say continue to be at peace with your life. To the ex-gay, I say continue to be at peace and reach out to those that want the same. Don't let the anger of some, quiet your testimony of God's love and power in a person's life.

DL Foster

Kincaid,
You might want to mention that exgaywatch is exclusively white also. And you might want to "share" that exgaywatch doesn't even have a "token black" to trot out. And this coming you: a white man.

So what's the point of playing the race card? That was your lead point I guess to shore up some credibility for yourself and your organization.

Timothy Kincaid

I am a contributing writer at exgaywatch.com, a site that monitors the ex-gay movement. Please allow me to share the following observations:

1. The organized ex-gay movement (Focus on the Family, Exodus International, NARTH) seems to be exclusively white. Occasionally there will be a token black minister brought foreward but all the faces in the administration, on the regular travel circuit, speaking to the media, and in the auditoriums are white. Also most programs and language are about men; women seem to be an after-thought.

2. The ex-gay leaders are beginning to admit that same-sex attraction may never go away. They also are beginning to admit that those who drag their wives and children on stage as "proof" of "change" are not in general attracted to women but instead have developed an attraction to one woman.

3. Up until 2001, the ex-gay ministries were focused on helping individuals that did not want to live "a homosexual lifestyle" or wanted to miraculously turn themselves into heterosexuals. Now they are focused almost exclusively on anti-gay political activism and on partisan politics. Seminars and speeches will start with "Jesus delivered me" and end with "so vote against gay people in every situation" and "vote for candidates that support your family values".

Often this political ideology will require some odd bedfellows as evidenced by an opinion pages posted by a NARTH advisor defending slavery (African slaves "were in many ways better off" because Africa was "a jungle").

4. The ex-gay ministries have a horrible failure rate (even by their bizarre definitions of success).

5. When they say "change" they don't mean in orientation but in identity. Ex-gays decide to not call themselves gay any longer and to say they identify as Christian (as a gay Christian that logic eludes me). Then they hope and pray that their attractions change to meet their new identity.

6. Anti-gay activists that are ex-gay will claim that orientation doesn't exist (though they do acknowledge same-sex attration exists) and that being gay is solely about sex. They also will say anything (yes anything) no matter how illogical or bizarre that they can to portray gay people as evil. The less mentally stable ones will convince themselves they are telling the truth.

7. There are some very decent people in the movement who support the idea that orientation can change. There are some very genuine people in the ex-gay movement who are sincere about their efforts. There are some very loving people listening to the ex-gay message and believing it. Unfortunately, they aren't in charge.

The important thing to remember is that other than certain religous firebrands, political activists, and champions of discrimination, the actual ex-gays themselves need and deserve our love and compassion. Be there for them. And when they are back - as almost all of them will be - be caring and not condescending.

ramsey

Since when is it a rule that someone coming and commenting on a blog authored by a gay person has to be gay? Gays comment on straight blogs and blogs of ex-gays....does that logic still apply?

I don't get it. I have NO IDEA what the big deal is when someone has chosen to leave the LIFE, share their faith/testimony, and leave it up to an individual to decide if it's for them or not.

Just don't get it.....

Chris Holden

Is this perhaps a variation on "methinks
the lady doth protest too much" ...?

Jasmyne

And I'll add that if I never had sex again, I'd still be a lesbian. Why? Because I am attracted to women. It's not all about sex.

LFarmer

I totally disagree with the assumption that 90 percent of gays have been molested. PUH-LEEZE. I am a social worker who has worked with people sexually molested as well as the molestors. The majority of child molestors are heterosexual and married. The act is about power not orientation. Perhaps the confused woman who wrote that was a victim, if so seek help, don't assign blame. I was never molested and neither have my friends, but ALOT of my female heterosexual friends were as children by men. Yet these women found the strength to deal with what happended and are in HEALTHY heterosexual relationships. It is disresoectful to assign ALL gays sexual orientation to being sexually abused. How many women are raped by men and still continue to be heterosexual? Tha fact of the matter is as one writer stated earlier, being gay is not all about sex. There are many gay men and women where sex is the last thing on their mind.

Stuffed Animal

". . . it is safe to say about 90% of homosexuals were sexually molested or made sexual too early in life. you cannot deny this. you cannot deny this."

Yes, I can, and I do. That's absurd! There's no sound statistical evidence to back up such a claim.

"Is it possible that the men who victimize these children sense these kids' sexual orientation - even before the kids are aware of it?"

I've always thought that to be true. What's more, I think pedophiles target young boys they sense to be "different." It's probably their difference, their androgyny, that attracts the perverts. Gay children are at heightened risk for child molestation for this reason. However, molestation as a child isn't what makes a person Gay or Lesbian. Sexual orientation (an expression of something that's far more profound) is determined at conception. That's what some Christian Gnostic Gospels say, and that's what I believe.

mcquaidla

Great piece as usual, Jasmyne.

But isn't this just about the most tedious issue? I mean, we are still dealing with this stupidity and it's already the 21st Century? Well, hell, we're still dealing with racism, sexism and classism, so why not homophobia, I guess.

I've always believed that there will come a time when Science will tell us that there are, in fact, many variations on Human Sexuality and the Gay/Straight/Bi construction we work with now will seem primitive and ludicrous.

What I find so interesting about these ex-gay folks is that they all seem to be looking for certainty. They want to be certain that they're doing the "right" thing. To come to terms with my own homosexuality many years ago, I had to come to terms with the notion that despite my ideas about what my life would look like (wife, kids, etc.) that in fact, God had something different in mind for me and I could either fight it or accept it, but it wasn't going to change anything.

What seems so sad to me is these folks' refusal to accept themselves as God's creations and to love themselves because of that. It seems so ungodly that someone in organized religion is telling these folks that "No, you were made wrong. You're defective," because essentially what they're saying is "God made a huge mistake with you and we must fix it." It strikes me as frighteningly arrogant.

In my opinion, they're still what they always were, whether they choose to honor that is another issue, but I don't think any amount of suppression is going to change them except make them bitter and more repressed and more obsessed with other people's lives as their own lives become smaller and smaller and their sad hearts become harder and colder.

I also have a rough theory about gay men who were raped or molested as kids. It's a recurring theme that seems to come up in a lot of these ex-gay stories. Is it possible that the men who victimize these children sense these kids' sexual orientation - even before the kids are aware of it? Usually, of course, the ex-gay men and the ex-gay ministries trace homosexuality to an early event of sexual violence or coercion "I was raped at five and after that, I became gay," will go the story. I'm wondering if it's the other way around, that these kids are raped at five because their predator (who may or may not be gay himself) senses something the kid is not yet aware of.

Thoughts? And as, always, thank you for another thoughtful column.

sister in Christ

the craziest thing about this article is that it was emailed to me the very moment i realized God was trying to regain my attraction to men. i have been known as "the gayest woman on earth." i have always felt a strong male quality about myself and i would like to hang to it. but, i gave my life to christ and have told him and prayed to him to control my body for his doing. he wants me to have a child. i know this in itsself does not make me straight, but he is putting in me a weird attraction to black men. what do i do? i dont have a girlfriend but i do have a woman who i love deeply. we are sexual with one another and i see us being life partners. she is my soulmate. but to have a child i must procreate with a man. does God want me to be straight or just bear his holy fruit? i can only continue to be open to my Lord and trust the path he puts me on is to his love and righteousness.

as for the article, it is safe to say about 90% of homosexuals were sexually molested or made sexual too early in life. you cannot deny this. you cannot deny this. God has given us the means to deal with everything life throws at us. our only job is to have faith in hime always. read "the drama of a gifted child" by Alice Miller. a child adapts and creates a talent for dealing with abuse. homosexuality is a talent. if you don not remain honest about your life or lifestyle, you will be easily used for evil. trusting in the Lord is your only hope. if God lets the feeling of homosexuality remain in you, than go with it, but if he tries to heal your abuse and you find yourself attracted to the opposite sex....go with it and trusy He will shine truth on you...

Roniesha (Roni)

We as people live in such a compromising era. We no longer embrace our own identities yet we adapt and accept the truths of others as if it was personal belief to begin with in doing so we immediately begin to lack self. For example, take the ethic-spokenword-poetry fad. Everyone is all of a sudden a poet & Open Mic became the hotspot. I am not a betting woman but I’ll bet in this case you would be able to count on your hands & feet the amount of soul-minded, spirited poets to the core you would find in attendance. Personally, I refuse to conform into anything other than self & I will not allow religion, people, and/or media, interferes with who I am.

KRW

What the "ex-gays" seem to fixate on about being lesbian/gay/bi/trans/whatever is the SEX. I'm happily partnered and I have to say that our lives have never been and never will be purely about sex - and I'll venture to say that most LGBT folks' lives aren't either. Sex is the one issue that attracts everyone's interest.

Even when I was deeply closeted (and married) when I was 19, my life wasn't about sex with my then-husband.

Sex is the easy scapegoat.

I'm sick of folks dumbing down my relationship (all our relationships) to nothing more than a "choice".

Those who protest the loudest in this case are the ones (IMHO) who struggle with the truth the most.

Peace.

Kimberley

Terrence Says

Great, great piece Jasmyne.

These do people seem thoroughly confused. D.L. Foster, based on the quote presented, lacked self-control so now he wants to broad-brush other gays because of his own guilt and waywardness.

Although it has been discussed ad nauseam, why do some of them insist on equating homosexuality to REAL destructive personal lifestyle choices? Choosing to associate homosexuality with orgies, drug abuse, alcoholism and other types of irresponsible sexual activity is a red herring thus a deflection from their own lack of personal responsibility. In other words, the self-gratifying “extracurricular” activity (drugs and alcohol abuse, whore-mongering, orgies, etc.) which they engaged ultimately burdened them and produced guilt – not their homosexuality itself. I imagine the burden of the Bible compounded that guilt.

Being naturally and God-given homosexual is not about any of those things, just like being heterosexual is not about swing parties, house parties, cocaine and other kinds of sexual stimulants, orgies and alcohol. As a gay man, I’ve never attended an orgy, used drugs of any kind; and when I do drink, I drink responsibly. I have a sense of integrity. However, when I have made bad judgments or choices in other areas of my life – it certainly wasn't because I am gay (or black – for that matter). It is because I made a poor choice - period. And not that I think I’m better, but I’ve never quite understood orgies or poppers and I certainly don’t attribute such behavior to being gay.

Foster attending orgies, using poppers and “acting like a kid in a candy store” were certainly destructive personal lifestyles choices he made. And because he made them it doesn’t mean that other gays make the same injurious choices.

Last, I know a guy who was an “ex-gay”. He had all kinds of external pressures from his mother and father (church-going people) to get married. They had no idea he was gay, and yes, he is gay. He buckled, married and supposedly left the “lifestyle”. After not seeing him for years, I was in a gay bookstore/coffee shop in Houston browsing around for cards and other trinkets and here he comes down the stairs from the discount porn video room. He saw me and tried to run back up the stairs, but it was too late. His gay ass was busted.

He came down and shook my hand. We chatted for a very brief minute then disappeared from the store like an apparition. The difference with this guy is that he didn’t try to “reform” me – I wasn’t even a very close friend – or our common buddies. He basically went on the downlow. Now whether simple sexual urges were kicking in or his natural (authentic) homosexuality was kicking in, I don’t know; but dude was in a gay bookstore AFTER he became an ex-gay. I felt very, very sad for him.

In general, I think some of these ex-gays are dangerous. They kind of remind me of black people who abandon black people and culture in favor of white people and culture because they think the grass is greener on the other side.

Also, these people seem to have been unhappy and not in control of their lives and as they "reform" they give the impression to gay antagonists that we are an unhappy, sexually deviant people - and some are just like many heterosexuals out there - but most gays I know aren't.

Anyway, I wish them the best as straight people, but I sure hope nobody catches them in a gay bookstore in a few years.

LFarmer

If a person feels happy that they are no longer gay, then good for them. My issue is when they feel they have to discuss their 'wicked' ways in the gay world to any and everyone who will listen. As a gay man I have never 1. Participated in an orgie 2. Used illegal drugs. 3. Had mulitiple partners and 4. Made a habit of cruising for tricks. BUT guess who has that I know? ALOT of my male HETEROSEXUAL friends and only a few gay ones. One ex gay individuals life story does not and will not mirror another gay identified person's life.
One of the main reasons SOME gay people participate in numerous sexual behavior is because thats all we as a community see on TV and other forms of media. Very few of us can tell our parents " Dad I met a guy and he sho' is fine". Until the images of gays and lesbians of color changes, many will fall and stumble finding themselves and defining their sexuality. On the other hand, how about the fact that in ANY sexual orientation there are people who knowingly and willingly seek sex partners without an intent of obtaining a permanent partner. So what ? What works for one doesn't work for others. I always tell my gay, bi, lesbian, and heterosexual friends that have many sex partners that they are all a new group 'hoe sexuals', and we laff because it's their choice, whereas I myself have always been in long term relationships BUT don't pass judgements on those who choose not to.
I also feel some of these so called ex gays are being pimped by the conservative churches as THE official spoke person for "Loving the sinner and not the sin" crap.

J. Mathis

Very powerful and provocative article!!!! I'm glad Jasmyne that you are bringing these issues out front. What is happening??? I grew up in the Pentecostal/Apostolic church world so I understand full well the emotional conflict that comes from accepting, and walking in your true sexual self. It is a fight. You have to change some of your theology or teaching in order to really be set free. But life is a journey...and we each have to find our own way to God and in accepting ourselves.

Stuffed Animal

We'll never know what some of these people really are in terms of sexuality. What we can be sure of, though, is that if they were sincere about wanting to repent of sexual sin, they would embrace celibacy instead of becoming cheerleaders for another kind of sex. We can also be sure that people who spend less time worrying about their own sins and more time worrying about sins others are allegedly committing do not know the Christ's true teaching. Just like everybody who claims to be Lesbian or Gay (or not) isn't, everybody who claims to be Christian isn't, either. As a rule, the louder they proclaim themselves, the more you should doubt them.

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