From fellow blogger/journalist Clay Cane:
"The day of Pride, I’m standing there and there is a sea of people as far as the eye can see, panoramic view. All brown, men with men, women with women and instead of feeling this overwhelming sense of pride, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. The scripture came to me that this is that wide road leading to destruction. Here you are on this road, you don’t belong here…I’ve never gone to a gay pride event since that day."
Those are the words of Charlene Cothran describing the beginning of the end of being a lesbian at Chicago Black Gay Pride in 2001. Cothran is the creator of the twelve-year old Venus magazine (named in honor of the late Venus Landin who was killed by her ex-partner in 1993) and self-proclaimed ex-gay who claims that you too can be heterosexual through Jesus Christ.
People tend to look at ex-gays as “proof” that homosexuality is sin; proof that any gay person across the globe can change their sexuality. However, if these ex-gays have always looked at themselves through a heterosexist lens then it's not really proving much. Cothran has said, “As a believer of the word of God, I fully accept and have always known that same-sex relationships are not what God intended for us.” The fact that Cothran has converted to what she always thought was the “right” way, doesn't make her any more of an authority than a straight person who believes homosexuality is wrong. While reading this interview it is important to note: Cothran doesn’t have any added credibility because she had a black gay magazine and is a former lesbian. The real question is—was she just a self-hating lesbian the whole time?
This is Cothran's first interview with a black gay media outlet (second non-religious media outlet in general). Many people told me I should not interview her, her story is not valid, she is a liar, there is nothing new about an ex-gay, she is doing this for profit, etc. Granted some of this interview is filled with clichés and rhetoric, however, I believe everyone's story is valid. In addition, when people tell their stories, their words speak for itself, which is exactly what this interview does for me. You have to know the level of vehemence that people put out there in the world.
Religion often preys on the weak-minded in fear and doubt. James Baldwin once "I was never a totally free human being because I was raised in a Christian culture." Religion is profitable, if you have guilt for who you are there is always room for redemption. Slaves had guilt for who they were so the idea of revolting was sinful—that slice of truth has been chalked up to revisionist history. Conversion has become part of the base of the (proto) fascist religious right, which is what is driving "conversions" and the desire to draw others into the fold.
Truth is not egocentric. Ideas aren’t valid because of your emotional or personal experience. Making homosexuality a sin according to Christian theology is a claim of an idea. When the Bible is used to support a point there's immediately a line drawn. What's on one side is instantly assumed what's right, and what’s on the other side is assumed wrong. You're asserting an argument, and if you're starting an argument then you have to back it up with a rationale beyond just reflecting on your own life.