Today I am getting hateful messages from a few of my fellow gay siblings over the video interview with TWO that was released a couple of days ago and picked up by Pink News yesterday.
Some of the anger has been very eloquently expressed in comments on post shares here and there. However much of what inspired this post has been from private messages and emails. The anger isn’t unexpected or even uncalled for. I am a big fan of personal responsibility. I not only understand their anger, but I can also empathize directly with it in some ways.
I was a self-loathing gay man who was a victim of conversion therapy but also an advocate for it for a long time (over two decades). I was part of the systemic bigotry at the highest levels. So, yes, I was a victim that entire time but I also own my actions and their consequences regarding ex-gay ministry (the pastoral version of conversation therapy) and anti-LGBTQ policy as well. I don’t blame anyone in the LGBTQ+ community for thinking the worst or not trusting me. I would love for people to see my heart-change as genuine, but I am certainly not defensive or angry if they do not.
The TWO video summarizes how people demeaning my worth my whole life led to being vulnerable to the ex-gay lie. I say that because it is not good for my mental health to now switch gears and believe what others are saying today in regard to me being “worthless” or “rancid” “evil” (and worse descriptors). I will not accept that I should never be allowed to marry Dan or be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. While I still have a hard time forgiving myself on some things, I can’t allow a new manifestation of self-loathing to create another false hurting/hurtful self.
Over the past five years, I have been living out as my true self. I know what I need to take personal responsibility for and what I don’t need to internalize as well. I also know that what I do here at Thrive LGBTQ+ is out of a passion to do better now that I know better. While I want to accommodate those who have very negative views of me with a listening ear and a compassionate heart, I am not waiting for permission to speak out and seek to end religious stigma and any efforts to change a person’s sexuality or identity. I lived it; now I have learned from it and will use that knowledge to undermine conversion therapy from every angle my experience has informed me to do so.
It would be nice to have full forgiveness and support from everyone. And to be clear, a vast majority of my LGBTQ+ siblings are very kind and gracious; more so than I deserve. But, I am not depending on that to finally be doing the right thing for the right reasons. I think as time moves on, more people will see my change of heart is genuine. Those who don’t, I wish only the best.
I love the TWO video for a lot of reasons, of all the videos/interviews I have been in, it shares some insights into my journey that I haven’t really shared in detail before. Plus, Dan makes an appearance at the end. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: