It saddened me to
read in The Advocatethe article penned by Kyle Rice,
the young man who hates being gay. Not only because he is so
unhappy, but because it reminded me of where I came
Like Kyle, I was
raised conservative Christian. My father was, and still
is, the pastor of a Pentecostal church. And like Kyle, I did
not want to be gay.
going to try and change Kyle’s mind about his faith.
Nor am I going to try and convince him to embrace his
sexual orientation or discourage his political
activism. But I do want to caution Kyle about his
decision to participate in an "ex-gay" ministry.
I write at a Web
site that is dedicated to monitoring these ministries
and have become familiar with the methods, claims, and
motivations of their movement. It is from this
experience that I offer the following advice to Kyle:
Kyle, when you
have been told that you can "change," they do not mean
that you will change your attractions. The change spoken
about is only a change in how you identity yourself.
You will be encouraged to view yourself no longer as
gay but as a nongay person who suffers from same-sex
leaders of the "ex-gay" movement don't often admit it
to the press, but when asked they will acknowledge that they
are still attracted to the same sex. Those few men who
are married are not attracted to women in general but
have developed an attraction to one specific woman,
their wife. One leader recently told a workshop that he
was unable to consummate his marriage during the first nine
Although a few of
the most visible "ex-gays" are married, for the vast
majority "change" means living a life of celibacy. This may
at first seem acceptable to you. But remember, Kyle, this is
not only giving up sex; it also means you will never
hold hands, kiss, or cuddle in front of a fire.
And should you
decide that you like a woman "enough" to marry her,
please know that not only will you be giving her only a
portion of yourself but you are interfering
with her ability to meet a man who can
love her the way she deserves to be loved. Also,
nearly all "ex-gay" marriages end in
divorce—including the unions of many who were at one
time leaders in the movement and held up as testimony.
know if it is possible to change one's orientation. But I do
know that the overwhelming majority of people who go
through these ministries never succeed in doing so. I
know people who have tried for decades without
success, and I don't know any who entered an "ex-gay"
program as fully homosexual and are now fully
heterosexual. If this happens at all, it is very rare,
and you should understand that it’s really very
unlikely that it will happen to you.
Kyle, the "ex-gay" ministries will tell you things
that are not true. Perhaps they don't mean to lie, but the
things you will be told about "the homosexual
lifestyle" are not at all reflective of the lives that
gay people lead.
You may be told
that gays were all molested, will die by age 42, have
hundreds of sex partners, don't establish lifelong
relationships, or even that gays are not capable of
love to the depth that straight people experience.
Perhaps you will be told that gay people wish to destroy
marriage, hate Christians, want to overthrow society, or
seek to molest children. None of this is true. I think
you know better, Kyle, but it can be very persuasive
when all the people around you repeat these things.
But the most
damaging and difficult lie of all is that you cannot be gay
I don't say that
because I think Christians should never try to change
their orientation. I say that because the vast majority of
people who do try will never experience such a
And when they
finally give up their long, futile struggle, they often
believe that this means they must also abandon their faith.
I pray that when you discover you have not become
straight you will not then believe that you must give
up your relationship with God.
I know that you
have a certain understanding of Scripture that tells you
homosexuality is incompatible with God. But God also
instructs us (in the King James translation) to "Study
to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth." This means that we cannot rely solely on what our
church has told us, or even on our understanding of
the Bible, but we must listen to others and seek the
truth from what different scholars have to say. And
while some biblical scholars agree with the position your
church teaches, others do not. I encourage you to read
for yourself what they have to say.
My final advice
to you, Kyle, is this: However it was that you came to be
gay, God made you this way. And whatever you feel about what
God wants you to do about it, we do know one thing:
God doesn’t want you to hate yourself. Nor does
he want you to hate any part of the way he created
I wish Kyle
happiness and peace. I hope he finds a way to reconcile his
attractions with his faith. But most of all, I will pray
that he learns to love himself.
I invite others
of you who are people of faith to do the same.