Back when I was starting to come out, and more people discovered I was gay, occasionally someone would say to me, “I look at you, and I just keep thinking about you having sex with a guy.” I still get, from some, an incessant amount of "you're gay" or gay "jokes," which makes them sound like naive high-school boys from the 1980s. Being gay is not a joke — or a sin.
There was a time when I took a drink out of someone’s glass, they’d look askance and slyly order another drink and discard the one I drank out of — it happened to me as recently as a few years ago. Their ignorance derived from either assuming I have AIDS or that they’re going to get the "cooties" and turn gay from drinking out of the same cup.
What always infuriated me, particularly with women who did this, was that they would be all polite, sweet, and sugary around me, but underneath festered a severely judgmental and contemptible view of my sexuality and my poisonous saliva.
I keep reading about Speaker Mike Johnson’s wife, Kelly, and her demented detestation for queers — more specifically it seems gay men. I’m so tired of reading that she’s nice and that media stories about her extremism are “unfair.” These comments are from her friends, which almost certainly means they are as bigoted as she is — birds of a feather.
In a New York Times story about her, one of her friends --- a bird with the same feathers — described her “as someone with a set of deeply held religious beliefs that guide her life — but also someone who is exceedingly polite to everyone she meets, regardless of their background or sexual orientation.”
I’m imagining these “friends” sitting around drinking holy water in their handmaiden outfits trying to one-up each other on who has the most ironclad covenant marriage. And one of the handmaids bawling her eyes out because she caught her 7-year-old son watching SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Oh, good gracious,” Kelly Johnson might console. “You must immediately enroll him in my conversion therapy counseling service, lest he start watching Ren and Stimpy next. I can rid him of the demon of his homosexuality. I know all about gay sex, and I know how to put a buttplug in that.”
Like her husband’s obsession with gay sex, which I wrote about previously, Kelly has a similar fixation — a bird with the same boa feather in this instance. As we all know by now, and as we reported, Kelly is the owner and CEO of Onward Christian Counseling Services, which likens homosexuality to bestiality and incest, and also offers one of the most dangerous weapons aimed at LGBTQ+ youth — so-called conversion therapy.
Seems for years that Kelly was quite proud of her work; however, when the media started logging on to her website in droves and discovering the troves of fervently anti-LGBTQ+ content, she took the site down. Why would she do that, I wonder? Is she embarrassed? Trying to hide her hate? Or because she was getting so many unique visitors that she decided to take it down for a refurbish and add a new tagline: “God Hates Gays, and So Do I.”
Don’t think for a minute that she “likes” us. Just like the narrow-minded people I have/had in my life, she would be polite, sweet, and sugary around me, but her subconscious — and conscious — would be burning with obsessed judgment about my gayness the whole time. She would hide her "gag me with a spoon" revulsion of me behind her saccharin smile.
There is no way in hell that she wouldn’t be looking at me the whole time and picturing me having sex with another man. Her thinking about how I express my love and lust has been corroded by years of railing against people like me. Exceedingly polite, my ass! She's a hypocrite and a heathen.
Kelly Johnson in her Bible-brainwashed bravado thinks she’s doing “God’s work,” no doubt by cruelly "converting" children and equating me to an animal. If God’s work involves fueling the hate of our community by the extreme right, which inevitably leads to queer bashing, hate crimes, and suicide, then she does not worship my God or do his work.
She’s probably in strong denial that she has something to do with all the hate, violence, and death. But she’s wrong. Kelly Johnson has the blood of our community not on her hands, but gushing like waterfalls out of them.
And her conversion therapy “expertise”? As we also reported, this week, 28 influential mental health and medical organizations in the United States came together to denounce, in no uncertain terms, "conversion" therapy. They acknowledged that victims of this practice often suffer psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, and long-lasting emotional distress. Their goal is to put this harmful practice to an end.
As a study by the Trevor Project confirmed this year that "conversion" therapy is associated with an increased suicide risk. More blood on the blood-soaked hands of Kelly Johnson.
I recognize the hypocrisy of me accusing Kelly of judging me while I judge her. But there’s a difference. I’m not hurting anyone. My sexuality is a true gift from God. My words don’t spread hate. My words aren’t making trans kids contemplate suicide. My words aren’t prompting a hate crime. They are not fueling the rage of a raging homophobe — well, they might be, because I called my sexuality a gift from God.
In Matthew 7:1-51, if I can quote the Mike and Kelly Johnson Bible that guides their life, scripture said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way, you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
I wouldn’t have the temerity to look at the devil behind Kelly Johnson’s eyes. I’m not that hypocritical; however, if I had the unwelcome occasion to meet her, she might look at me and see gay sex, and I would look at her and see an accomplice to murder.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate. Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.