Four Exgay Fears That Are Myths

For over 20 years in the exgay/conversion ministry world, I was taught, or had personal fears that certain things would happen if I ever “identified as gay’” again. I am going to put these accusations and personal fears in quotes (below) and then address each one directly:

You are going to end up in a big pile of naked people and overdose on drugs.

In the exgay/conversion ministry world, being gay is reduced to some kind of lewd, hedonistic, sexual darkness that conservatives loathe (but I’m sure a few fantasize about.) They ignore that party/group/public sex is a part of the heterosexual world (if not more so) than the LGBTQ+ community. They can’t even fathom that those activities can be engaged with personal responsibility, interpersonal respect, boundaries, and maturity. But because it has been used to stigmatize gay men, in particular, they honestly believe that is all any of us ever do.

Don’t laugh. That was a literal fear! It may have been my personal worst fear. The first time I was “out” in the ’80s, that scene happened quite a bit around my party life back then. My experience during that time was not a good one. It caused a great deal of heartache. All these decades later, I know where the big pile of naked people is. They are at the clothing-optional campground we visited with some friends yesterday to celebrate Labor Day.

And what we did and did not do is no one’s business. Just be careful not to assume anything.

The other 364 days of the year, my particular kind of “gay lifestyle” is pretty boring. Our wild, crazy events usually consist of pasta night while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“If you dare darken the door of a gay bar, group, association that they will hate you because of your faith in Jesus and past as a exgay leader. They will brainwash you out of guilt to do their bidding.”

While not everyone in the LGBTQ+ affirming community has been or is quick to embrace or forgive me, the other 97% have been the literal personification of grace. They have shown more understanding and unconditional love than most of what I can remember when going to church every Sunday. I can honestly say I have yet to feel any kind of pressure, shame, or manipulation from our community. So much so that I can finally say “our community” without any internalized fear or hesitation.

Even zealous LGBTQ+ activists’ actions are born from a passion for stopping public policy or toxic theology that threatens us with disenfranchisement, oppression, and inequality. Believe whatever you want, just don’t do it at our expense with the errant belief you have a right to deny us the same freedoms and protections you have enjoyed for generations. I know how that works; I used to be on the other side of these things, remember?

Christian nationalism is not religious enlightenment or a god-given right; it’s fascism.

You will be living in sin! You will always be a double-minded man and tormented by the Holy Spirit night and day until He gives up on you and hands you over to Satan.

Since it is believed in that world that participating in anything LGBTQ+ is sinful (behavior, identity, feelings, etc.), many believe that you could not be saved and Spirit-filled and embrace your truth as an LGBTQ+ person. If you are saved and spirit-filled, they believe the Holy Spirit will nag, threaten, harass, and torment you into repentance (changing your mind and behavior to match theirs). If you make an unwise decision and “refuse to hear the call of the Spirit,” you (in their minds) are destined to live a “double-minded” life which will make you unstable in all your ways and end in death.

If you don’t struggle with all that inner turmoil, well, it is obvious (to them) that you were never actually saved, to begin with.

As my Granny Grunt would say, “Well, that’s just horse-hockey!”

Before accepting the truth that I am the Divine’s child of the gay variety, I was tormented by what my mind and culture told me I had to be when my heart and spirit knew the truth.

In the exgay world, there was so much hypocrisy (double-mindedness) that it was a breathtaking dynamic to behold daily. Self-righteous humility burdens others with expectations we don’t expect of ourselves. The exgay world blames God for their own self-loathing and is taught that it is His will.

All of that is fortified by the bare minimum of what the Church would accept as “biblical” living for those with these proclivities (not acknowledged as innate attributes). What I have described in this section is a literal example of double-mindedness (not repentance) and instability. So much so that it can lead to death. That’s what happened to my friend Michael succumbed to one of the potential side effects of exgay ministry (clinical depression) and took his own life.

The Spirit, my Source, is closer than ever in my life. My focus is absolutely clear and unwavering.

If you go back to being gay, Jesus will leave you and take His favor from you. You will be cursed.

He hasn’t. He’s a good shepherd, remember? But, if anything, my faith is more vital, not exclusive, and way more expansive because I have and live, in essence, the Spirit of my faith, no longer the moral self-righteousness derived from a legalistic reading (rules and fear based) of scriptures.

As I have said a million times, I never “went back” to anything. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, led me forward, one step at a time, out of the closet and into a genuinely marvelous “light” and life.

Instead of being cursed, I have been blessed. Blessed with my husband Dan, our daughter, and blessed with a job to rebuild a career. I no longer feel the need to keep proving or justifying myself through the lens of others. I love flourishing instead of simply surviving. Life hasn’t been a cakewalk, but sometimes the cakewalk is more dangerous than the struggle. I am grateful that the past is done and is now being used to create and serve the good.

To Conclude…

Yes, I had a lot of baggage when I first came out. Almost eight years later, I realized that while some of it still needed to be unpacked, most just needed to be looked at realistically, objectively, shake my head at it, and left behind. Instead of curses coming my way, the condemnation of exgay/conversion ideology has been discarded so that I can fully receive the blessing of what it means to be a gay man.

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