The Ex-Gay “Post-Gay” Charade
June 16th, 2010
There have been a lot of talk about the so-called “post-gay” phenomenon. Andrew Sullivan has posted quite a few examples of it on his web site over the past few years. “Post-gay” describes a world in which gay, straight, bisexual, whatever have all achieved true equality and acceptance, to such an extent that maintaining a separate social structure remains moot. It’s John Lennon’s “Imagine” for sexual orientation, a world without fears, rejection, discrimination; no more sorrow and no more pain.
Post-gay is a world of complete assimilation, and this assimilation would happen not because people went back into the closet, but because the very concept of a closet no longer makes any sense. Nor would the idea of a gay club or a gay ghetto. It would come about when the culture war is over, with those who fought against LGBT equality having lost and those who fought for LGBT equality having been made irrelevant.
That’s what is meant by “post-gay.” It describes a world that is completely alien to those who oppose LGBT equality. In fact, it is their worst nightmare. Which is why it is beyond offensive to see Exodus International vice president and perennial culture warrior Randy Thomas to expropriate the term “post-gay” as a euphemism for “ex-gay”:
I contend (hat tip to Peter Ould) that people like us are on a Christian post-gay journey where the gay vs. ex-gay vs straight labels are no longer sufficient … or even appropriate … to describe who or what we are about.
What Thomas describes as a “Christian post-gay” journey is the complete negation of what post-gay is all about. If Thomas had bothered to really pay attention to the WBUR radio program on the subject that he linked to, he would see that.
To be truly post-gay, Thomas would have to believe not just that the labels no longer matter, but the meaning behind the labels no longer matter either. In other words, being gay is no longer an issue, but also that having a relationship with someone of the same sex is also no longer an issue. Obviously, that is a non-starter for him. Otherwise, he would no longer work for an organization that spends a million dollars a year convincing other people that being gay — or being in a same-sex relationship, if that is all he really cares about – is an issue. A big issue. An issue big enough to dedicate his life to making it an issue for everyone else everywhere he goes. From London to Mexicali and all points in-between.
If Exodus were post-gay, then that means that Exodus will meet next week at their annual conference to spend four days and nights talking about something that is no longer relevant. They will cap it off with a Love Won Out conference, again to talk about something that is no longer relevant. Exodus President Alan Chambers will be speaking for six nights at a church in Rio de Janero in July, presumably to talk about something that is no longer relevant.
Exodus is working on a post-gay journey? Tell that to the people who have been impacted by Exodus’ message of “truth and love” to the LGBT community. Tell that to the people of Uganda.
In fact, Thomas isn’t interested in a truly post-gay world, but a “Christian post-gay world,” which he admits in an earlier post is simply a euphemism for “ex-gay”:
Ex-gay is an identity label based in what we are not and I have never seen how that is supposed to be positive. The secular media likes it because it quickly pigeonholes a sound bite. I have reluctantly used it in the past, Exodus has reluctantly used it from time to time but I only know maybe 4 people who actually like using that term.
He doesn’t like “ex-gay”? Fine. But abusing the English language to confuse people into thinking that what you’re describing is the complete opposite of what they think you’re describing is fraud, pure and simple.
Thomas’ “ex-gay equals post-gay” charade is as disingenuous as PFOX’s “ex-gay discrimination” tirade, and equally as offensive. In today’s climate, Thomas is no more post-gay than I am. I look forward to the day when Box Turtle Bulletin becomes irrelevant. So does Thomas, I suspect. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that that day looks very, very, different to him than it does to those who truly envision a post-gay world.