A timely reminder about ex-gay awareness
September 16th, 2013
I know that it may have slipped the memory of some of you, so I thought it would be a good time to remind you that September is Ex-gay Awareness Month, an entire month of secret events, capped off by a dinner at an undisclosed location, all designed to make you more aware of the existence of people who identify as ex-gay. (Yes, I know it was supposed to be July, but a couple of the ex-gays had other conflicts and it’s best to pick a time when all of them are free).
One of the items offered by the event organizer, Voice of the Voiceless, and PFOX, the organization for disapproving parents of gay children, is awareness about the extent to which ex-gay books are banned. PFOX’s Regina Griggs says, “Kristin Pekoll, the librarian in charge of young adult books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in Wisconsin, advocates for children’s books with gay themes but refuses to accept our donation of ex-gay books for children.” FOX News provides a list of the banned books.
They recommend that you read “an excerpt from an ex-gay book, video record it, and submit their video to the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out YouTube Channel”. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one ex-gay book for children, Alfie’s Home by Richard Cohen, and it looks like Cassie Levy beat me too it.
Personally, I don’t know many ex-gays, anymore. I know some former ex-gays, some people who acknowledge the direction of their attractions while choosing celibacy, and even some same-sex attracted people who have found a heterosexual relationship that works for them. But they tend to have dropped the “ex-gay” moniker and are being more accurate and precise with their language.
Ex-Gays, those who claim to have actually changed the direction of their attractions, are a rather elusive group that one encounters mostly on-line. And while they claim to speak for thousands, the number of actual ex-gays that we have seen in public tends to be quite a bit smaller.
But should you happen to be among the few who actually know any ex-gays, please be sure to smile and wish them a very pleasant ex-gay month. And if you’re feeling particularly creative, you might even work with them on a theme song.
I do have to warn you that they may be confused by your pleasantness. Most of those who still think of themselves as ex-gay are quite convinced that they are victims of severe persecution and attack. And if you don’t attack them, they sometimes feel compelled to try and incite a response (but during Ex-gay Awareness Month, try not to let that happen).
The important thing is that ex-gays are human and we should wish them happiness. I wish they were less inclined to say absurd and hurtful things about my community, less concerned about my “lifestyle” and more concerned with finding a life of integrity, and a whole lot less inclined to be a tool of a political and religious movement that seeks to impose doctrine into civil law. But, nevertheless, I wish them happiness and I’m doing my part to make you aware.
There, don’t you feel more aware?
(And no, I’m not going to discuss Unicorn Awareness Month, for those who identify as unicorns)