Saturday, January 31, 2009


Several have asked me what I think since the interviews with Ted Haggard have surfaced. I have often thought I should name this blog, "What I think." That might be more descriptive than even "My heart goes out." But even though I share my thoughts, I still feel a lot of compassion for the Haggard family.

I was only able to watch Oprah, where Ted and Gayle Haggard were the guests, and I've seen several clips on youtube. I wrote notes to help me keep track of all that they said, and I'm very close to the feelings that Gayle expressed. These are some thoughts...

The family of Ted and Gayle Haggard have been in a spotlight for years, and Ted was always gay. He built a mega-church, and he was gay. He preached, and organized, and inspired, and he was gay that whole time. Whether or not he was having gay sex, or whether or not it ever would have been reported, he was gay. God used him tremendously in building that church and as loved as he was with his congregants, he was always gay. He should have been 100% faithful to his wife, and there is where he failed. He did not fail in being attracted to men. He now admits both of those things to be true.

In sharing more of what I think, I have personally met with (and paid the big bucks for) 3 different psychologists. With the fourth and my main therapist (who never charged me anything, God bless you, Jane) I met over a period of several months in order to understand a lot of what I was going through. I've discussed with individuals and with couples what they go through when they are in a mixed-orientation marriage. One book that really helped me was by Amity Piere Buxton, "The Other Side of the Closet." The situations in that book showed how when one member moved OUT of the closet, it put the straight spouse INTO it. I have been in that situation, and I think I've said enough on this blog to share all that in other places.

I have read current material that is supported by the American Psychological Association. But I have never met the Haggards, so I only speak from my own experience.

But some counselors, in the exact opposite of any of the above authorities, as well as all of the professional medical trade associations, are those who call themselves reparative counselors (also known as X-gay therapists), and they say "there is no such thing as a homosexual, only heterosexuals with issues." These counselors, usually from conservative Christian backgrounds are doing what they can to keep together families that are coming to them with problems.

The Haggard family is seeing Ted's same-sex attraction from the view of these hopeful Christian counselors. I understand their thinking, and I know they are relying on to their fundamentalist theology. I have spoken with one other couple who I'm friends with, and this couple, too, is staying together. They say the same things and it sounds a little bit too canned for me. I suppose that is a solution that works for them, but it isn't my situation. I can understand that both couples are feeling that they are doing the right thing.

Back when Kinsey first made his scale, he used it to demonstrate that there are variations in sexual orientation. To deny that there even exists such a thing as homosexuals one would have to come to the conclusion that the Haggards' theology (and many other evangelicals/fundamentalists/literalists and whatever one is called) works. Of course this is convenient for those who are married and one is same-sex-attracted, because it continues their hope that this behavior will not recur. Unfortunately this is rarely the case.

When I was an active member of the Yahoo group, "Wives of gay/bi husbands," it was heartbreaking for me to see so many, many wives who were hurt continually by their gay husbands. These good women (or who knows, they could have been regular women) wanted in every way to believe that their husbands were never, ever again going to act on their sex drives with other men. Unfortunately, it was a rare man who didn't go to the computer or video store for porn, visit a park for anonymous sex, or keep a boyfriend on the side. The actions of these men left their families at risk for disease. They disrespected their wives by lying. They harmed the women they had once loved by use of drugs and alcohol. But more than anything else, in their wake they had hurt everyone, and they many times did all this while telling their wives "I'm not really gay." Yeah, right.

I am not trying to have a self-fulfilling prophecy that the ones who claim to be "not-gay" will eventually act on their feelings. I am not trying to say that their love is not real, nor would I encourage others in this situation to leave one another or abandon their families. But as I've stated before, it is a travesty to tell a young person that the "feelings will change," if they marry someone of the opposite sex. It is wrong to tell them, like Ted Haggard is doing, that "the ideal is to marry." That makes other relationships inferior, and they are not.

A friend sent me this quote from the TV show, Rick and Steve. Although I have never seen that show (nor do I endorse it) a character had this to say about reparative therapy: "Ex-gay therapy...They make you straight enough to sleep with a woman, long enough to break her heart."

For Gayle to love Ted and to forgive his behavior, I'm so proud of her. For Ted to say he is going to not lie and not "act compulsively," good for him. I personally doubt that the troubles are over for the Haggards.

Excuse me for my misunderstanding...

My good friend, Tim, over at Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind, tells us today that he's been spending time with an un-named woman that he calls, "Mrs. A." Well, get a load of that! I don't know who she is, but I happen to know that Tim's married, not to Mrs. A, but to Cindy. And Cindy is so nice - this is bad, really too bad. It seems like being, "out this week," in the hospital with Mrs. A is a big deal. I think its' shameful. Here's what he writes:

I've been out this week with mrsa and I'm still in the hospital.
I promise to come back refreshed soon. There are some great things going on I am anxious to share them.
I do have one thought this week. Have you noticed that many times you can write something, a note, letter or poem and then have it completely misunderstood?
Yet we have people today that declare they can read a two thousand year old document that has been translated which is another word for interpreted, (like it or not) and tell us they understand it like God just told them himself?
I've been reading lots this week and one of the thoughts I am considering is when we place God in a religion, theory or theology we have severely diminished the mystery of God, the majesty of God and the ability of God to be seen as One for all.
There is a hell and it's name is religion.
Anyway, I'm just in the hospital reading and thinking.

UH-OH, I've been corrected - he has an infection referred to as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus! I hear that is serious. They CALL it MRSA. Oh, I see. I am wrong. Please forgive me. Get well, Tim. I thought you were running around with another woman. Oh, I just misunderstood. Sorry.

And I found this photo on facebook. Here are Tim, Cindy, me and their daughter, Emily, at Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights. Drop Tim a line over at Deep Thoughts - he's kinda sick.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Amazing Race! Mel White and Mike White - starting Feb. 15, 2008

Mel White is one of my heroes. His book, "Stranger at the Gate," began to affect my way of viewing gay people, way back in January, 2005. Because he shared his life through this book, I began to realize that people could be gay and Christian. Mel founded an organization called Soulforce, which works for the rights and the acceptance of gay and lesbian people. Mel White helped me, and I love and admire him for that.

Today I got an exciting update from Soulforce! Mel and his son, Mike White, are going to be contestants on The Amazing Race, which is one of my favorite TV shows! Mike wrote the movie, "School of Rock," and he played the character, Ned Schneebly. How cool that they are going to team up for The Amazing Race!

This is what I copied from SOULFORCE:

We are thrilled to announce that our founder, the Rev. Dr. Mel White, will compete in the 14th addition of the CBS program, The Amazing Race!

Video of Mel White and his son, Mike, on the Amazing RaceMel and his son, Mike, a successful screenwriter whose writing credits include the feature films Nacho Libre and School of Rock, joined together to participate in this once in a lifetime experience -- spanning 40,000 miles and nine countries in just 22 days!

The Amazing Race premiers on CBS on Sunday, February 15, at 8pm ET/PT. Tell your friends and mark your calendars!

Go Team Soulforce!

For more information, go to

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm standing up, saying: Enough. Gay people are dying. It's wrong.

(this is an excerpt from a longer essay)

In 1975 my husband and I had become full-Gospel, charismatic, tongue-talking, Bible-carrying believers, and we thought that Jesus was the answer to everything. We had faith, and faith was the key to everythng: health, prosperity, happiness. We knew that if the Bible said it, it was for us to "claim." We "claimed" for ourselves verses like Mark 11:22 "...Whoever says to this mountain, 'be removed and be cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, and he will have whatever he says."

Our preacher, Dr. Hobart Freeman, as well as many other charismatic teachers of the time (that we eventually were told by Freeman to disregard because they didn't show "true faith"), taught us what it meant when in Hebrews it said, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." We were to have faith not merely for salvation, but for ALL things that we needed: a home, an income, a family. And medical needs, including home-birth deliveries of our children. And a nice car, maybe even a Cadillac like Freeman himself drove. For the men, a full beard. Clear skin for the women. Broken bones were to be neither straightened nor set except by way of prayer. No need for a doctor but sometimes you could use a dentist. And you must only use real butter in your home-made cakes. Women were not to work outside the home. Insurance showed that you didn't have faith. Only certain jobs were "approved." Don't wear glasses, because Jesus died for your "healing." And the legalism extended on and on - to the clothing, the brand of shoes, and whether or not ears could be pierced and still hold on to your salvation.

As faith was applied to serious illness like cancer, natural childbirth without the aid of a doctor or licensed midwife, and when chronic diseases were ignored in favor of "faith for healing," people began to die. A friend, Alice, as well as her unborn baby, died after she labored for days without medical treatment. Judy's full-term baby was stillborn. One baby died due to the fact that it would show "lack of faith" to suction the mucous from the baby's nose and throat. One report says that there were as many as 52 deaths associated with Faith Assembly and Freeman's teachings.

In the fall of 1975, six months after we married, and when I was pregnant for our first child, we packed up our stuff and left in the night, telling almost no one, and we moved to live nearer our parents.

Meanwhile, with all the peer pressure of that group, Faith Assembly, neither we nor anyone else ever stood up to Freeman or his circle of ministers and said, "Enough. People are dying. It doesn't work. You're wrong." For all the good intentions and spiritual goals, for several years mothers giving birth continued to die needlessly, babies and children suffered with treatable illnesses, and others were orphaned when their parents wanted to be healed by faith at ALL costs. Finally Hobart Freeman himself died, yet I think there are still devout followers who hang on the the illusion that it was the people who erred, not Freeman himself. How wrong and how sad because many even turned from God altogether - they'd suffered enough. My descriptions cannot show how badly families deteriorated as the direct result of this cult of "faith." Many were left in the wake of cultish behavior, and it was all in the name of Christ.

Fast forward to the present. The group I've described seems way-out and out-of-touch. It's seen as legalistic and radical to think that to show your faith it is required to disregard medical treatment. Whether or not you wear a certain brand of clothing does not prove anything about your spiritual walk with God. And surely we have moved toward women taking full advantage of the opportunities and career paths.

And yet today, Christians are still trying to apply principles of faith to something that does not work: they think faith can change the sexual orientation of gay people. Despite medical and psychological evidence, first-person accounts, and the witness left by the suicides of so many, why is it that so few Christians will STAND UP to say, "Enough. Gay people are dying. It doesn't work. You're wrong." Having come out of that cult of faith-mentality, it still applies to this area, and I'm standing up, calling it wrong. I see it as the same thing - and I'm not so timid as I was when I left in the night!

Just like at Faith Assembly where people needlessly died because they believed so desperately, there are young people (and old) who feel that being gay is a sin and their solution is death at their own hand. Let's not let more young people die over this!

Even more, groups today like Focus on the Family, who have hypocritically turned away from Ted Haggard and his family, yet put out negative information about the movie, "Prayers for Bobby," think that any opposing evidence will hurt their cause. Many churches, where I've heard them say that it is the "gay lifestyle," that causes suicide, will not accept that really it is the alienation, depression, and hopelessness that a gay person feels from their Christian family, church, and from their friends. They are even told that it is God that rejects them.

My question is this: When will others in church stand up and say with me, "Enough. Gay people are dying. It's wrong. Your "cure" doesn't work."

In the same way that I, as a Christian, (one who grew up into faith in Jesus, and who wanted it to be evident that I trusted in God), finally had to put off the myth of a legalistic and super-spiritual cult, I now must stand up for my gay and lesbian friends. It means I am not the same as the fundamentalists that helped frame my Christian life. It means that I have to stand on the principles that Jesus taught: love and forgiveness, rather than the fundamentalist assumptions of my old friends. It means that I'm a straight ally of people like Bobby Griffith, who committed suicide because he was gay, and the late Harvey Milk, and all others that have come out in the last 30 years.

To look back from my years in the pew of a country church, to church camps, and to coming out of the cult, all the way to where I am now, a lot has changed. In another 30 or 40 years, I wonder what else I'll look back upon and see as my journey evolves. I know this, that I'm still a follower of Jesus. It means that for those who are trying to just live their lives, I am standing with you.

(to the right is a photo of Bobby Griffith and his mom)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ted Haggard: God already knows the truth

Last night only one minute after this story about Ted Haggard broke, I was checking my e-mail. It appears that there are more skeletons in the closet, and one of them is coming forward to make some noise. I didn't have any reason to post, as I find it totally sad. I feel so much empathy for Ted's wife, Gayle, and I don't even know her. I've been talked about and I've been lied about, but I have nothing to hide. I wish I could show Gayle Haggard that there is hope in this situation, and it is in truth, honesty, and being real. My heart goes out to you, Gayle.

As far as their church's response to them as a family, it sounds like they were shunned. I don't go to their church, nor do I have any first-hand information, but I can imagine how it went.

When the churches think that mere repentance and their brand of "counseling" will solve this, they are wrong. Sure, Ted Haggard was wrong in what he did - absolutely. But I'm putting together what I know, and he's gay. Would it not be more healthy just to own that fact? The very difficult effort it will take a fundamentalist preacher to learn to accept himself will be extremely difficult, but so much more productive than to continue thinking he's "a loser." With that attitude there is no hope.

Then I read this post over on TWO (Truth Wins Out): where Focus on the Family is telling their followers to not watch this program. Then I changed my mind about posting.

Now, come on, do they really think that will be effective? On the one hand, a church has completely cut off communication and fellowship from Ted Haggard, and then they tell people to NOT WATCH, "Prayers for Bobby,"?

Why, if Focus on the Family really thinks they have a solution, should folks NOT WATCH this? It appears that turning away from Ted Haggard and his family has not helped them. It has hurt. In the movie, "Prayers for Bobby," Bobby's mom has changed from the closed-minded view of her church, to a supportive role for gays and lesbians - and SHE finds support there.

Wouldn't it make sense for Ted Haggard to come to his senses, be honest with God, with everyone, including himself? Because God already knows the truth. The truth is that God loves us all, gay or straight. For many of us it is so ingrained that only heterosexuals can be Christians, that for gay folks it is very, very difficult to accept otherwise. For me, I have come to accept this Good News - that the Gospel is for us ALL, and to live with integrity, honesty, and reality is part of what Jesus said when he told us, "...the truth will make you free."

Continue to pray for the Haggard family. They need it more than ever.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Listen to your gay family member

"Prayers for Bobby,"
- the trailer just made me cry. As families all across this country experience someone they know being gay, we all know that it often brings division because of long-held church beliefs.

describes the the role played by Sigourney Weaver:

In her first telepic role, Weaver will star as Mary Griffith, a devout Christian who winds up becoming an advocate for gay and lesbian youths after her son is driven into a deep depression by his family's disapproval and attempts to "cure" him of his sexual orientation.

"Prayers for Bobby," is made from the book, published in 1995, and tells a true story. It recounts a mother's journey before and after her gay son commits suicide, because he is gay and feels there is no hope. Bobby died many years ago, back in the 80s, and still families refuse to listen.

I ask myself why people won't listen, won't pay attention to the first person accounts of the gay/lesbian young people who are trying to tell their parents they are gay and that they cannot be straight. With all the pain in the telling, and with so much loss for the Griffith family, it is my hope that watchers will see something to help them understand.

"Prayers for Bobby," premiers Saturday January 24th 9pm/8c, Only On Lifetime Television

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say “Amen.”

While the sun shined and the air was cold, I felt warm when I heard this prayer. No, I was not there in person, but I watched the ceremony and the parade, and a lot of coverage on NBC TV. (you can see a lot of the video here.)

I listened on NPR a couple days ago, and I knew to tune in when Rev. Joseph Lowery began to speak. If only more of us all will hear from God, and we can all learn more in how to live together. We have high hopes for our new president, but we must all change to bring about change.

Here is Rev. Joseph Lowery, at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. January 20, 2009.

...and the transcript of the prayer:
Rev. Joseph Lowery’s Benediction at the Inaugural Ceremony

Unofficial transcription from the video
January 20, 2009

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
God who has brought us thus far along the way,
Thou, who has by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever on the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest our heart, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.
Shadow beneath thy hand,
may we forever stand true
to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared on this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the forty-fourth President of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate.

But because we know you’ve got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of moral ills. For we know that, Lord, you are able and you are willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoratism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President to inspire our nation to believe that “yes we can” work together to achieve a more perfect union.

While we have sown the seeds, the wind of greed and corruption and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in the spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, O Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle, look over our little angelic Sasha and Melia,

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up swords against nations, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid. When justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day:

when Black will not be asked to get back,
when Brown can stick around,
when Yellow will be mellow,
when the Red Man can get ahead, man,
and when White will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say “Amen.”

Say, “Amen.”

And “Amen.”

(hat tip to Jim over at Box Turtle Bulletin)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Banding together - Inauguration Parade

In doing some searching, and I happened across a very interesting blog. The blogger, Deb, brought this cause to my attention. What a great way to support gay bands, who for the first time are an LGBT group marching in the Inaugural Parade!

The cause is described fully here: Blabbeando

This is the site to make donations: lesbian and gay band site donations

"I then shall live"

This entry is my prayer for the upcoming days of the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. It was sung today at First Congregational United Church of Christ.
by a guest soloist, and I was deeply moved.

I continue to try to share things that have helped me, and that I hope will help to bring understanding. This song helped me.

The lyrics are by Gloria Gaither, written in 1981.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Equality Ride

Tonight, Jan. 17, there is going to be a program on the LOGO channel, called Equality U. This is a documentary about the Equality Ride, which has gone to Christian colleges and military schools, where students can be dismissed or expelled just for being gay. If you don't get the LOGO channel, which I don't, you can watch it streaming online, here:

In the spring of 2007 I was privileged to participate for the first time with Soulforce. To do so I drove about 5 hours to Grand Rapids, Michigan where I would be a small part of the Equality Ride. I'd read about it the year before, and sent a small donation to support Kara Speltz. Now the bus was going to be at two Christian colleges that were within driving distance of my home. I made the contacts with someone that I was coming - and I was stepping out for the first time to make myself part of the cause of equal rights.

Going up there I was not even sure what to expect. It was pretty vague what I'd be able to do, and I'd only read the accounts on the Soulforce website. I had no idea if other non-riders were going to be there, and I was still flying under the radar, not yet letting anyone know that I was going to stand up for gay rights!

In 2007 the Equality Ride was made up mostly of college-aged people, and here I was, mid-fifties! I was welcomed, but was definitely not very connected. The first evening, at Calvin College, I got to meet and talk with some of the Riders, and I knew their names and profiles from the Soulfoce website. I'd been getting postcard updates and could connect some of the names - and this was all good.

When I approached Cornerstone University, I was driving my own car. The plan was to have a candlelight vigil on a sidewalk along a busy road, and the Riders were let out on their bus. For me, I had to find a place to park. I tried using a parking lot close by, but was approached by Campus Security, with a flashlight, and asked, "Are you with this group, Soulforce?" When I answered, "yes," the officer told me, "You are not allowed to park here." I felt dismissed in a very small way, but knew that if I was there, on campus, as a parent, or even as a visitor, I'd never have been met by any kind of security, much less be told to move my car. I found a local side street and walked to the vigil site.

As we stood in a line of prayer, the candles were easily blown out by the wind. When they went out, we'd re-light them. Small points of light and fire in both the candles and the Riders. Still, in the dark, gradually some Cornerstone students began to call out, and in small groups they came, just to talk. I heard them talk about classes and about books they were reading. I heard them tell where they were from, and they began to talk about why they were there. Students had been "warned" that the bus was coming, and told not to talk with the Riders lest they be swayed to the "other side." But I also heard as some exchanged names and smiles. It was a start of communicating who each of them are - just people, and not from either "side."

The next morning I stood again in the same spot in broad daylight. It was windy, cold, and misting, and we wore emergency ponchos to try to stay warm. In the daylight mostly "official" Cornerstone faculty/administration/staff came out and it appeared that they were there to make sure that students did not approach the Equality Riders.

Throughout the morning we stood outside on the hill, praying, talking to whoever came forward, and encouraging everyone involved that God loves us all, no matter if one is gay or straight.

Eventually some of the Equality Riders stepped forward to present a literal "cornerstone." It was a stone they had made, with words of equality etched in. As the police handcuffed and arrested the young Equality Riders, I was never more proud to be standing with them.

For me, this was a start of something I had come to believe in. Personally, I have never felt the unkind words, the fear, the name-calling, or the shame for being gay. But I was PROUD to be there, in the wind, in the dark, and on the outside of the campus, alongside young people, gay and straight alike, asking for dialogue, asking to be included in Christian fellowship.

Now I am even more "out there," as I try to stand up for the rights of all and the inclusion of all. Be sure to watch this LOGO documentary, and share it with others.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snake oil solutions

Communications with readers is an interesting task. I love to hear from many of you, and with some people I am making friends. With some others I decide to not communicate further. I try to decide what comments to allow or reject, and it is totally subjective on my part. Honest questioning is allowed. Anonymous posts are allowed. But I will not allow anonymous posts that make claims that say that change of sexual orientation is possible. There are already enough sites where ex-gays may state those hopes, and for me, I just don't think it is valid.

This week an online friend said to me:
I don't even know you and I worry about you. It seems from your blog that you are so focused on defending your ex-husband. Which is ok. But taking care of yourself is important too.

I take this seriously, because sometimes I wonder if I take too much time to write and monitor the blog, and I ask myself if I'm too involved with GLBT issues. I acknowledged to this friend that I needed to consider my focus, evaluating what I do.

I know that blogs made such a difference and HELP in my life since 4 years ago, and I feel that it's important to make the new connections that I am making. I LIKE that, and I feel it's important. It has meant a difference in going forward to make new friends, and many of those I've made online, then later, in person. When so many of my formerly close friends don't or won't understand, it has been critical to make new ones! So, I don't just defend my former husband. I'm defending MY life, validating it, and finding support with new friends.

From an anonymous writer, who has written to me several (at least 8, maybe more) times, one of his messages said this:

I entreat you to email me regarding the biology of sexual orientation. Orientation can be in some cases quite fluid and in some cases not. There is a genetic basis for this. I am ex-gay but I do not foist my opinions on my gay brothers. I cannot determine who can and who can't change with a simple glance. However, biology does indeed not preordain sexual orientation. Email me at ***************** if you want to hear more. I've changed but Ray doesn't have to.
And yes, I am happily married with a son with special needs. I cannot and will not leave the side of my wife and my child. There is too much at stake in my son's precious life.

I replied to his e-mail with this:

Hello ***** (and by this time, he had given me his name, but I've omitted it),

I have received all of your messages, and I have also decided to reject your comments that assert that gay/lesbian people can change their orientation. If it were true, that would be great, but for Ray it was not possible. I know there is nothing in the world that would have caused Ray to leave MY side, and your repeated assertions don't make it any easier.

It is my position that to tell people, most of whom cannot change their basic sexual orientation, that they can change, is to do them a disservice. If you have such information, then by all means, submit it to the medical and psychological authorities, so that they may help people.

If you left homosexual behavior and are happily married to a straight woman, then I hope that you are fully up front with her, and I would hope that she knew the truth about your sexual orientation before you married. So many straight spouses hold out hope that their loved one is not really gay, that they might be bi-sexual, or have a sexual addiction, or some other not-so-gay problem, and it causes more pain, of which you may have heard.

Maybe you think that you can solve this, but we have sought professional help. We are doing the best we can with this difficult situation. I do not see a need to seek your advice. Although you think you are being kind, this is not something we want to pursue with you.

Yes, I hear defensiveness in my reply. However, I hear from many gay/lesbian married people, saying that they truly love their spouse, but that they are not able to share the intimacy (emotional connectedness, if you will) demanded in a marriage. This is due to the fact that they are critically wired differently, and it causes intense overload to their system. It's not that they are selfish, it's that they are self-preserving. To not recognize this on my part was to cause even more harm, both to my husband, and ultimately to myself.

As much as I wanted things to be different, I could not return to something that didn't exist. I could never again believe that I was the first choice. That is very hard to accept, but it is how I feel. I still, though, refuse to throw away the good memories. And if that seems defensive on my part, so be it.

In my search for help after I found out my husband was gay, I tried to find other straight spouses. Many were very angry for how their gay spouse behaved - and they were absolutely justified in their anger. Many saw that they'd been lied to and felt deceived, and they resented it. The despair in not knowing what to do is sometimes overwhelming. A lot of us straight spouses feel terribly overwhelmed, without the words to describe the pain we are going through. These are just PARTS of the ordeal that straight spouses face. Added are the questions one has to face about faith, self-worth and value, money problems, children, legal issues, health concerns, and all the day-to-day, ongoing problems of living. And then you hope - hope - hope - that there is a solution. And you will try just about any snake-oil product on the market. And reality sets in that there is nothing you can do, nothing you can change, nothing but to accept the truth.

Along the way I have considered every possible solution. If I had turned over one in my mind, I've pursued another. And every "solution" brings me back to this reality: I know the truth. I know the truth about Ray. I know the truth that he tried everything to change. I know the truth about our life. And, yes, I will defend what I know.

I now have had over four years to deal with this, but only recently have been able to express the feelings that I've gone through. Some of the feelings and plenty of the opinions have been simmering for most of that time, and I am now finally putting forth what I've processed.

Every time someone tries to tell me that they changed, or that they know some secret way to change, it is like pushing me down some dark, basement stairs in a dream that I can't wake up from. It is like holding out candy for a baby, then taking it away. I don't want to do that to people. Not to another wife, not to another spouse.

In closing this long post I want to be perfectly clear: I will not hold out false hope for "change." I know some still want to try, and that is fine. I am not for breaking up marriages, and I still wish things were different. For couples who opt for various arrangements, those are not options for me.

Thanks for your comments and e-mails, as they mean a lot to me. (I might even post some for the heck of it!) Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Presenting the Boltz sibling dance!

This blog thing isn't all figured out yet. I have yet to be clear about when to write in support of equal rights, when to share information, and when to just make it more personal. Today, it is personal.

It's a difficult thing to find myself living on my own, since I've divorced and my kids are all grown up. This is not what I ever expected, and I have not adjusted to it, some days being more "down" than others. Today, I watched this video (thank you, John Lee) and it helps to cheer up and put things in perspective. I'll share it here, with some introduction.

Our four kids have a special bond, and I don't know how to put it. Honestly, they were never the the coolest or most popular back in their high school years, but they have always been very, very imaginative and creative, and as adults they stick together. I think they were always viewed as a group, "the Boltzes." If there is such a thing as "anti-cool," then we've always been there, and here is evidence that they still are. Here you have, "the Boltz sibling dance," from Phil and Emily's wedding (12/31/08). I think it will make you all smile!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Ties that bind" - how the church hurts gay people

Christine Bakke posted notice of this tv show, In the Life. As I watched I cried for the gay friends that I've made in the past couple of years. Tears for the hurt from the fundamentalist churches, loss for the ones who have died at their own hands. No, I have not personally known anyone who has committed suicide, but I know someone who wanted to. That is no longer true, and I'm extremely thankful.

I told Christine that I will continue to do all I can, hoping to be a voice of hope for gay people and their straight spouses, for family members of GLBT people, and for the friends who are trying to listen.

Drink More PEPSI

I love Diet Coke. I rarely drink Pepsi because, to me, it isn't as good and it goes flat too fast. But with news like this, let's all find some kind of Pepsi product and DRINK MORE PEPSI! You can choose from so many products! Surely there are some you can buy so that you can counter the boycott of the AFA.

For me, I think it will be Fritos and Diet Mug Root Beer. Or maybe just the Root Beer.

Here is the AFA statement, the one where they are opposed to LGBT rights of PEOPLE:

later: It looks like I need to add some Campbell's soup to my Fritos and Root Beer diet.
...and this comes to us thanks to Right Wing Watch, which I found on Ex Gay Watch.

Don't stand in the way of equal rights

How do I begin? To start, I get irritated. It makes me annoyed, and I'm getting downright mad. It's when people be-little the oppression of gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender issues, and they patronize the battle for rights. Some whine at being called purveyors of hate speech, when that is exactly what is happening. I don't know how to tame my thoughts, but please bear with me as I put forth what I'm thinking. These are serious issues, and when amateur bloggers (of which I confess I am one) and commenters flippantly state that this is not discrimination, I have to blatantly disagree.

I ask this question rhetorically, and it is to those who want to continue to deny other people's rights: How does it make any difference to you in how other people live their lives? And why does it mean that you can stand in the way of THEIR expressions of love? Why is it more important that you, as oppressors, can express commitment, while others cannot receive the same legal status of marriage?

Peterson Toscano wrote an excellent letter, calling out the oppressors
. He expresses so well that as much as one denies it, those who vehemently stand against full rights for ALL individuals, are trampling on the very sons and daughters of God. These gay and lesbian citizens are present in our communities, where they will continue to have influence, like Peterson says here:
In spite of the opposition and the oppression, we will thrive. Transgender people, lesbians, bisexuals, and gays will have our families, our faith, our places in our communities. We will walk hand in hand with our partners without apology and without shame. We will enjoy our sexual lives as a expression of our love and as a conduit of pleasure–pure and simple. We will not go away or heed your flawed and uninformed message.

Since a couple weeks ago, when Rick Warren was invited to the Inauguration, I offered an entry saying that we should pray that churches discontinue the spreading of lies about gay people. I think that the continued discussion has shown that more needs to be said. I want to state clearly that I stand with those who stand for full equality and full inclusion in our Christian churches. If those of us who have been affected by a gay member of our family will stand together, perhaps more will understand.

I repeat once more that NO ONE CHOOSES THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND NO ONE CHANGES IT. So please, do not stand in the way of those who wish to live their lives with the ones they love. Please don't stand in the way of others in whose shoes you do not walk, and do not continue to make statements about their lives that you don't even try to understand.

p.s. You know who I'm talking to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More resources, more information, more help, more influence

This book, "Crisis, 40 stories revealing the personal, social, and religious pain and trauma of growing up gay in America," by Mitchell Gold is one I got last November when I attended, "Our Family Matters" conference, in Nashville, Tennessee. In it, Mitchell Gold, who has founded Faith in America, has assembled mostly first-person essays, by successful, famous and not-so-famous gay/lesbian people, but who were all affected by religious oppression. I found the stories to be gripping, and was so impressed with all of them.

Faith in America is co-ordinating a campaign to share additional, current stories, with Rick Warren, prior to the Inaugural prayer. This is in less than two weeks, and I'd encourage readers to submit their own life stories. There is hope that this significant event can be used to share more truth about what religion does to GLBTs. Please write here.

I'd also like to say that the Our Family Matters conference was great! People attending were so kind, and I'll never forget the warmth shared there among all of us. Kim Clark and Luane Beck produced a film called, "God and Gays," which was shown, along with several other films dealing with what it's like to be gay and Christian.

Several people of faith took part in the breakout sessions, and that proved to be an emotional time of sharing, as I said, for the first time in a group, "My name is Carol, and I was married to a gay man." It was emotional to say the least, and when I realized what was happening, I realized it was MY coming out. Thankfully I had supportive listeners, and when each of us took our turn to speak, we ALL felt loved and supported.

Back to the point - take time and write a letter to Rick Warren. It will do us all good to speak up, and we hope he will listen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Moveable Middle

By now, at age 56, it seems like forever ago when I was a college student, going to coffeehouses, concerts, and churches all over the area, all the time learning more about the Bible and meeting other young people who were excited to be Christian. Oh, those are good memories. One friend that I knew from Hartford City, at a coffeehouse known as Jacob's Well, was Pam.

Pam, like me, was about 20 years old, and we had a casual friendship. We hung out often at the coffeehouse, and I even remember going on a double date with her and "Ralph" one time. Nothing ever developed (that I know of!) with her and Ralph, but my date was Ray, and we ended up married!

Today I heard from her in an e-mail, and I cried. Here is part of what she said:

I hesitated to send the email to which you replied. After all, this would normally be a very private matter, and it has been many years since we were close.
I admit that I have been one of those who believe the Bible teaches that homosexuallity is a sin. But after the initial shock of the news about Ray, I thought back to the days at Jacobs Well with Ray sitting up in front singing and playing his guitar. It was never himself that he put forward. It was always his love for God that shone through. Although I have not seen him much in the years since, I have seen him enough to know that his spirit has not changed. So I certainly would not judge him. I can only offer my love and support for both of you.

It made a difference to me that Pam reached out in her first e-mail, and I'd answered her immediately. Not so many have realized that Ray didn't change - he is the same person he always has been. It's the fact that Pam is willing to see that "his spirit has not changed."

Last November I met Ann Craig, who works in NYC for GLAAD. Ann is the Director of Religion, Faith and Values, and she coached us to try to affect the "moveable middle," which are ones who will try to listen, and they will try to understand the message you wish to convey. I know it is hard for fundamentalist Christians, who have grounded their faith on teachings they have thought they understood, to change and listen to GLBT people. But it is possible! And my old friend, Pam, is evidence that even the effort to think in a new way can bring grace and a glimpse of understanding. Thanks, Pam, for what you are showing to me and to others. I'm praying for many more "Pams."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Leading others astray?

I should not have railed against "anonymous." (I will call her L) I found her on facebook, and have apologized for calling her a dingbat. I really am sorry, because that was mean on my part. She and I see the situation very differently (as well as a whole lot of things that I've read on her blog) and are each walking our own path.

One comment/question L made was good, and I'll take a stab at answering here, because I think it is important.

L wrote:

It upset me so much because of the number of people that you stand to take down with you, due to your prominence. Think about that: if you are wrong, you may very well open the door for many more women to go through what you went through because the more acceptable homosexuality is, the more likely a struggler is to not even consider that there could be other options.

For the first part, I never asked for "prominence." I don't have any kind of promotion to garner attention to myself. Whatever "prominence" I have is miniscule, and unsought on my part. Yes, I admit that I was married to someone who was popular, and I received the benefits of that, but I now stand alone. No staff, a handful of friends, and the fact that I used to be married to someone very talented. However, my story as a woman, married to a popular Christian singer who has now come out as gay, makes a "hot item" of gossip. People might want to hear what I have to say. His and my stories intertwine and overlap, and some people might be interested, so I blog.

Now I come more to answering the question from L, where she wants to know ...
if you are wrong, you may very well open the door for many more women to go through what you went through because the more acceptable homosexuality is, the more likely a struggler is to not even consider that there could be other options.

Personally, I have found myself in a situation where the man I loved suffered severely from depression, and he would have died rather than tell the truth that he was gay. I did not cause that. I could do nothing to "fix" it. Although some people work out different solutions, ours was to separate our homes, our finances, and our personal lives. All of that amounts to divorce, a legal distinction. I don't try to set any rule to say anyone else should follow. It is what we needed to do.

As humans, we all want to fit in. We all want love and family, and we desire to have community around us that welcomes us. We tend to pattern ourselves into that to which we are accustomed. In church, the pattern is for a spouse and a family. Extended families are shown in our media, and we aspire to that. James Dobson has built an empire by focusing on family (another topic altogether!)

When a young person realizes they are not straight, they have options. One, they can hide this about themselves, and follow the pattern that we have set, which is to "find the right girl/guy and get married." A second option is that they can be honest with themselves and still seek a family of their own. In the case of glbt individuals, it is not honest or fair to a straight partner to pretend sexual attraction. I not only object, but want to scream from the rooftops: DON'T DO IT!

So I answer this question to L, or others who think I'm leading other wives, with these basic points:
1- I didn't cause this.
2- Ray did what the church taught him to do, which was to "find the right girl...get married." (And I might add, he found a good one!)
3- After 30+ years, the solution was to be honest with me. I came to accept him, support him, and we divorced.
4- I implore young people: Don't marry someone of the opposite sex if you are gay!

For other wives married to gay men, I don't try to be an example. My only example is that we all try to walk humbly and love each other. Ray and I talked many times, and still do, about how our personal lives affect others. This is not an issue for the greater public to decide how he and I live our lives! It happened to ME, and I'm doing the best I can with a difficult situation.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I hate dodgeball

To "anonymous" - the wife of the gay man, the one who keeps writing but has no name, even one to call you: Get your own blog. Sign up anonymously, don't have your real name or your real e-mail on it. It's not hard to do. Don't link to anything that will tell who you are.

I will not use my blog to let you say anything you want, especially that change is possible, or that accountability allows your husband to have "dealt with his sin ."

But I will state some things I want to put on my blog:

There are two viewpoints that are often combined into one. There is a theological viewpoint that you are taking, and it is that being gay is a sin. I disagree.

The other viewpoint is from science. Science does not provide a value on either hetero- or homosexuality. With that I agree.

Whether or not I agree with either of those viewpoints is not at issue here, but I state them to let there be no question of where I stand. I offer hope, and maybe some kindness here - NOT to say that I agree with your theological viewpoints, but to say that there are so many disagreements that I have no idea why you insist that I'm "deceived," "co-dependent," or that "I can see where you have to tell yourself this about other people who are coming from a different place because it is very very threatening to how you have explained this situation to yourself." You have plenty to say, but your messages are not, "a crumb of truth [that] will fall on hungry ears."

Lady - I am not angry with you, but I think you are the same dingbat that posted long diatribes on Pam Ferguson's blog some time back. (for information, there are two entries with long comments in March 08.) If you aren't the same, then you are the same type. I don't want to play nice, I just don't wish to play at all. Pam went out of her way to let you (or the person like you) post, but it was of no service to any of us, except to see how kind and good Pam is. While I know it would be a juicy argument, I'm not playing the game. Maybe I'm not good at it - I have never liked competition. Confrontation is something I'm not skittish of, but I always lost at dodgeball, and I'm not going to play now. Just get your own damn blog.


Okay, hold on. Don't any of you readers get the idea that I don't get angry, or that I just am all lovey-lovey. Hardly. Yes, I have ideals that I'm trying to convey in my life, and those are the ideals that Jesus showed us: love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, faith. I'm so glad he showed us those - because I don't feel them all the time.

One friend recently accused me of sounding angry on facebook comments. uh-huh. That's right, I am angry. Why would I not be angry? I'm betting you can think of many reasons if you use your imagination. But I especially get angry with people who think they know what is right or good for me. I get angry because I've not heard from my former pastor, the one who lives across the street from me, and who never has asked how I'm doing (in four years). I get angry with people who hide as "anonymous", and then proceed to tell me they are not isolated. I have some folders for e-mails that I get: Supportive, Non-supportive, Downright mean, and STUPID. So, see, I'm hiding if you think I don't get mad.

When I first tried to tell my closest friend that my husband was gay, she folded her arms, and frowned as I cried in her kitchen. Two days later she had a list of Bible verses to share with me, and I had to tell her, "Wait, I didn't DO anything here. I'm having a hard time with this." That made me mad.

My medical doctor said, "He's heterosexual." I asked, "What??" And his answer was that we have 4 kids. THAT made me angry.

I went to a respected [christian] psychologist and she proceeded to tell me about her nephew who came out to her. She didn't recommend that Ray accept himself, but he isn't the one who came to her - I DID! I still can't believe I had to pay for that session, but I sure never returned. I was a little ticked off.

With people who try to tell me I'm deceived, well, they can think whatever they want, because I had to give up EVERYTHING: husband that I loved, cohesive family unit, income, my future as a married woman, status, my church, the very framework of my faith (which was fundamentalist, and has now emerged in a more healthy, sane path), the ones I thought were my friends. You think that was easy? So if someone thinks my path was easy, or that I'm deceived, I get angry with them.

Yes, I'm angry with God, but I know that God understands why. If I had not felt that God was with me, I'd have caved in many times. I know there is a Psalm that says God collects our tears in a jar - I believe that is true. I think there are gallons collected for me. In a larger sense, I know that God put me in this for reasons I don't know or understand, but I believe that there is purpose in life to accept it. That calms my anger, gives me hope that I can go forward. I'm so thankful for that peace, knowing I get help that is not explainable. Faith in God helps me overcome my anger.

But am I angry with Ray? No. How can I be? He lived his life for me, and I for him. He didn't become gay, he always had been. It was just me (and the rest of the world) who didn't know it.

Would there EVER have been a good time to tell me? When would that be? Before we had kids? Back then we were in church, following everything we learned of God at that time. When the kids were little? That would have meant that I'd have had to raise them without him? Or, before he wrote some of the best songs of his life? I don't know - it has happened like it has for a reason. When he did come out to me, I refused to not believe him. This was NOT an easy way to proceed, but I KNOW how he lived, and it was for me and our family. He lived what we were taught, believed in his heart that he was NOT gay, but he was.

Yes, I get angry. But it is not with Ray (well, there are times when he's just difficult, like when he insists he only likes regular coffee and I have to drink de-caf). I've been called co-dependent, but Ray and I have needed each other to go through this. Without each other's support, we'd both have had MORE loneliness, because it took quite a while to find the right people to support me/him/us. With great difficulty, we AGREED that it was better to live separately and build new, independent lives.

So if someone thinks I sound angry, yeah. I think I'm entitled to my own little degree of "mad," but I'm dealing with it. I keep looking at how Jesus showed us to live. I trust that I'll get it right if I stick with Him.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


My old friend, who I will call Joe, welcomed me at his door today, and I was so glad I stopped to see him. Several years ago, his wife came out as gay, and she was one of my close friends. At the time, I didn't know how to respond, and I probably didn't do it right. When I asked Kim (not her real name) why she didn't talk to me about what she was going through, her answer was, "I was afraid you would not understand." I have to admit it, I didn't. That was in about 1992 - or about then. Kim's and my girls were the same age, and they were in high school.

In the 15 years or so leading up to this time, Kim and I had gone to church together. We'd each had two kids at about the same time, and she was the go-getter who started our first Junior Church, which was for our pre-schoolers. She was an AMAZING teacher and organizer, and I admired her for the way she had a knack for teaching little ones. Her husband, Joe, was an "elder," in our independent, charismatic church. In those years, Ray was one who did "special music," when he'd have a new song - songs like, "Watch the Lamb," "I will praise the Lord," and, "Thank you."

When I heard through the grapevine that Kim was saying she was a lesbian, I had no clue how to respond, but I saw how NO ONE from our church stayed close to her or Joe. I still recall how people talked about her, and it embarrasses me. Somehow I had the wherewithal to at least try to stay close with Kim. When the girls each graduated from high school, I attended the open house parties, and I invited Kim to come to my kids' events. I welcomed her friends (several of whom I saw as rather obviously butch) and was glad when she introduced her partner to me. I wrote Kim a letter once, telling her that I still didn't understand, but that she was my friend, and I'd always love her.

Finally, in early 2005, I was the one with no one to understand what we (Ray and I) were going through. I drove 2 1/2 hours in hard rain to get to her house, only to find her not at home. Fortunately, I didn't drive too far BACK before I reached Kim by cell phone, and I turned around. Soon I was able to fall, sobbing, into her arms, telling her, "Ray's gay. I need to talk."

Now, I am so blessed - when Kim introduces me, she says, "This is Carol, my oldest and dearest friend." I could never say enough to convey how much that means to me!

And so it's been all these years, and the last time I talked to Joe it was to ask him to go to a local concert, where Lawrence Chewning (main composer of, "The Anchor Holds") was to sing and play, mainly on the "piana." Lawrence, a North Carolina friend from the days of Jesus people, coffeehouse concerts, and he's one of my favorite song-writers. Joe turned down the offer to attend, and I never held it against him.

Today, though, Joe opened the door and smiled broadly, inviting me inside. It didn't seem to bother him that I'd interrupted his noontime nap! I've heard of having face-to-face talks with other straight spouses, but this had even more meaning! This was my old college friend, the one who'd married Kim after having served on the mission field - and who, it turned out, had unknowingly fallen in love with and married a gay spouse. Talking was tearful, and that surprised me. I keep thinking I'm doing pretty well.

I'm so happy to say that "Joe" is now remarried, and he seems truly happy. We talked for nearly an hour, and he said to tell Ray, "HI." Reconnecting was good.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lighten up

I gotta get this blog on a lighter note! The blog-posts are seeming way too heavy, and I'm a pretty upbeat person! I got a note from an anonymous wife today, and I tried very hard to not respond like I was opposing her. Her comments and mine are here: (see no debates, comments).

To let you all know, I am NOT constantly depressed (just a little, or, maybe more, sometimes). I have fun, I do what I want to do, and I say what I want to say just about whenever I want to! I make my own mistakes. I intend to bring hope to others, and it means a lot to me that I encourage people that they are loved and ACCEPTED by God. I want to be someone who shows this - because it's through people that God shines through.

This past weekend our son, Phil, married his fiancee', Emily. This was the fourth wedding in our family, and until now it was our girls who got married. With those events it is the bride and her mom (ME!) who do most of the planning, along with other gracious family members. This event was way less stressful, and that is thanks to the wonderful planning or Emily's mom and dad, and all the wonderful community friends that they supported them. It was two days of joy, and I had a great time, made wonderful memories, and I'm so glad it was shared by all of us.
More to the point - I'm doing okay and here are some pictures from a very happy time.