Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gay husband? No, thank you.

I read with interest this entry on Box Turtle Bulletin: The Denial of Alan Chambers. Alan Chambers is the executive director of Exodus International, and he has a new book, "Leaving Homosexuality." Although I have not read his book, and I don't know Mr. Chambers, I feel it is in the interest of straight wives to draw attention to the following "confession," here:

When I was first starting out in ministry and sharing my testimony, I often heard the comment from gay individuals and activists, “You’re just in denial, Alan.” That comment always incensed me because it seemed to negate my message and intelligence. However, as I began to pray about it, I realized that we, as Christians, are indeed called to a life of denial, and as such I should not despise something the Lord commands of me nor should I get angry when someone calls me on it. Those who reject the concept of self-denial haven’t reaped the joys that result from it.

…Every day for more than a decade, I have made denial, as Jesus taught in this verse, the major focus of my morning prayer time. I am keenly aware that I am prone to blowing it in this area of my life and am, therefore, in desperate need of help. … And you know what? I love my life of denial.

Now, please, does this sound like the kind of husband any straight woman would want to keep? No, thank you.

As much as one might love their gay spouse, it does nothing to know that your husband is in his own world of self-denial just to make love to you! Even the level of emotional intimacy will be shallow, no matter how much effort is put forth. It just isn't fair to the straight spouse OR the gay person. To live with the idea that one is in continual, daily, self-denial might be martyrdom to some, but it is not honest, loving, or freeing, nor is it anything but desperation to try to be something and someone that you're not.

For straight spouses, for any pre-married gals who are considering marrying a gay man, I am telling you: DON'T! Run away!

If you are a "struggling" gay or lesbian, and you think that marrying your best friend will make you straight, do the right thing and call it off. Show love that is real, and don't cause the heartbreak of a marriage, the heartbreak of someone who unknowingly is walking into something they can't change or fix.

To Alan Chambers: Please change your slogan of "Change is possible." Please don't continue to offer this false hope. YOU are damaging lives.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another straight ally on board

When I wrote a couple days ago, I was asking how best to share when one is gay-affirming. TODAY I read of Betty Greene Salwak, right in my home state of Indiana, and I was so encouraged, like any day when I find someone like her. She's very out as an ally to GLBT folk, and shows that she is actively campaigning for justice and acceptance in her church and community. I read Betty's blog entry on, where she shares her journey as a gay-affirming Christian.

Knowing that there are others in my own community (Indiana) that are supportive makes me know that change is coming. I call on everyone who is gay-affirming to show themselves and support the diversity that God creates.

Thanks, Betty Greene Salwak!

Please take the time to read Betty's entry on Bilerico, here :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When to share, when to be quiet.

When is the right time to come out? I don't know the answer for GLBTs, but for an ally, I need to use discretion when it comes to when to speak up. Although there can be times when I want to shout in the direction of those who don't understand, there is also time to soft-pedal my thoughts.

One of my goals is to influence others. I want to open the minds and hearts of fundamentalist Christians, as well as other people, to accept gay people as equals. I figure if I have been one to change my viewpoint, having been unknowingly married to a gay man who came out, perhaps others will recognize this is something worth a new evaluation. Because the fundamentalists so frequently dismiss anyone who doesn't accept their theological views, I find it important to get along, so far as I can. Seems that there is always someone who wants to debate online, or sometimes you get stand-offishness in a group, but I have to decide when and what to say.

This past Sunday I was asked by a very sweet couple from church, to go out to eat. Because I rarely get invited, I thought, why not? Conversation was polite, and these folks are genuinely concerned for both me and my family. The Mr. is an influential person in the congregation, and because I've always liked their extended family, I decided to not be confrontational. I think that was a good choice - this time. I hope for future listening and sharing with people like this.

Other times I speak up immediately, especially when I have the time to discuss issues and there is time on both parts to listen. Not just hear the words, but listen. At a 4th of July event last weekend, I was pleased to talk with another straight spouse. He had not read much on the "other side," and we could identify with each other's situation even though he comes from a fundamentalist church, and there were others nearby that probably knew that the two of us had common ground to discuss. (Both our situations are somewhat "out.") I openly expressed that I had come to know that being gay is not a choice, and that I supported GLBTs. I know he was surprised, and I recommended several resources that I thought would be interesting and/or helpful.

When there is debate going on, I can merely share my own story, my own views. I'm not good at debating theology, although I know many who are, and I cheer them on. I usually refer these opponents to gay rights to books already written, and ask them to listen to gay people's stories. That is what helped me, and it's my hope that others will tell their stories openly, when they know the time is right, and that they will be understood. Rarely do we change by making someone say, "Uncle," and, like my former mom-in-law says, "you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

What are effective means that others have had, in order to share and get across your viewpoints? Can you post them? I'd love to know better ways to influence others and help the cause.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Connecting with Straight Spouse Network, Soulforce BoD, Beyond Ex-gay

It's been nearly four and a half years since my then-husband came out to me and our four kids. The shock and awe I felt was beyond words, but I did a couple things right away. One of them was to read the book, "Stranger at the Gate," and I googled the name of the author, Mel White. In my searches I found Straight Spouse Network,and I read the book by Amity Pierce Buxton, "The Other Side of the Closet." I found the blog of Peterson Toscano, and I began to glimpse something other than what I'd been taught in church: gay and Christian were not impossible! Peterson teamed with Christine Bakke to start the online support called BEYOND EX-GAY.

All these resources
were critical in my finding my way out of the incorrect view that being gay was a choice. I'm still not sure which ones had the most influence, but I appreciate and value each one.

Recently I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Soulforce, and I gladly accepted. This organization was co-founded by Mel White and Gary Nixon. The mission of Soulforce is to work through nonviolent direct action to bring about the end of religious and political oppression of GLBTQ people. I'm proud of the work they are doing, and I'm very pleased to come alongside so many committed people to bring about important change.

While I was in Austin recently, for my first meeting with the Board, I got an e-mail from Janet at Straight Spouse Network, informing me that I'd been added on their blogroll. Their blog was launched about the same time as I started this one, and it's really fantastic. Ms. Buxton (Amity) has studied and influenced so many who find themselves in mixed-orientation marriages, and she's tirelessly (well, she probably does get tired, but she keeps going!) works to bring attention to these straight spouses. I'm honored that Janet added my blog to their list.

If you are a straight spouse of a gay or lesbian person, I urge you to try to get informed. There are helps out there, and I am so happy to support both Straight Spouse Network, Soulforce, and Beyond Ex-gay. Check them out.