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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Comments

Steve Boese

Don't forget there's also an "I," for intersexed folks, Alan...

Hope you are well...

--Steve

queertardo

It's not your stories that people are trying to debunk, it's the pretension about testimonies, healing, change, conversions and "research"--no one would have raised an eyebrow if those in your CAMP had not purposely deceived us with the many lies about it's "knowledge" of same sex attractions over and over and over again.

No one would be interested in you if you were not outrightly lying to the world under the guise of your nasty brand of Christian faith. Really!

I mean all of this in LOVE, Alan, really- Jesus taught me to love my enemies.

Account Deleted

Actually, Alan, I think it's just a way to get people in the door without them having to come right out and say they're gay. People will feel more comfortable with the "questioning" label, at least at first.

And queertardo, if your "enemy" was an alcoholic, would you encourage him in his drinking? What if he was a drug addict? If he was cheating on his wife, would you encourage him to cheat more? Loving your enemies does not mean encouraging them to sin.

Randy

Good post, you are such a blogger. Like the template change too.

queertardo

So, it's cool with Jesus to use lies and deception to accomplish a means to an end. Jesus didn't have to employ lies in order to assist people. I'm not encouraging anyone to do anything- I'm just surprised some people still slap a Jesus lable on blatant and negligible harm and expect those who know the truth to "accept" it unchallenged.

Joe Brummer

Alan,
I would hope you see the irony in asking people to question homosexuality and writing a post about those who may label themselves as questioning. Is that not what you are asking them to do?

Today's gay youth are very different than previous generations. Some are not comfortable with the labels of gay, lesbian or bisexual. Some just may not know and those kids fall into the label of "questioning". It is not a politcal thing developed from activists. It was developed by people working with GLBTQQ (yes another letter than is for "queer" for those how choose that label) youth and responding to their stated needs. It is about finding language that reaches out to all youth and addresses them where they are not where we want them to be. If at this point in their young lives they want to call themselves "questioning" then we should respect the label and be inclusive to it. The same way you are expecting us to respect the label of "Ex-gay". Respect isn't demanded, you have to give it to get it. So I would ask you to respect youth who choose to label themself as "questioning" especially when you are asking people to "Question homosexuality"

Peace,
Joe

bigmike0369

The idea of "questioning" is intriguing to me. As a person in recovery, there was never a thought that my same-sex attraction was the right thing for me. I knew it was wrong--at the very core of my being--but the attraction persisted. The more I acted on the attraction, the stronger it got. The danger in being a Q in GLBTIQ is that you'll stop asking the question and embrace something you weren't meant to embrace.

Joe Brummer

BigMike writes:
The danger in being a Q in GLBTIQ is that you'll stop asking the question and embrace something you weren't meant to embrace.


Joe replies:

That's pretty subjective in my view. What people embrace is up to them and what is right for them. We should respect the choice they make. I stopped questioning for years, dated the same women for years and was terribly unhappy for years. I finally embraced what I feel I was meant to an have been happy since. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders. Your experience may have been different, but we shouldn't minimize each others experience.

Greg

I agree that we should respect the choices that others make in regards to their sexual identity. Some who experience same-sex attraction choose to follow a life of traditional heterosexuality, and I respect their choice and right to do so. I do not belittle them for making that choice. On the other side of that coin, I expect those individuals to respect my choice and human right to live my life with my male partner in a loving, committed relationship.

I also expect the same respect as an openly gay Christian. The ex-gay movement often talks about faith as if openly gay individuals cannot have it. My faith and spirituality are very vibrant parts of my life.

I really do not understand why the ex-gay movement and the gay rights movement have to be at each other’s throats – especially we who call ourselves Christian. Haven’t we learned anything from the teachings of Jesus?

Anyway, the Q stands for two things: Questioning and Queer.

I will agree that sexuality is a very fluid concept when referring to it across the board. One must realize that individuals fall somewhere on a continuum of sexual attraction, ranging from complete heterosexual to complete homosexual. I think the term, “questioning” is very important to include, especially when discussing the issue with teenagers who are questioning their sexuality. They should know that it is okay to be unsure, and adding the Q to the list of letters, I believe, opens the door for those who are questioning to feel comfortable in talking about the issues without fear of discrimination from heterosexual OR homosexual individuals (I refrain from using the phrase, “gay community” because it tends to divide us from heterosexual individuals, rather than uniting us.)

For those who may have a bisexual orientation, questioning may be even more pronounced. In those cases (falling somewhere in the middle of the sexual continuum), one may have more of the ability to live out the socially and religiously predominate sexual identity – i.e. heterosexuality – without a tremendous amount of difficulty.

But the Q not only stands for questioning. It also stands for queer. Many LGBTQ individuals, in order to reclaim a derogatory slur, thereby giving it a more positive association, are adopting the word queer. It is a word that has aforetime been used in a derogatory manner by opponents. Personally adopting a derogatory slur is a common approach used by many minorities, not just LGBTQ individuals.

Alan Chambers

Thanks for your thoughtful post, Greg. I am sure we could find much to disagree on, but I am thankful for the way you shared your thoughts.

And, I would never knowingly invalidate someone's faith. I encourage you to continue to pursue the Lord and hope you experience all that He has for you.

Mike Ensley

I think "Questioning" (as it's used in LGBTQ) is a misnomer. A youth dealing with same-sex attractions and/or gender identity issues is encouraged to "question" their sexuality--so long as they ultimately arrive at the answer our culture has set for them.

Having been there, I know a lot of ideas get handed to you matter-of-factly, and doubting or scrutinizing them will get you scoffed at--at best. While the religious community has definitely been guilty of this type of thing, the gay community also has a habit of shaming ideas out of young people's heads. Part of what made me want to leave homosexuality was the way I was just supposed to accept ideas like the "gay gene" myth and pro-gay Christian theology; and when I expressed why they seemed flawed to me, I was treated like an idiot (not answered, mind you).

You're not encouraged to question your past, where your feelings may be coming from, etc. I was certainly frowned upon when I started questioning why private gay life in my community wasn't like the image being sold to the culture.

"Questioning" sounds good, which is why it's there.

Greg

It is an unfortunate truth that both sides – pro gay and anti gay – have been guilty of pressuring youth and adults to personally embrace a sexual identity as her or his own. No one should be pressured in that way. As a gay Christian, I have felt the heart-breaking discrimination from both the church AND LGBT individuals because I have refused to let go of either. The church has told me that I cannot be Christian and gay, while some LGBT individuals have told me that I cannot be gay and Christian! For the longest time, I felt as if I did not fit in with either the church OR with LGBT individuals. There is a kind of culture within each, and they generally tend to be radically different from each other. After a long and arduous journey that still continues, I cannot accept some aspects of “church culture,” nor can I accept certain aspects of “gay culture.” All this has been part of the process of finding my true identity. I certainly do not fit any mold of either side. In reality, none of us do deep down; we only outwardly conform to pre-set standards from either or both sides. And so it is with other aspects of life as well.

My personal experience involves pressure from the anti gay side to suppress and deny what I feel to be an authentic aspect of my identity (i.e. homosexuality). While the individuals involved in this pressuring mean well, I feel that it has caused more harm to me than good. I grew up in very fundamental Christian circles, and I know many folk in those circles mean well and have the best of intentions. I, however, could not feel free in that atmosphere, and my conscious would not let me live a life that I felt lacked real authenticity.

I have been very fortunate to have mentors from the gay-affirming (maybe I should say people-affirming) side who have fostered an atmosphere that allowed me to question and come to my own conclusions without fear of being treated like an idiot, no matter what conclusions I come to. In the church of which I am a member there are heterosexual couples with one partner who experiences same-sex attraction or identifies as gay, but these couples have chosen to remain together for their respective reasons (i.e. children, years shared together, whatever). There are also couples in this faith community who are same-sex, obviously identifying as lesbian or gay. Both are respected as humans with God-given worth and dignity, living in a free society, under a freedom-giving God.

I simply point this out to say while both sides have been guilty of pressuring and inducing guilt, shame, and crazy accusations of bedrail, there are places where individuals are genuinely free to “question” in an atmosphere of acceptance and affirmation regardless of the conclusions that transpire. I think it is important to foster more of these kinds of places!

Greg

oops..sorry that last paragraph was suppoed to say, "both sides have been guilty of pressuring and inducing guilt, shame, and crazy accusations of BETRAYAL [not bedrail].." =)

Unfortunately, spell checker does not catch all of my errors...

tcash money

So, Alan, how can you be possibly sure, that all these people who identify themselves as "exgays" no longer have homosexual feelings? How in the world is that possible? I have an uncle who is a "former alcoholic." He doesn't drink but he admits that from time to time, he is being thirstly for whiskey. Technically, he is still an alcoholic.

Also, could it be possible that those happily married exgays have simply learned to be attracted to the opposite gender, just like Pavlov's dogs learned to salivate at the sound of the bell? But, they [exgays] still retain their homosexual feeling, unless I'm mistaken.

Please, help me solve this puzzle.

Mike Ensley

Alan's always been honest that leaving homosexuality is a struggle, and doesn't claim that "exgays" never have fleeting homosexual temptations from time to time.

I would say it's incorrect and unfair to label your uncle "alcoholic" because of any lingering feeling. Shouldn't that be expected--whenever anybody leaves something that was at one time an escape for them?

And how do you know it isn't the ones who embrace homosexual behaviors who are simply caving in to a conditioned response, and not a natural part of their design?

Alan Chambers

TCash...GREAT comment and question. I am right now working on a post that will address this in depth.

However, to answer your question, I believe that to identify as gay or ex-gay is to indicate or point to a moral code that you live by and not completely about behaviors you engage in or feelings that you have.

There are a lot of people that identify as gay and yet remain celibate. There are a lot of people that identify as ex-gay that continue to experience a vast continuum of same-sex attractions.

I think that the term ex-gay is overused and abused. I don't like the term and have often wondered how we could go about retiring it.

tcash money

Alan, thank you for your response. I see that you are very open minded.

And Mike, I personally don't believe that people who practice homosexual behavior are naturally born this way, although some claim so. In my experience working with paroled convicts, I met quite a few of those "practioners" who as you said, gave in to what you call a conditioned response, but there are other GLB people, or so they call themselves, who practice homosexual behavior by their own choice, since in their heart they find it interesting and likeable.

Karen

Hi Alan,

Excellent post! They have actually added a couple more letters. It's now LGBTTIQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexual, questioning and queer).

Alan Chambers

Wow. Pretty soon they will have the whole alphabet in there.

Mike Ensley

Karen, obviously you're not keeping up. According to PrideToronto, it's LGBTTIQQ2S. (I for Intersexed and 2S for 2-Spirit).

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