Last week, we heard the story of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Pastor Allan Edwards, who is attracted to men, but married to a woman and expecting a child with her.
One of the responses NPR received after airing that story came from Dexter Edwards — Allan’s younger brother — who is (to my surprise) openly gay.
Dexter had no idea the NPR piece was happening until he read it, but he wanted to speak out because he didn’t want other gay people to be hurt by the message in that story:
Dexter Edwards tells The Advocate felt he “had to say something” out of concern that his brother’s story could be harmful to LGBT people struggling with self-acceptance.
“I would never want anyone in my situation to … to think that this is something that works or that is like a viable, healthy option,” says Edwards, 22, who recalled his own coming-out as “a terrible experience.”
That’s the reaction I’d expect from someone growing up in a conservative religious household. And I applaud Dexter for presenting himself as a counterpoint to his brother, which couldn’t have been easy. Allan is far from a role model in this situation, but Dexter represents the reality for so many other LGBT people in Christian families: honest about who he is despite the harsh consequences:
[Dexter] says he was asked to leave his parents’ house at the age of 19, just after finishing his first year of study at a conservative Christian college. (Many LGBT youth experience homelessness due to rejection from their families.)
He ended up staying for about a month with his big brother Allan, with whom he was close in younger days. Looking back, he says, their parents’ rejection of him seemed to coincide with Allan’s decision to fight his own same-sex attractions.
What seems clear from reading the articles are that the family was torn apart, in some way at least, by the parents’ inability to accept their gay children. Their faith trumped their love. And that’s not a message anyone should be promoting.