Remember the Pulse nightclub massacre survivor who announced he was now straight thanks to Jesus? The other reason that was controversial was because he was at today’s “Freedom March” in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Christian group “Voice of the Voiceless.” It was a rally dedicated to convincing LGBTQ people they can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
So how did it go?
It looks like tens of people showed up.
One thing as you watch those videos: At least one of the speakers noted the higher rate of suicide for gay people and even higher rates for transgender people. That was intended to be motivation for this crowd to turn those people straight.
They never once acknowledged how one reason those suicide rates are so high is because of how LGBTQ people are treated by evangelical Christians.
Oh. And Activist Mommy referred to California as a “Communist state.” Because her understanding of politics is just as strong as her understanding of sex education.
Want a crowd shot? You see one around the 10:38 mark of this video:
Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any video with Luis Javier Ruiz, the Pulse survivor. He was apparently there, but it’s possible he didn’t speak. (Curiously, his public Facebook page no longer includes the post about how he’s not gay anymore.)
If you want to know why today’s rally was so problematic, listen to what Julie Rodgers has to say in today’s New York Times. She underwent “conversion therapy” — that’s the “we can turn you straight” procedure endorsed by the Christians at this rally — when she was in her 20s, and she knows firsthand the kind of damage it can do.
I attended several of my gay friends’ weddings to people of the opposite sex, and I sat across from them years later when they grieved over the end of their marriage. They might have changed the way they identified, but they felt a longing for intimacy with someone of the same sex that simply could not be met by their spouses. Some white-knuckled their way through the rest of their lives in these marriages, often with secret hookups that left them deeply ashamed, sometimes suicidal. Others eventually ended their marriages, and they despaired over the pain they caused their spouses and children.
These stories never show up in the short videos on ex-gay ministries’ websites. Ex-gay organizations create emotional short films with earnest young people who talk about hope and redemption, and then they quietly remove the videos when these very same people come out years later with the truth about themselves that they tried to suppress. In fact, that’s what happened to me.
You won’t find much compassion in today’s crowd for people like Rodgers.