Tag Archives: homophobia

Sexual Healing: Evangelicals Update Their Message to Gays

At the world’s largest ministry for homosexual Christians, there’s no more talk of “curing” same-sex attraction. 

Thirty years ago, Alan Chambers was a Christ-loving 10-year-old with a terrible secret. He knew he was attracted to other boys. He also knew that the Bible called homosexuality an “abomination.” After nearly a decade of hiding his feelings (and his love of shopping and decorating) from family and pastors, he discovered a ministry called Exodus International. Today, Chambers is the president of Exodus and the author of the book Leaving Homosexuality. He oversees more than 260 ministries, spearheads large annual conferences, and is married to a woman.

More recently, Chambers publicly rejected reparative therapy — a school of counseling that aims to make gay people straight. At the Gay Christian Network Conference in January of this year, Chambers told the audience that “99.9 percent of [Exodus participants] have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Around the same time, he pulled all reparative therapy books from the Exodus bookstore. His actions irked a number of therapists, including one marriage counselor, improbably named David Pickup, who argued that Exodus had “failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality.”

The question is whether Chambers’s changes will filter down through the rest of his organization. One of Exodus’s policy statements promises that the group will “stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world.” It’s no coincidence that those particular countries are mentioned. Just last month, Exodus board member Dennis Jernigan traveled to Jamaica, where homosexuality is a crime, and urged the country not to change its laws. In 2009, another board member gave a speech in Uganda that inspired a Christian campaign to make homosexuality punishable by death.

” (On Friday, the day after we spoke, Exodus sent out a press release distancing itself from Jernigan’s statements and announcing his resignation from the board.)

-full report at Atlantic

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why the Church Should Fight Anti-Gay Bigotry

Last week, I called attention to, but did not write about, an important article by former Ambassador Thomas Melady and the Reverend Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical leader. The two men wrote about the need for Christians to oppose efforts in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality, including life-time prison sentences and even death as penalties in certain cases. I think Melady’s and Cizik’s article is very important.

Many gay men and women see the Christian Church as unjust and bigoted towards them. For purposes of this article, I will only consider the situation of the Catholic Church. Just today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in publishing its notice about Sr. Margaret Farley’s book on sexual ethics, reaffirmed the teaching that: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” It is not difficult to see how gay men and women could find these words hurtful and even demeaning, even though the CDF precedes this bit about “intrinsically disordered” by affirming the fact that the Church also teaches gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

I should like to see the Catholic Church, and the broader Christian community, do more to focus on the teaching about “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and think Melady’s and Cizik’s article does this. It does not ask the Church’s leaders to do something they do not think they could, i.e., change the Church’s teaching. It does not ask the Church to reverse its views on marriage. Instead, the call to oppose unjust discrimination against gays in Uganda asks the Church to do what it can.

Michael Sean Winters

-full post at National Catholic Reporter

Enhanced by Zemanta

Principal who invited anti-gay Christian band to school assembly resigns – LGBTQ Nation.

The high school principal who allowed the Christian rock band Junkyard Prophet to espouse anti-gay, anti-abortion views at a student assembly last week, is resigning, according to school district officials.
Mike Cooper, principal of Dunkerton High School, resigned Monday in the wake of growing controversy surrounding the appearance of Junkyard Prophet, but will remain in position through the end of the school year.
Dunkerton High School

Superintendent Jim Stanton told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that Cooper’s decision is unrelated to the band’s appearance at the school assembly.
“He simply wants to be a superintendent,” Stanton said, acknowledging that the timing of the announcement suggested there might be a connection.
It was Cooper who recommended the district invite Junkyard Prophet to perform at the assembly, and said the plan had been “in the works” for nearly a month.
Enhanced by Zemanta

David Kato: A New Ugandan Martyr

In June each year, the Church remembers a group of Ugandan martyrs, in the feast of Charles Lwangwa and companions. This week, we as queer Christians have new Ugandan martyr to remember, in David Kanto, an openly gay church worker who was brutally murdered in a clearly homophobic attack. While we mourn his death, we should at the same time pause to reflect on both sets of deaths, and on the role of the Christian churches in fomenting African homophobia, in colonial times and in the modern world.
Charles Lwangwa and companions were a group of young pages to the king of Buganda who converted to Christianity. Encouraged by the local missionaries, they resisted the sexual advances of their royal master. For this act of treason (in the eyes of the king and the Buganda court), they were executed. For this courageous martyrdom (as the missionaries saw it), they were later canonized as saints.
This week, David Kanto was murdered.
David Kato, Martyr
David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm.  Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.
David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals.  David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.
extract from public statement by Sexual Minorities Uganda

Read more »

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gay Teen Sends Thank You Video To "It Gets Better"

“The high-profile video contributions to “It Gets Better” may grab all the headlines, but stories describing the impact of Dan Savage’s invaluable project are just as deserving. We rarely get a glimpse of the real-world effects “It Gets Better” affords the lives of LGBT teens, but that changes with this YouTube video from “thatawkwardone01,” who reveals how the campaign saved him from attending anti-gay “Christian” counseling. Follow the jump to see how “It Gets Better” comes full circle.
“…I was not happy about the whole being gay thing. My plan … if I didn’t turn straight before the end of the school year, then I would go see a psychiatrist, to go see Christian counseling. Then I remember finding the “It Gets Better” videos. Those were so hopeful.””
Read more at  Instinct magazine

Let’s Face it – Homophobia is So Gay

“This week, we learned that virulently anti-gay Puerto Rican Senator Robert Arango was on a diet.
Like any straight man wanting to show off his sculpted new body, he posted pictures of his anus on the gay men’s cruising software Grindr. Last week, a homophobic Indiana lawmaker, Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R), answered a Craig’s List ad for an $80 male prostitute looking for a Sugar Daddy. After he was exposed by the escort, Hinkle said that he isn’t gay and declared “I don’t know what was going through my mind.” And, of course, we all know about Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) who sought sex in a Minneapolis airport men’s room by tapping his foot.
These tawdry tales of deception and deceit are tailor-made for the tabloids. They provide vindication for the LGBT community and punish villains who deserve their fate. However, it is time to look beyond the headlines and have the psychiatric community examine the heads of closet cases that inflict enormous damage on their own people. These disgusting betrayals are much greater than hypocrisy. They represent full-fledged pathology that has devastating consequences for the LGBT community.”

 Falls Church News

Out in Sport: Football Adopts Gay-rights Charter

There are at present no openly gay players in the top ranks of British football – unlike rugby and cricket, where things are beginning to change, and some individual sporting codes, where the circumstances are easier. (The last time a British footballer was known to be gay ended tragically in the man’s suicide, after intense hostility and gay-baiting from the stands. Some other modern players are not out, but receive similar taunting just on the suspicion).
In a welcome new development, the Football Association has agreed to join other sporting codes in supporting the UK government’s charter for action, to stamp out homophobia in sport. Young boys often idolize their sporting heroes, and seek to emulate them. When they see the leading players engaging in homophobic taunting of opponents, this too easily becomes repeated on playing fields and playgrounds of British schools. If the charter can succeed in changing the behaviour of top players, it could potentially help to counter the homophobic bullying that so many young boys encounter.

This, from Politics UK:

Football accepts gay-rights charter

Efforts to wipe out homophobia in sport have received a significant boost as the country’s major sports leagues put their weight behind a government campaign.
The organising bodies for football, tennis, cricket, rugby league, rugby union and the Olympics have all signed the government’s charter for action.
The charter aims to create a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in sport.
Activists welcomed the move as a sign that sport – often considered the last bastion of homophobia in the UK – was pressured to modernise in line with other industries.

(Full report at Politics UK)


The Road To Equality: How Long, How Long!

After I placed a report this week on the UN accreditation for an LGBT Human Rights Group, I noted in a comment that it is important as we celebrate each landmark (as with gay marriage success), we should also look back and recognise how far we have come.
Sadly, I was reminded this week that we also need to look ahead and consider just how far we still have to go. At one end of the scale, there are still five countries that impose the death penalty for homosexual acts. On the other, not even the most progressive countries have year reached  full equality: there are still only a handful of countries with full protection against all discrimination on grounds of both orientation and gender identity. None of those has a full slate of legal protections.
My interest today was triggered by a report from Canada, concerning the possibly imminent execution of an Iranian man, urging the Canadian government to “intervene”. The difficulty in these countries, which are generally pretty hostile to the West in the first place, is knowing how to intervene without aggravating the situation.  The death penalty also still applies in four other states (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania and Sudan), as well as in some parts of Nigeria and Somalia.
In search of fuller information I went to ILGA (International Lesbian Gay Association), and downloaded their report  on “State Sponsored Homophobia“. This is dated May 2010, so its pretty up to date – but beware. The listing for marriage gives only three countries, omitting Portugal, Iceland Argentina. This a sharp (and encouraging) sign of just how quickly things can sometimes change.

Homosexual acts remain illegal (without the death penalty) in 34 African countries (more than half the total) and eighteen in Asia , in Guyana in South America as well as eleven Caribbean island states, and nine Pacific Island states. Even in Europe,  homosexual acts are illegal in the Turkish part of Cyprus.
Even where homosexuality itself is legal, there are still a few countries where there is not yet an equal age of consent, even in some parts of Europe and North America.
There has been progress with various laws against discrimination of various sorts, but piece-meal protections can never be comprehensive.  There are still only nine countries with constitutional protection against discrimination on grounds of orientation. South Africa led the way in 1994, followed by Canada and Ecuador in 1998, Colombia and Switzerland (2000), Swede (2003), Portugal (2004), Kosovo (2008) and Bolivia (2009).
None of these yet has full legal protection on all the criteria listed by ILGA:
  • Employment discrimination based on orientation
  • Employment discrimination based on gender identity
  • Hate crimes based on orientation considered an aggravating circumstance
  • Hate crimes based on gender identity considered an aggravating circumstance
  • Incitement to hatred on orientation a criminal offence
  • Full marriage equality
  • Adoption by same -sex couples
  • Gender recognition
(Sweden comes closest. It is not included only under “hate crimes based on gender”. Not far to go, Sweden!)
So, wherever you are, there remains work to do on the long road to equality, both in your own country, and even more, in the world at large. Why not see what you can do to help?
(However, there was one suprising bright spot: with all the attention and awareness of homophobia in Africa, it was good to see, in a listing of the dates for decriminalization of homosexual acts, Africa is the only region listed where  in some countries  same-sex activities have NEVER been criminalised.  Hats off to  Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d‘Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Rwanda!)