Since coming back out, I have wanted to write a book. I want to share about my experience as a gay man who came out at 19, went into the church closet at 24, became a leader in the ex-gay movement, and then ended up helping to shut down Exodus International in 2013. After a personal tragedy and the blinders being ripped off, I also came back out as a gay man of faith in January of 2015. Today I am doing what I can to end conversion therapy and encourage other LGBTQ people. I have struggled with vision and direction for this book, but after the past couple of weeks and great conversations, my vision is now crystal clear. I can see the path unfolding to finish the book. It’s time to get this done.
After my run today, I was driving home, and I heard on NPR some national gay leaders sharing their grave concerns about how our political and cultural environment. The election cycle and eventual outcome are causing LGBTQ people and minorities a tremendous amount of legitimate fear and concern. Plus, with Trump surrounding himself with anti-gay leaders, like his Vice Presidential pick Mike Pence, he has promised to enshrine discrimination against LGBTQ people in the name of defending “religious freedom” policy. As I wrote in a post titled, “The South is My Home, Too” that type of action only furthers systemic bigotry and homophobia. It fosters a climate that further stigmatizes LGBTQ people and threatens our inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms other Americans enjoy. Hearing these reports, and similar ones flooding in over the Internet, this has all lit a fire under me to get this book done as soon as possible. Humbly offered, I do think I can contribute to the overall discussion in positive ways and have been encouraged by very respected friends and acquaintances along these lines. While not specifically related to the event, I would like to have the rough draft and a book proposal ready by the time President-Elect Donald Trump has his inauguration. Plus, I will be doing two interviews sharing my story for two different (and amazing) documentaries. Writing this will help me prepare for those projects as well.
My book will be about much more than politics, but one of its core themes is to further dismantle and end stigmatization of LGBTQ people by exposing religious and cultural conditioning, untruths and humanizing everyone involved with the issues. I hope to do that with personal stories, insights, and analysis gained through experience. Having had direct participation on both ends of the gay/anti-gay spectrum, in some strange and timely ways, I have plenty to share.
Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Well, if you know me, I like to joke around. So, it goes without saying that I also hope it will have a lot of encouragement and humor as well. I am not the kind of guy that wants to write a high-pitch screed full of anger and bitterness. I won’t shy away from the topics that are difficult to write about, but I want the outcome to be life-giving and hopeful to whoever reads it even as they read it.
My heart is empowered to do this because I honestly believe that most people want permission to love each other. Love comes naturally to us because God created us in His image. Meaning, He is love, and He wired us to love and be loved; to know and be known.
Through systemic stigmatization, many don’t believe that they can love LGBTQ people unless it fits a strict and harmful culturally mandated (not God mandated) view. This view denies that LGBTQ people are who we are precisely because God created us to bring our unique beauty into the world. I believe that being LGBTQ is how we bear the Image of our Creator to love and be loved, to know and be known.
Again, I honestly believe people know this in their heart. I want this book to help remove the chains that bind up their love and help draw them out of culturally imposed and unnecessary burdens. I want this book to help people find the freedom to love others or themselves as LGBTQ people and to know our joy filled Creator loves us unconditionally.
I do need your help. Please consider becoming a Patron through my Patreon account. Your financial support of $1 or more a month will contribute to creating the financial space I need to dedicate time to finishing this book, and blog more consistently. When you click through to my Patreon profile, you will see my explanation for creating the Patreon account and the various “reward levels” I have set up. I am going to write this book regardless. It *has* to be done. But, your support will help the creativity flow by allowing the financial space needed to keep the project on a timely track. Thank you in advance for considering and for those of you who become Patrons!
I am enthusiastic. My heart’s desire is for people not to have to face the same struggles/decisions and consequences I did. That we as LGBTQ people (of faith or not) will embrace ourselves and each other for the amazing community we are!
… the words have already started pouring out! I need to wrap this up before this post turns into another book :).
Being free is good,