CONVERT OR DIE

Pray the Gay Away

I’m trying to pray, but I’m as mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

I’m trying to write even as right now, Americans are lining up to donate blood – all in response to other Americans who had theirs spilled earlier this morning. So much has happened so quickly. Here’s a quick walking tour of this past week’s chronology of life in America.

SarahThursday.

I read about a public plea from Supergirl star, Jeremy Jordan to free his 17-year old cousin from an anti-gay boarding facility in East Texas. She was alledgedly being held against her will and at her parents request. In just the last day and perhaps in response to the publicity, Sarah has been freed. [see full story and its link at conclusion]. Sarah was hardly a hardened criminal.

Joey Jordan writes:

At 17, her future looks bright. She is in the top 10% of her class, runs cross-country and belongs to the National Honor Society and the debate team. She is also gay. Like any high school kids in a relationship, Sarah and her girlfriend wanted to go to prom together. But when they did that, Sarah’s parents, who believe that homosexuality is a sin and abnormal, sent Sarah away against her will to an East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens to “pray away the gay.”

Muhammad AliFriday.

We buried Muhammad Ali in Louisville. Here was someone who lived his faith out loud. He fought in the ring and maybe more significantly, he fought in the public arena. Hatred had no place with the Champ. His muslim faith had nothing to do with killing people. True Islam proclaims the same.

Christina Grimmie's last postStill Friday.

Later that same night, Christina Grimmie was shot to death after her performance at the Plaza Live music venue in Orlando, FL by a shooter who had traveled from his home in St. Petersburg in order to be at the club. There is no evidence the two knew each other. She died approximately 5-hours after the attack.

 

David from Kidnapped for Christ’ (Photo by Katrina Marcinowski)Saturday.

Last night, I watched (for the 2nd time), Kidnapped for Christ, the documentary on Showtime about the practices of christian centers who purport being able to convert LGBT people ‘back to being straight‘ by ‘praying the gay away‘.

This many years after my own crucible, my blood still turns to ice as I watched David and his struggle in Kidnapped for Christ (http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/). I remember breathing a sigh of relief, “at least that isn’t me”. But it was. Showtime is carrying his story on-demand all month. It is dark and troubling. You need to witness conversion at work.

Outside The Pulse nightclub in Orland FL

Sunday.

This morning, I woke up to the story of at least 50 people being killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando…a few miles from where Grimmie was gunned down.

I’ve faced hatred because I’m gay. I’ve been shunned. I’ve dodged a bullet (literally) by someone driving by our house. Though no one has ever admitted as much, I believe there have been times it’s hurt me at work. But that’s nothing.

I have never and cannot begin to imagine being targeted in a crowd like those at The Pulse nightclub around 2AM (EDT) this morning in Orlando, Florida.

Me and mine stand in solidarity with the families of the victims from this morning’s massacre. This is not how we roll.

Early reports (and I stress the accounts are early) point to a man who was pushed over the edge for having witnessed two guys kissing a month or two ago in Miami. And he was purportedly religious (in this case, a Muslim). Too easy to make broad characterizations (and I urge caution in doing so), but I’ve since heard the reports of the Orlando shooter calling 911 in order to go on record as pledging his allegiance to ISIS. I have seen the reports of religious fanatics in the Middle East throwing gay men from rooftops to their death. And if they weren’t dead? Then they were stoned to finish the job.

Were those simply ‘conversion opportunities’ of a different stripe?

Conversion Therapy:

As I alluded to earlier, I can relate to David.

One of the ‘real-life’ concerns as a deeply closeted religious teen with a terrible secret was the very real prospect of having my parents strapping me to a gurney, watching me being loaded into the back of a van and hustled off to a christian gulag rumored to be somewhere outside of Wichita.

I knew of people to whom just such a fate had been visited on them. Such was the way of the evangelical world I lived in back in the 70’s. I knew their parents. I knew mine. I knew it could be. The only options really available to me at the time were to stay silent, remain vigilant and undetected while I wore out my knees praying the gay away. Hell or high water, there was no way I was going to end up in Wichita like ‘those people‘.

Problem was, I was one of ‘those people‘.

I”ll save us all a great deal of time and ink to simply say, I made it through to the other side and it did, in fact, get better.

Threats fade and time passes. I got on with my life, found true love and put emotional distance between ‘now’ and my earlier days spent worrying about being turned over to gods’ gestapo.

Society has come a long way in a hurry with all manner of new insights – scientific and otherwise. You might even join me in thinking ‘conversion centers’ like the one in the documentary are closing as they shrink in our rear-view mirror. But I would be wrong. As surely as I believe God is Love, Darkness is not dead.

June is National Pride Month for the LGBT Community

I don’t want being gay to have to be a ‘Cause’. It shouldn’t need to be. But whether its gun control, civil rights, LGBT issues, health care, hunger, voter suppression, bigotry and all the ugly forms it takes {See Presidential Primaries}, it is within us to do better as a nation. We must be vigilant in taking care of each other.

This was an act of terror and an act of hate”.

— President Barack Obama

But until all of us are safe and accounted for, the murders in Orlando re-commit me to doing my part, where I am, with what I have to be a part of the fight.

To the Young One, the isolated LGBT boy or girl who is out there beyond the sound of my voice and feeling scared: Breathe.

You will be OK.

It does get better.

Fear does lose in the end.

So be smart, take stock of your surroundings and talk to someone with some expertise in these things. You can find them. You must find them. There is still so much to do. We need you here, alive and well.

In the meantime, the rest of us have once again seen the pulse of Hatred spewing from the barrel of an assault rifle. Darkness lurks, but the Sun has heard.  I’ll take the 1st watch if you’ll take the second.  We go from there.

See you in the morning.

untilthendan

 

 

 

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What started out as my primary focus for this week’s post was seeing a startling story this past Thursday on MSN of actor Jeremy Jordan feeling the need to publicize the fact his cousin was being held against her will in Texas. Though the link to the full stories appears below in Attributions, I quote Mr. Jordan and the story in part:

Jeremy Jordan

Jeremy Jordan is turning to his fans for help in a dramatic family issue that has led to what he calls ‘expensive legal fees’.

The Supergirl actor addressed his followers in a Facebook post last week, explaining that his “sweet gay cousin Sarah” is “trapped against her will at a terrible facility in Texas.” Alongside the note, Jordan shared a link to a GoFundMe page called “Save Sarah.”

According to the GoFundMe account, created by Jordan’s brother, Joey, Sarah, a 17-year-old high school student, is [was] allededly being held at an East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens to ‘pray the gay away’. The page goes on to explain Sarah is [was] allegedly not allowed any form of communication with the outside world, cannot have visitors or leave the property. Funds from GoFundMe page will allededly be used to pay the fees of family law attorney Christine Andresen, of CHA Law Group, PC, who was hired to help get Srah released from the boarding facility.”

The story continued…

According to Andresen’s Austin-based firm’s website, she has “represented LGBT clients in a variety of family law issues that arise from LGBT and queer relationships in Texas.”

The GoFundMe page explains that Sarah can’t leave the facility because state law permits parents to force their children to stay in a residential boarding facility until their 18th birthday. Sarah allegedly tried to run away from the facility, but was quickly apprehended by staff.

“I can’t believe beautiful, smart, incredible kids like my cousin Sarah are still being told that being gay is wrong,” Jordan, 31, wrote on Facebook, adding, “She may not be able to see it now, but please show her how much she matters and take a stand to help us free this wonderful young woman and welcome her back to a world of love and acceptance.”

 

UPDATE: Sarah is out!

See for latest information and some background on Sarah’s story: https://www.gofundme.com/27v8gac

summer-reading-006

Kidnapped for Christ

If you or someone you know needs to see this, here are some additional online resources they can check out on their own. Watch Kidnapped for Christ (it’s on-demand all month on Showtime this month). See what you think…

The film premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January 2014. Directed by Kate Logan, Tom DeSanto, Lance Bass and Mike Manning are the executive producers.

Showtime Documentary – Official Trailer

Other Resources:

VICE: 3 parts http://www.vice.com/video/gay-conversion-therapy-part-1-195; http://www.vice.com/video/gay-conversion-therapy-part-2; http://www.vice.com/video/gay-conversion-therapy-part-3-941 (10:53)

What you need to know about ‘conversion therapy’ (USA TODAY): http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/04/10/conversion-reparative-sexual-reorientation-therapy/25515619/

A Digest of current stories on the state of Conversion Therapy from all around the U.S. (Huffington Post): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/conversion-therapy/

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SOURCES

Opening Photo (cropped) from “Christian from “Pray the Gay Away?” Finally Speaks Up, Comes Out” | Our America with Lisa Ling | OWN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBQynw51VpQ. Several of the Lisa Ling increments on YouTube can be found in cluster around this particular clip.

Muhammad Ali: http://www.vccoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/MUHAMMAD-ALI.jpg ; Christina Grimmie: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/reported-shot-orlando-concert-venue-article-1.2669516; Jeremy Jordan Appeal for Sarah, his cousin: Active links, Jordan pic (Photo from People story on Jeremy Jordan © Time) and SOURCE: http://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/celebrity/supergirl-actor-jeremy-jordan-asks-fans-for-help-saving-cousin-who-he-says-is-trapped-at-anti-gay-boarding-facility/ar-AAgPIDn?ocid=mailsignout; For God’s Sake: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/07/03/gods-sake/; More on Kidnapped for Christ: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnapped_for_Christ; Outside The Pulse nightclub in Orland FL and cropped as closing photo: http://www.toledoblade.com/news/2016/06/12/Police-Mass-casualties-after-club-shooting-shooter-is-dead.html

 

blankspacer_large2Outside The Pulse nightclub in Orland FL (cropped)

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 6-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in LGBT, Love, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to CONVERT OR DIE

  1. purplemary54 says:

    Sorry I’ve been MIA (I’ve got several posts still saved to catch up on). But you’re right about so much going on. I’ve been so angry and sad the last few weeks, between Prince and Ali and all the politics. And what happened yesterday just makes my blood boil. Every mass shooting is an act of terrorism, every act of terrorism is a hate crime, and every hate crime is an act of terrorism. So the talking heads on TV need to start calling all of these incidents terrorism, period.

    From what I’ve been hearing about the latest looney tune, he didn’t know which group to pledge allegiance to (CNN was reporting that he claimed to support several different gangs of terrorists). It sounded more like he was just nuts. I have theories that I’ll keep quiet about since there’s no way to prove them (short of some insane manifesto that confesses everything). But this kind of hatred has no place in any society.

    • dan4kent says:

      My dear PM. I’m right there with you. Bordering on overload with the press….some of it getting vapid. Hate is hate. Working for better.
      Keeping it real in Chicago.
      Dan

  2. There are no words….

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