Beyond Ex-Gay

“They Never Really knew me”

By Darlene Bogle


I’ve recently had a couple of conversations that disturbed me. I was talking with a gay male friend of mine after the loss of his mother. His father had passed away several years earlier.

He said, ”You know what makes me really sad is not that my parents passed away, but that they never really knew me. I couldn’t come out to them because of their religious beliefs, so they only knew me as their son who said and did things that they would find acceptable. We never talked about my sexual orientation and there are major parts of my life that they could never share.”
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I knew exactly what he was saying, because Des, my partner for 12 years, had the same experience. Her parents were Southern Baptist, and although they loved her dearly, they would never accept her as a lesbian. Our “friendship” was acceptable to them, they knew we were Christians, but we were never open to talk about us being a couple. After her death, I was free to share with them that we were registered Domestic Partners. I shared my love for her, and the fact that she was always fearful of rejection from her family, and chose to not share this aspect of her life. This makes me very sad, because they never knew her as a woman of faith and a woman of caring love for her partner. They never really knew her at all.

I talk with Christian men and women all the time, who are present in their families, and yet invisible. They are not known, they are only seen as a family member, yet never free to discuss their loves and fears. If they have the courage to “come out” to their families, they are rejected and condemned for an unacceptable orientation. The men and women they are, will never be shared with those closest to their hearts. That makes me very sad.

After my partner passed away from breast cancer, I received a lengthy letter from her brother, written to share his heart with me about homosexuality being a sin. He enclosed an article and the appropriate Scriptures to point out the error of my ways, and how he could never accept his sisters “lifestyle.” She knew him very well. However, he never really knew her, or the faith that sustained her every day. That makes me very sad.

I read a new book in December by the Rev. Dr. Mel White. It’s called Religion Gone Bad-the Hidden Dangers of the Religious Right. Prior to coming out as a gay man some 25 years ago, Mel was a ghost writer for Pat Robinson, Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell. He has spent years trying to engage them in dialogue about the damage that is being done from the pulpit of fundamentalist preachers who are condemning not only homosexuality, but the sons and daughters of faith who must sit in silence in their services.

This book exposes the true agenda of the Christian fundamentalists against the gay community. He documents their declaration of war, and lifts up a caution flag for every GLBT person to heed if we are to survive as men and women of faith. This also makes me very sad.
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What doesn’t make me sad is that I am a woman of faith, called by God to take a stand against injustice. I am a lesbian, with a God-given homosexual orientation.

Any Christian Fundamentalist is likely to state that these two concepts create an oxymoron. After all, “The Bible says…” and they go on to quote verse after verse that they believe relegates the life of someone with a homosexual orientation into the eternal fires of hell.

To be a Christian, they proclaim, you must live a life that fits into their heterosexual understanding. To argue the point, even with documented explanations of what the Scriptures actually say, is to be like a dog chasing its tail. While it is entertaining, it will never catch its tail, and the Fundamentalist Bible Believer will never change his mind. This is primarily because a national preacher stated on television that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to God. They may appear to listen as you explain the meaning of the Hebrew word that was mis- translated, but they will walk away still chasing their own tale of what they think the Bible says.

When I recently received a letter telling me that I was living a life of sin, along with appropriate articles on what the Bible says about my lifestyle, I sat at the computer and formulated my response. The verses I chose to respond to is: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 from the NIV translation.

Leviticus 18:22 states: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” and 20:13 states: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

These two verses are only part of the Levitical law and regulations that the Israelites were to follow until the Messiah came and fulfilled the law. (Matt 5:17) states that “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  These laws were never intended to be an end unto themselves but a guide to follow until the law of love was given in their place. In Gal 3:24 and 25, Paul states that “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Paul further states in chapter 5:14 that “The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.”; and again in Rom 13.10 “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
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It is from this section of Scripture that a lot of hate crimes are carried out. There are fundamentalist preachers today that are advocating that homosexuals are to be stoned to death by this lawful standard. They have not moved from the law into the freedom of love that resides in Jesus Christ.

It is often quoted that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord, and that we are defiled and to be cast out of community. They ignore the laws that state if you desire your neighbors wife, or commit, incest that the same penalty applies.

The major problem here is that these two verses are part of the greater list of laws. You can’t pick on one or two. You must keep the Sabbath; not travel or work; no divorce; no offering of sacrifices, or touching things unclean like the skin of pigs. What would we do in this country with no football or basketball!

The Levitical law was only a guide until Christ came. Jesus taught us through his life and death that the fullness of the law is the commandment of love. This is fulfilled through two laws. Matt: 22:37-40. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Christ fulfilled the law and when we receive Him we are completed in the eyes of God.

The heart attitude is the most important thing because if we keep those two laws of love we will not violate anyone else. We know the heart of the Father, and we can walk in love toward those who would do us emotional, physical and spiritual harm.

I’ve never learned Greek or Hebrew, but I know the God of Love. I wonder when I hear stories that make me sad, if someday when those fundamentalist Christians stand before God that these words will echo around heaven. “You never really knew Me.”

Darlene can be contacted at Turtlehrt @ (without the spaces). She is the author of a new book, A Christian Lesbian Journey.