This week the Times of London ran  an article about that ex-gay movement.

Also this week I received an e-mail from a fellow ex-gay survivor, an Englishman I really respect. We initially met through the Gay Christian Network, and then hung out together at the wonderful Greenbelt Festival in England in 2006 and 2007. In conversations we discovered how our paths crossed on the ex-gay highway. He recently watched the DVD of my play,  Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House–How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! and wanted to share some of his thoughts about how he sees things have improved for LGB folks in the UK.

I’d seen you do big chunks of the play before, but it was good to see it all again in one sitting, and it still packed a punch. Well done, and thanks again for putting it out there.

I feel that society here in the UK has moved on so much the last few years in acceptance of gay people, and I think that is only partly coloured by my own growth in confidence – coming out over the past four years or so. But then I’m no longer in a conservative church. A number of churches seem to be more accepting of gay folk, and Greenbelt this year was accepting in an even more matter of fact way than when you first visited – the new LGBT group (OuterSpace) had around 150 at their communion service, and bigger rooms this time.

He continues by sharing some of what led him to change and suppress his gay orientation.

I guess seeing Homonomo made me wonder again just why you/I/we put ourselves through it all. For me a big part of it was living inside a church community with such a narrow worldview, but one that I wanted to feel accepted and approved by. That coupled with my limited choice of ‘correct’ reading matter that took such a negative view of homosexuality, and that bore false witness to the scriptures and distorted and filtered science to make it fit its own viewpoint. The shame it induced was crippling to my emotional development, and I think you portrayed that well in your Homonomo piece.

After his sincere effort to sort out the gay thing in his life, he realized how coming out gay opened the door to a richer, fuller life. He no longer adheres to a Christian faith, a fact that some gay Christians might term a tragic consequence of his odyssey, but I can envision this as a healthy outcome after years of church-sanctioned oppression. He acknowledges some of the challenges he still faces,

I feel so much the better since I came out – comfortable in my own skin for a change – I’m not sure how much, if any of that, is linked to my loss of faith. Unfortunately I still have a fair bit of anger reserved for the church, though I felt that the positive atmosphere at Greenbelt went some way to diffusing it, and I know I need to let it go to move on.

peterson toscano

peterson toscano