I have often thought that ex-gay/anti-gay group PFOX, the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, should really be called The Disgruntled Parents of Unrepentant Gay and Lesbians. That may be harsh and not true of some of the parents genuinely looking for answers in light of much misinformation that they learned about gays and lesbians.
Christine Bakke is a survivor of the ex-gay movement, who along with Pam and a few others, is one of the lesbian voices rarely heard and recognized for their reason, sanity and insight. In responding to a book review Christine's mother, Jeanette Bakke, posted on the PFOX web-site, Christine reveals again the thoughtfulness and wholeness that has been a hallmark of her own self-reflection and the public and private sharing she has done regarding her ex-gay experiences.
Speaking out of a liberated mind, Christine writes:
I've come into my own after much struggle and I reject the notion that I am lost or broken or need to be restored. There is something really disturbing about this idea that I am fundamentally flawed and need salvation in order to be a “good girl” in this world. I already am good, whole, and the only thing I've ever needed restored to me was my sanity after the years in the ex-gay movement.
Christine was featured in Glamour Magazine where she told some of her story of trying to eradicate her lesbian side and the devastating results. The author of the piece also interviewed Christine's mother, and quoted her as saying,
When you rock your baby in your arms, you never think one day my daughter will be homosexual and want to have sex with another woman, never have children. No one holds their baby and says maybe they’ll grow up to be a rapist, or this or that. You have dreams for your children.
In repsonse Christine writes about the dreams she has carried and how tragically the dreams we we hold out for ourselves and for our loved ones can get deferred.
Children have dreams for their parents, too. You don't lay in your parent's arms and think that you'll have to defend yourself from them thinking you are lost and damned eternally. You don't cuddle up and think that one day you'll find out that they believe that who you are is synonymous with being a rapist. I certainly didn't have those dreams for my parents. What I did dream instead was that I might be able to express my concerns and be heard. I dreamed that I would be always cherished and deemed worthy of their love and respect, no matter my beliefs. I dreamed that I would be supported in living a life that was truly authentic and truly mine, without the haunting thoughts about what a disappointment I am to them. Those dreams have had to die.
Without adequate education and information, parents can pressure their children into making choices that actually cause suffering to the child, the parents themselves, and the relationship they all share.
Over at Beyond Ex-Gay we have two articles especially for parents.
In the battle over LGBT rights and the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church and in ministry, in addition to the harm experienced by queer sons and daughters at times at the hands of family members, often the casualties are the families as a whole, particularly when some act as if being gay or lesbian is the most important issue, the deal breaker. Sadly some desire to give their children a blessing but instead hand them a curse. My hope is that parents with questions will consider Christine's words before they make demands that may very well lead to the breakdown of the family. There is a better way.