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When Friends Become Enemies and Enemies Become... Friends?
It's a miracle I was mentioned on Wonkette without being called an assortment of colorful names and adjectives...Ah... the memories...
While not as shocking as losing 99.8% of my conservative evangelical friends when I came out, the people I have become friends with in the aftermath are still surprising. Wayne Besen is one. I mean, Wayne and I are not having girl’s night braiding each other’s hair and talking about boys while watching Birdcage, but we understand our like-minded goals and have had good conversations. And I would love to meet with him over coffee someday.
There are plenty of others that I would call friends on a work and even personal level nowadays that I never would have thought possible in the past. One of my very first experiences of this being a possibility was dancing with John Becker at Town Danceboutique (amazing!) in DC back in March 2017. The first time we met, I escorted him (sneaky activist) on a golf cart directly off the campus where Exodus was having its annual conference sometime in the ‘00s… I think it was the ‘00s. And then, years later, there we were dancing the night away. Thanks for the grace and fun, John.
However, one person in particular stood out this week: Evan Hurst, the Managing Editor of Wonkette. Evan Hurst was a sarcastic and very opinionated writer back in the Exodus watchdog blog kind of days and, well, still is… but I like it. This week, he also covered Mike Johnson’s extreme homophobic beliefs and work with us at Exodus. He writes (linkage his):
In the clip, KFile’s Andy Kaczynski notes that Exodus rather famously shut down in 2013, issuing massive apologies for all the people it hurt. Such is the story with most of the so-called “ex-gay ministries” that existed back then. Some of them have reformed or rebranded, with some of the remaining deranged “ex-gay” charlatans at their helm, but most of the former leaders of the “ex-gay” movement are back to just living plain old gay lives, many of them gay married, and trying to make gay amends to all the people they hurt in their former careers.
(Randy Scobey, mentioned above, falls into this category. Funny story: This writer in a previous life worked closely in the fight against “ex-gay” torture, and it’s nuts how most of the former leading lights of the “ex-gay” industry started out as our enemies and ended up as our Facebook friends.)
I'm unsure how deep a Facebook friendship goes, which Evan and I weren’t. If you read this, I just sent you an FBFF (Facebook Friends Forever) request, Evan. I'm not sure Evan would even consider being friends, Facebook or otherwise. But it was nice to be mentioned on Wonkette and have all those memories of our (Evan and my) past interactions to reflect on.
To be clear, there are plenty of gay activists who knew or knew of me back then, and they will never forgive and forget. That’s fine. I understand it (honestly). That said, we don’t have to like each other to accomplish like-minded goals like ending conversion therapy and stopping ex-gay ministries (the ‘pastoral’ form of conversion therapy). This means it doesn’t matter what other LGBTQ+ advocates think of me or my opinions of them; if working together would be more impactful to accomplishing the goal of ending religious stigma and exposing abuse, let’s talk.
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