I’m sitting here at St. Edmund’s College in Cambridge where I will give a “talk” tonight about my experiences when I spent nearly 20 years attempting to de-gay myself through a variety of therapies and treatments.
Since this weekend’s ex-gay conference and subsequent protest against it, I have heard many British express shock and disbelief. Speaking with my friend Esther today I calculated that I have personally met over 200 people in the UK who have at one point in their lives pursued an ex-gay course either on their own or through ministries or therapy. (And those of you from Great Britain with ex-gay experiences who read this blog please feel free to tell some of your story in the comment section.)
Speaking with five different people who attended Saturday’s protest in from of the Emmanuel Centre, it sounds like the protest was a success in many ways. (check out photos here and a blog account here.) For one there were nearly 150 people who showed up, some of whom had never done any sort of campaigning or activism of this sort before. The lead organizer, Nicolas, confessed that this is the first time he ever organized something like this. He put up a Facebook event page last Tuesday and within four days he assemblied many protesters (including the Sisters of Perptetual Indugence) and lots of press coverage.
Ekklesia, a British religious think tank, had a reporter there who shared what he heard and saw–Christians Protest at Sex and the City,
Over 100 protestors, including both gay and heterosexual Christians, gathered in London on Saturday to demonstrate peacefully against a conference promoting ‘cures’ for lesbian and gay people.
Protestors carrying placards with Bible verses and religious slogans such: “gay and Christian” and quoting Psalm 51 “God desires truth in our inward being” demonstrated peacefully outside the event organised by Anglican Mainstream and CARE at which speakers advocated methods of ‘treating’ homosexuality.
‘Sex & the City’ was billed as a Judaeo-Christian conference “with a special focus on how religious professionals, friends and relatives can respond biblically and pastorally to those struggling with unwanted SSA (same-sex attraction)”. Anglican Mainstream’s website stated: “We are very worried about the continued progress of the gay – and in fact, the LGBT – agenda across the board in the UK. Social, cultural, political and religious sectors are all being targeted and most of them are capitulating.”
What I find exciting and successful about the buildup to the protest and the event itself is that people who previously did not get involved with any form of activism did take action and this put them in contact with people who regularly take a stand on a variety of issues. This sort of community building leads to a stronger LGBTQ community that is engaged in the process of making the world a better place, not just for us, but for all who need justice.
Now that more and more rights and laws favor the lives and welfare of LGBTQ people in the UK (and yes, there is still much work to do in schools, churches and elsewhere) organizations that have traditionally focused exclusively on LGBTQ rights and concerns can now broaden their work to include other areas such as immigration, prison reform, homelessness and such, areas where LGBTQ people are directly affected and often areas other organizations have done long term work, organizations with which we can partner.
Alright off to do final preparation for my presentation tonight. If you want to see where I will be over the next four weeks in the UK, check out my presentation schedule. (I may add a new performance in Lincoln, England soon!)