Yesterday I wrote about Barbara and Lester Leavitt and their press conference outside of the Latter Day Saint’s program Evergreen ex-gay program. In addition to telling their stories, the Leavitt showed up to give the Evergreen leadership specially designed collages of the Leavitt’s ex-gay survivor narratives.
Christine Bakke has spent hours creating beautiful and expressive collages about our lives as survivors. We each provide Christine with photos, journal entries, poems, scripture, etc and see soaks it all in then creates the piece. (You can see mine here) It takes her four to six hours to design, sometimes longer. As she builds the piece, she absorbs the hopes, the pain, the disappointments of the survivors. Much like our Chalk Talk at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference, the creation of the collages is a meditation on the ex-gay experience–the good and the harm.
For Barbara and Lester, Christine created two collages that dramatically demonstrate the breaking apart of two lives and the creation of new individuality. So often the plight of the straight spouses in mixed orientation marriages go unheard. Lester and Barbara have wonderfully supported each other, but Barbara has found that while she accepts her husband as gay as he begins his new life, her church rejects her. If she denounces her husband, she is accepted with open arms.
On this blog we have looked at some of the lives of straight spouses, particularly wives. (See Gay Husbands and Sweet Potato Fries) In the pursuit of the American dream and of reaching for the heterosexual standard in many of our churches, gay men and lesbian woman have pursued a cure to their same-sex attractions and then marriage. Too often these marriages end in disaster. Barbara and Lester’s ended too, but their love for each other remains, and although it must be harder than I can imagine, they move on to support and affirm each other.
(click on images for larger views)
We will hear from more survivors next week in Memphis when Ex-Gay Survivors will visit Love in Action to tell their stories and give framed collages to John Smid, the head of that program.