What’s Right with Smid

LIA graduation
Originally uploaded by p2son.

John Smid and the folks at LIA (& Exodus & Focus on the Family) want to save children from a disastrous life of sin. They see the “gay lifestyle” as a dangerous evil that must be avoided at all costs.

They firmly believe this and doggedly stick to their story.

Perhaps John Smid has only seen gay people acting-out with destructive, self-abusive behaviors.
Perhaps based on his personal history of promiscuity and failed relationships, he assumes it’s the same for everyone.
Perhaps only those men and woman with severe life-controlling problems (sexual addiction, emotionally dependent relationships, unresolved childhood sexual abuse and depression) show up at the doors of these “change” programs.

Last fall, in an e-mail, John Smid asked me to consider how his program helped me.
Easy. I arrived at LIA messed up in many ways; I also had same-sex attractions.

Through interacting with loving, sincere people, I was able to begin to address sexual addiction, depression and childhood abuse. I found a measure of relief, BUT since the primary focus was on my same-sex attractions, my “successes” faded into the background.

I believed in the gay umbrella given me by the church, where gay men are inherently dysfunctional sex maniacs, and with despair of being anything different, I came OUT.

In the LGBTQ community, I quickly found that dysfunction exists, just as it exists in the heterosexual community (see The Real World, Temptation Island, Spike TV, etc). But such a lifestyle is not the norm for the majority of queer or straight people in the world.

Yes, I’ve had to sort myself out and address real issues that threatened my well being, but these issues had NOTHING to do with my same-sex attractions.

John Smid has met some miserable and terribly screwed-up gay people. He wants to help them. Yeah, they exist, but John Smid needs to get out more and meet the rest of the community, the majority of the community.

This post has 14 Comments

  1. Peterson Toscano on June 20, 2005 at 8:10 pm

    When I showed this photo to my friend, Jenness, she responded, “You look so gay in this picture!”

    “Hey” I shot back, “This was my Love in Action graduation, the straightest day of my life!”

    “Can’t tell.”
    She says its in the eyes. Maybe the “ex-gay” programs should provide straight-looking contact lenses.

  2. Joe G. on June 21, 2005 at 2:09 am

    Now, see, I didn’t quite recognize you in the picture. You look so wholesome here – midwestern-like (no offense, to Mid-westerners, of course and not that you look “unwholesome” in your post-LIA pics). I can’t quite figure out what you were wearing however. Although to your friend you look gay, you definitely have the required “straight-look” promoted by so many groups. When I did this, it was still acceptable to have longer hair (although not below the collar – this is the late 1970’s/early 1980’s).

    The “straightest day of your life”. Ha, ha! I remember having a number of those in “the day”. 🙂

    What a great picture to post given what’s going on in the blogosphere and LIA. Wow!

  3. Contemplative Activist on June 21, 2005 at 10:40 am

    That’s the haircut of English choir boys that is!

    Brilliant pic Peterson, you’ll have to forgive me for giggling at you!

  4. Peterson Toscano on June 21, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    well, the grubby, unshaven look makes me look a little rugged, right? Although we had to shave everyday. Hmm, I see a subversive move on my part. See, I was not following the RULES! No wonder it didn’t work.

    John Smid appears with me in this photo taken in March 1998. Some strange cosmic exchange must have occured between us that day. I have much less hair on top since then and he has much more.

  5. Annika on June 22, 2005 at 1:52 am

    Nice photo – what are you holding?

    Re: “Perhaps only those men and woman with severe life-controlling problems (sexual addiction, emotionally dependent relationships, unresolved childhood sexual abuse and depression) show up at the doors of these “change” programs.”

    I’ve always thought this to be the case. I was reminded of this the other day when I went to the dentist and was asked if I had any tongue jewelry (before a big crazy round-the-head xray procedure). When I replied no, the x-ray technician started talking about how dangerous it is and how they think that about 50-80% of people with tongue jewelry end up with broken teeth or even broken jaw bones. I didn’t bother to argue that the percentages are so much smaller but because that’s all they see (since they’re called upon to fix the damage) that’s probably what’s true for them. They’re just not seeing the whole picture. Immediately I thought of how the ex-gay movement does this.


  6. Liz Opp on June 22, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    Great comment, Annika. Makes sense to me.

    Hey, Peterson, what about inviting Smid to a certain Quaker LGBTQ gathering…? But maybe that idea ought to be “tested” a bit, huh (in the Quaker sense)?

    Liz, The Good Raised Up

  7. christina on June 22, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    hey, you–

    yes, i’m still out here. to me, you look like a robot. maybe a gay robot. a rugged gay robot–though i don’t really see the rugged part, to be honest.

    you also look terrified.

    clearly not in your right mind yet, or body. i’m so glad you found your way out.

  8. Anonymous on June 25, 2005 at 6:01 am

    It is know as fact that anyone who chooses a mate that does not create life is a mate selection disorder.And the question is.Is it right to defend sexual disorders? Also note that mate selection disorders are not only limited to people who associate sex with the same sex, it is also people who chose mates with objects, animals ETC.To defend mate selection disorders you can’t defend one, you must defend them all. The term disorder in this case means people are choosing their own reality. Or to be put simple, people are lying to themselves. Labels like gay, lesbian and bisexual are terms that are false because as humans we can associate sex with anything, if we are a label, we are “free sexually”. You must also note that people will close their mind and not even listen to logic or change and defend the disorder even if they know they may be wrong. This is denial.The denial is caused by greed in order to keep this alternate reality.Note that this statement is to show what many people know as scientific fact, and also to show people that what they are seeing is a reality that they are choosing, not actual reality.

  9. abbyladybug on June 26, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    I absolutely loved your performance. Thanks for swinging by Memphis this weekend. We needed it!

    I’ve been writing about you, and I hope to be writing more. Are your ears burning?

    Adventures with Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker

  10. Jeffery on June 26, 2005 at 8:00 pm

    “The Queer Agenda” by Jeffery

    Everyone by now should already have received their personal copy of the Queer Agenda. If you are reading this and haven’t received a copy of the agenda via fax, email, text message or snail mail. Then you will just have to do a search online or ask your local bigot to send you a copy.

    Seeing as the agenda clearly isn’t being met I have come up with ways we, using the universal Queer we, can take non violent action.

    Teachers begin scratching your finger nails across the chalk boards, on the hour every hour.

    Music teachers teach only in off key and art teachers have the kids paint only with finger paints.

    Hair stylists color every womyns hair blue and give all men a mullet hair cut.

    Decorators you should design everything in the Simpson motif.

    Clothing designers are to only use polyester for all clothing.

    Librarians take out all books that have any hint of the heterosexual lifestyle (as all us Queers know by now they just chose that lifestyle) mentioned in them.

    These are just a few ideas that have popped into my head. Please add your own to the list so we all can begin taking non violent action.

    (NOTE: All of this is in fun and a way to blow off steam and to recharge ones batteries.)

  11. Cale on June 28, 2005 at 4:17 pm

    Have you seen John Smid recently? I wasn’t aware of his total transformation until I saw a few pictures such as the one on your blog. I am interested in asking him how he justifies his new hair…ahem..his false identity…with the scriptures.
    Not the most pressing issue, but still..

  12. Peterson Toscano on June 28, 2005 at 8:20 pm

    Cale, you are very observant (and quite cheeky). Yes, perhaps you should talk to John about his appearance.

    In correct LIA fashion you will need to address him and first prepare him by saying, “John, I have some feedback for you.” Then you give him a moment to rise to his feet.

    He must stand up straight with his hands to his side and must maintain eye contact.

    Then you say something like, “John, I wanna challenge you…” Then you fill in the rest. Let me know how it goes.

  13. Regan on June 28, 2005 at 10:05 pm

    Hi P,
    Regan again….Smid and all the others have a very contradictory way of making their case.
    One could argue that being a black person in America, even now is fraught with risk.
    The inner city’s crime ridden neighborhoods are unsafe for children to walk to school without fear of being shot. Living with such stress makes life shorter, less accessible to quality health care or insurance. You’re more likely to be born into a single mother home, born to an addict or someone emotionally abusive.
    Gangs are aggressive recruiters and black men of quality, with an education and solid job prospects are rarer.
    Would Smid then suggest becoming ‘ex black’ because it’s dangerous and difficult to be black?
    Or is it dangerous to live in a hateful world that’s ordered to hate you for what you are….not what you do…no matter how talented and compassionate?
    It’s the legacy of hate….not the hated that make life dangerous and difficult to be black and/or gay.
    It wouldn’t be hard to convince a black person during Jim Crow that being white was the best thing to be…even if white people weren’t the best people.
    In that same way, it’s not hard to convince someone that being hetero is the way to be…. After all, the worst hetero has the option to marry and bear children…where the best gay person cannot.
    What people observe as a life that’s dangerous and difficult, but do not distinguish the reasons for that difficulty from personal merit cannot be the judge of anything in this regard.
    Smid and many of his ilk TAKE that qualification for themselves unjustly. But have no right to it.
    He’s in no place to foster such a thing as ‘ex gay’ than he should confront a black man the same way and demand he act ‘less black’.

  14. Peterson Toscano on June 30, 2005 at 1:54 pm

    Regan, to illustrate your point about the leap to an “ex-Black” ministry, please visit Sister Betty Bower’s site where she provides a biting satire about this very thing.


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