Setting the Record “Straight”: Why Gays and Lesbians Are OutragedWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Rev. Dr. Michelle Stecker, Esq.
Equality Toledo Interim Executive Director
I was outraged when I read Crystal Dixon’s April 18 “Gay Rights and Wrongs: Another Perspective” opinion piece in the Toledo Free Press, and I want to set the record “straight.”
Ms. Dixon’s opinion column was a direct attack on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens. It used derogatory and defamatory language and was filled with misrepresentations and fabrications.
First, there is no such thing as a “homosexual lifestyle.” Gay and lesbian people have lives, not “lifestyles.” Just like our straight friends, we pay taxes, raise children, keep up our homes, and work hard to make the world a better place.
Being gay is not a choice. Just as Ms. Dixon cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman, I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a lesbian. I did not choose this identity any more than a heterosexual person chooses to be straight. I’ll use Ms. Dixon’s own language, substituting one word: “I am genetically and biologically a lesbian and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended.”
Gays and lesbians are “civil rights victims”— few of us can hide who we are, and we suffer as second-class citizens who lack many basic civil rights. In its May 15 opinion opening marriage to gay and lesbian couples, the California Supreme Court agreed, stating that “the history of persecution” of gays and lesbians is “comparable to that of Blacks and women.”
So-called “ex-gay ministries” have been debunked by social scientists for nearly a decade. In fact, two of the founders of the organization Ms. Dixon cited, Exodus International, are now happily living as out gay men, and recently issued a public apology to the gay community for having deceived and hurt so many gay persons for so long.
All of the major American health associations — including the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Psychiatric Association, representing nearly half a million health professionals – have stated that being gay is not a “disorder,” it is not possible to change a person’s sexual orientation, and, in fact, reparative therapy is harmful.
Ms. Dixon’s “irrefutable” economic data that gay and lesbian people make more money than heterosexual Americans is quite refutable with the facts. The 1998 study by a University of Massachusetts economist showed that the image of a wealthy gay and lesbian demographic is a myth.
But the most offensive of Ms. Dixon’s opinions was the assertion that gays and lesbians will experience “consequences” unless we repent. As an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA for the last 19 years, I know of only seven oblique Biblical references to homosexual conduct, but they refer mostly to violent behavior like rape and pederasty and have no relevance to modern-day, loving same-sex relationships. Jesus was silent on the subject of same-sex relationships. There are, however, 1200 verses in the Bible that mandate Christians to love our neighbor and care for the poor.
I challenge Ms. Dixon and all religious people to stop the defamation of gay and lesbian persons. At the end of the day, sin lies in spreading messages of hate and bigotry, rather than love and justice.