A new program to celebrate LGBTI lives of faith

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Joined in 2010
April 27, 2013, 21:05

I've posted this on my Facebook pages but thought I'd post it here to for some extra feedback. Appreciate any comments you might have…

I'm putting together a program that's the opposite of an ex-gay program. This will be a celebration of God, faith and sexuality where we learn as much as we can about being "fearfully and wonderfully made" and "living life to the full".

So, my question. What would you like to see in such a program? What sort of questions would you like explored? What skills would you like to learn? What sort of things would you like to hear? And what would you hope to have achieved/experienced by the end of it?

The plan is to do a pilot here in Melbourne towards the end of this year and, with the feedback we get, take it on the road to the other states.

Over to you…

Peace and hope.


Joined in 2013
April 29, 2013, 11:00

I've been pondering this topic for a while and need to clarify a few things.

– How will such a program be different to your existing counselling approach for an individual already affected by religious conversion?

– Is it designed to replace or supplement a client's appointments with you? Or is it an entirely separate thing offered to a different subset of clients?

– Is it intended to be for an individual or group?

Just thought these things could be hashed out as the approach would be a little different.

For me, one of the more helpful things is that I'd like to see an effort to help attendees see the 'bigger picture' when it comes to the secular as well as religious acceptance of LGBTI. In an ex-gay program, one is taught to narrow their mental focus to accept just one religious interpretation and the 'scientific' point of view held by a minority with very questionable qualifications in the field. I do not attend counselling for my own issues and needed quite a bit of practice to differentiate them.

Of course, there is the counterargument from ex-gay proponents that mainstream science is a huge conspiracy that has shut down dissent, or that its some part or symptom of society's moral decay etc. These are all put forward in order to prevent a person from using other sources of input because they know their rationale does not stand up to external scrutiny. Once someone is convinced that only they hold the truth, they can say and do whatever they want.

The strength of your program is that it would stand up to public and scientific scrutiny and you are integrating them into society instead of isolating them in theology.


Another suggestion I have is that if addressing the flaws of the ex-gay efforts are still too emotionally confronting or painful, you can use analogies and arguments from other instances of faith-based anti-science such as creationism or even the flat earth theory. A belief in the opposite – evolution or a round earth, does not result in moral decay. They are less emotive subjects and a lot has been written about them already online etc; I could give you some links if you wish.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
April 29, 2013, 22:23

Hi mrg

What an excellent idea! My suggestions would be to educate about self esteem and sexuality from both a psychological and spiritual viewpoint, drawing from a broad range of spiritual traditions and philosophies. If you are aiming this at a Christian audience who are looking for biblical answers, you could offer a range of biblical interpretations and teach some sound hermeneutical principles so that people are better equipped to search for the truth in the bible themselves. You might also do units on celebrating diversity and difference, teaching about acceptance and self love, building supports and networks, resilience, dealing with bullying and harassment, learning when to engage or not with those that hold differing views – knowing the difference between dialogue vs closed minded of Christians, and coming out. Just some ideas..


Ann Maree

Joined in 2005
April 30, 2013, 11:25

Awesome Idea Matt

I would think resources

1) things like

and books like


and other affirming books and churches and organisations (PFLAG, MCC, F2B of course)

2) lists of good movies and Docos

One of the things that helped me was to realise ise theres a whole culture out there

Movies like Saved (of course) but others that just help with general affirmation

You should meet my son

Mambo Italiano

Make the Yuletide Gay

A touch of Pink

Adam and Steve

Where the Bears are

Theres a PILE of them although there probably is a question of where to draw the line some – like 9 dead gay guys – are very funny but may shock some people….

3) stuff to make people think and question ..

I love this bit from a Seperate creation which makes the point – there are two very similar human genetic traits… one of which is non controversially genetic and the other the are laws and debates about ….

One black box has been the object of decades of empirical observation, and researchers have amassed a fairly complete external description of it in the scientific literature, what is sometimes called a “trait profile.” This is the first stage of biological research. (What generates this black box, what makes it what it is are the questions biologists are just beginning to pursue.) We have measured the external dimensions of this black box, and on that external level we know it well. This is what we know.

1. Biologists refer to the trait as a stable dimorphism, expressed behaviorally.

2. It exists in the form of two basic internal, invisible orientations. Over 90 percent of the population accounts for the majority orientation and under 10 percent (one reliable study puts the figure at 7.89 percent) for the minority orientation, although there is still debate about the exact percentages.

3. Only a very small number of people are truly equally oriented both ways.

4. Evidence from art history suggests the incidence of the two different orientations has been constant for five millennia. 5. A person’s orientation cannot be identified simply by looking at him or her; those with the minority orientation are just as diverse in appearance, race, religion, and all other characteristics as those with the majority orientation.

6. Since the trait itself is internal and invisible, the only way to identify a person’s orientation is to observe the person’s behavior or reflexes that express it. However:

7. The trait itself is not a “behavior.” It is the neurological orientation expressed, at times, behaviorally. A person with the minority orientation can engage, usually due to coercion or social pressure, in behavior that seems to express the majority orientation—several decades ago, those with the minority orientation frequently were forced to behave as if they had the majority orientation—but internally the orientation remains the same. As social pressures have lifted, the minority orientation has become more commonly and openly expressed in society.

8. Neither orientation is a disease or mental illness. Neither is pathological.

9. Neither orientation is chosen.

10. Signs of one’s orientation are detectable very early in children—often, researchers have established, by age two or three—and one’s orientation probably is defined, at the latest, by age two, and quite possibly before birth. These first intriguing observations began to catch the attention of researchers. The trait looked biological in origin. They began to press ahead systematically with their inspection, fleshing out the answer to the first question biologists always ask of a trait: “What is it?” This question must be answered before a scientist can pursue the second, quite different question: “Where does it come from?” The data that began flowing back indicated that the trait might well have a genetic source. 11. Adoption studies show that the orientation of adopted children is unrelated to the orientation of their adoptive parents, demonstrating that the trait is not environmentally rooted.

12. Twin studies show that pairs of identical (monozygotic) twins, who have identical genes, have a higher-than-average chance often adopted sharing the same orientation compared to pairs of randomly selected individuals; the average (or “background”) rate of the trait in any given population is just under 8 percent, while the twin rate is just over 12 percent, over 50 percent higher. But the most startling and intriguing clues came from studies that began to reveal the faint outlines of the genetic plans that underlie the trait.

13. The incidence of the minority orientation is strikingly higher in the male population—about 27 percent higher—than it is in the female population, a bit of data hinting to the biologist how the gene or genes responsible might be operating. 14. Like the trait eye color, familial studies show no direct parent-offspring correlation for the two orientations of the trait, but the minority orientation clearly “runs in families,” handed down from parent to child in a loose but genetically characteristic pattern.

15. This pattern shows a “maternal effect,” a classic telltale sign of a genetically loaded trait. The minority orientation, as expressed in men appears to be passed down through the mother.

The trait profiled above, of course, is handedness, a stable, behavioral bimodal polymorphism with the majority orientation, right-handedness

Burr, Chandler (2011-04-30). A Separate Creation (Kindle Location 182). Transworld. Kindle Edition.

Joined in 2010
April 30, 2013, 20:56

Thanks for the feedback.

I should clarify, that this is part of something I'm working on with a few others. Part of what I hope will be a significant culture changer.

Peace and hope.


Joined in 2005
May 1, 2013, 10:08

Its an awesome idea

and from my over analytical geek approach – what I would find daunting about putting together about such a program is that the points that resonate with people Differ. Im sure you know all this but …

so for some – its the clobber passages.

For others – its stories of others Journey's and knowing they arent alone

Some I have found – that some people resonate to a discussion on what Jesus talks about

i.e. – talk about the Commands Jesus actually DID give us… such as do not judge others (given im multiple ways to make it very clear and very strong) and Mathew 25 – (The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats for example) where he tells us to look after those "hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison". The statistics on what the BIBLE does focus on and what it actually does consider important (for example – telling the truth is mention FAR more times than homosexuality)

Also theres the old "Unnatural" argument – and noting that Homosexuality is natural and occurs in nature and in fact provides benefits in terms of care for orphaned young and extra resource gathering etc as well as the research that its not a choice….

all pulled together…. usually I find one of those resonates with people….

Joined in 2009
May 3, 2013, 11:46


Can I also suggest that you have someone read it through "female" eyes. I love my gay male brethren I just don't always think like them. There are some things that are tied up for me in being a woman, a christian and gay that seem different to the experience of gay men. My experience of the church, for example, is different ( I used to say being a woman in some churches was hard enough let alone being a gay woman)


Joined in 2010
May 3, 2013, 21:43

Hi Axiom,

We're making sure we have all bases covered. My associate counsellor at MGA is a lesbian woman – she's very good at making sure we've got multiple angles covered.

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