Finding the word of God
Having survived six months of conversion therapy, Josh Sanders is barred from coaching at the sports camp where he thrived for six years. Now he's coming out publicly and forging new dialogue with both Christian and LGBT organizations to open hearts.
There's a moment in TLC's controversial hourlong special 'My Husband's Not Gay' when the four stars of the show head to a basketball court. The four guys say they're not gay, but they have what amounts to a new anti-gay codeword, "Same-Sex Attraction," or "SSA." Kind of like how religious conservatives insist on calling gay people "homosexuals" to make us sound all about sex, the Mormon Church marginalizes the experiences of its gay members with this clinical code word.
En route to the basketball court, one of the show's more unathletic
antagonists protagonists explains why he wants to shoot some hoops despite him being completely incapable of doing so.
"I don't think I'm playing basketball to make me more manly," he says. "I'm playing basketball to feel connected to a part of masculinity I felt excluded or rejected by."
I could not care less if someone plays sports. I could not care less if they're good at sports - if they can shoot a basketball or catch a football. I don't care.
What I care about is this nonsense that participation in sports is somehow a key to masculinity. It's not. Years ago gay people would call me "butch" when I told them I played sports. I'm not. Masculinity comes from being yourself and expressing yourself fully no matter who you are or what you like to do with your time. Johnny Weir, with all of his glitter, is far more masculine to me than any closeted football player. (And by the way, femininity for me is defined in the same way just from a different sensibility - they are not opposites.)
The show also overs a desperately skewed perspective of the words in the Bible, focusing on one passage about "lying with man" but ignoring this one as the gay men married to women openly lust after other men on the basketball court. From Matthew 5:28:
"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Unless they're going to tell me that this passage somehow allows for gay lust and not straight lust, they're committing adultery with their eyes if not their penis. And by the way, they're doing that to as one of the men admitted to a sleepover with a couple of guys getting out of control. Oops.
I feel badly for these men and their families. They have been fed this nonsense from a church whose top mission for decades has been to force as much population growth as possible. I can only hope we don't see more TV storylines pushing kids to betray their true selves, and that these parents come to their senses and don't pass along the sometimes suicide-inducing mentality they have chosen to buy into.
While the show has aired, you can sign a Change.org petition started by gay Christian Josh Sanders to stop the show's broadcast.