Make Way for the Children of God 
March, 1997
from Courtney (Nancy) Sharp, author, Medical Abuse of GLBT Youth and Is this Child Gay, Transgendered or Both?

Nancy quotes Steve C (in red) who was
addressing Steve Schalchlin
Steve, the thing I find hard about that statement is its clear refusal to accept *my journey and sexuality.* Your sexuality is not tacit rejection of mine, so why does mine ("ex-gay", "post-gay", or whatever) seem to be an affront ("inherently bigoted") to yours? 's one of the "myths" that's a myth, Steve. I've often said that we don't choose our feelings (sexual orientation). Emotions just "are" and they are neither morally right or wrong in themselves. So, no - being gay (feeling attracted to the same gender and/or having a gay "identity") is NOT, IMO a moral issue. Morals are about behavior - *actions*. 

I expect my understanding (or, from your viewpoint *lack of understanding* :-) ) will be problematic. That's fine - they are my beliefs and I'm not asking you to believe them too. I extend to you the freedom to hold different views and only ask the same consideration. Again, however, I extend to you the right and integrity as an individual to live your life by *your understanding* as I have mine. I wish you only every good thing, good health, success in your work, and most of all, love. 

I close respectful of you as a person including how you experience your sexuality and ask for the same consideration. 


I find these comments by Steve C to be very "healthy" and can honor his experience. I do not find it difficult to believe that some gays can become ex-gay and be heterosexual. I do not believe this will be the personal experience of most gays. I do not think it is available to many gays and I think those who wish to pursue the attempt to become ex-gay should make the decision for themselves. ( I am opposed to subjecting children and teens to reparative therapies and think it can be very harmful. So if we talk about ethical and moral bases for subjecting these children to therapies then I have a problem.) 

Is it that difficult for others to believe that a few may be ex-gay? I do not think that implies that that is an experience that is available to other gays. It just says that it is the experience of a few. 

Possibly, some feel like if one person can be ex-gay then it means that there may be a cure for gays. I think it would be wrong for ex-gays to have the same expectation for others. 

Regarding the "myths", I do not understand why the ex-gays would have to justify their experience by using the old myths to support the veracity of the experience. 

I have read about the importance of the Father-Son Relationship, the formation of the father-son bond, the eventual failure of the father-son bond, the Mother -Father relationship, etc. Overall, I believe all of these factors have a psychological effect on one's development, however I do not think they have an important role in the development of one's sexual orientation. It does get old to hear that the absent father -domineering mother is a precursor to the development of a gay person. However, having said that these are myths, I recognize that certain individuals can have those life experiences. So if a few people say they had those experiences in their lives, I can believe it is possible. Why does one have to say they are ex-gay and then have to justify the experience and present a list of reasons? Why doesn't the experience stand on it's own? In a final analysis, no one knows why gays are gays. By the same token, ex-gays are caught in the same logical trap of having to justify their experience. It seems to me that it is beneficial to both gays and ex-gays to stop trying to justify the experience. ( I know society wants you to provide a reason.) 

Maybe, Steve C could acknowledge that some gays have been hurt by therapists who tried to change their sexual orientation or by an ex-gay movement which held that the experience was available to all gays. It does seem to me that Steve could take that view based upon what I have seen here. 

And maybe we can agree that Steve can truly have his experience. 



From: Nancy Sharp
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 
To: Steve Calverley
Subject: Re: Bridges-Across / more love ... 

Hi Steve, I have been following the discussion and realize there are many issues which have been introduced. I basically do believe that we are all children of God and that we are all "connected" in ways that are not visible. This means that while religious beliefs and other beliefs may separate us, that this separation is, on a deeper level, impossible. Possibly, what I am saying is that on a plane of human awareness or intellectual awareness we can be very disconnected, on a spiritual plane we are always connected. Some would say that it is the spirit of God or the Holy Spirit which connects us. Even many non-religious people come to the realization of the interdependence of people on one another. This is why I think that Bridges Across can help us realize that we are connected. As far as finding common ground, I think that is easier than most would think. If we suspend judgment and move out of love, we will find that we are on common ground. Our judgment and perceptions just make us think we are separated. 

In a way, I see sin as an absence of love. So any hatred or any preaching which leads to hatred would be a sin. 

A Christian theme is one of Christ being symbolized by light. Next week is Easter week  Others on the list probably know about the significance of the light and it's meaning regarding Easter. If you wish to share insights about this maybe we can find common ground by relating the meaning of Easter to the topics being discussed. In one sense it may be difficult and I do not want to make the conversation artificial; however, I do think that there is an Easter message for all of us. So if someone can share light from an Easter message, please feel free to do so. I am open to learning more about Easter. 

Quoting Earlier Correspondence:

SteveC: Nancy wrote: [snip] 

Nancy: Maybe, Steve C could acknowledge that some gays have been hurt by therapists who tried to change their sexual orientation or by an ex-gay  movement which held that the experience was available to all gays. 

SteveC: I can't speak "for" any other post-gays and my opinion is my own. That said, I personally agree with your statement only qualifying it by adding the words "some in the ..."  to the phrase "... ex-gay movement".  I especially agree with it in this sense: *sexual orientation (or reorientation) is of microscopic importance compared to the issue of personally internalizing God's love.*

As well, IMO, sexual orientation is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the issue of God's acceptance, *and more than just "acceptance"* but actual *welcome of us* through (our) savior Jesus Christ. That is my view also. I do not think God distributes his love conditionally. So it does not matter what traits we focus upon to exclude others (or disconnect) from them, it is the exclusion or disconnection which "brings tears to the eyes to Christ." 

Also, if one believed that psychological scars from early childhood were basic events which led one to become gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, then it seems ironic to think that judgment from the churches would be a Christian approach to lead to a psychological healing. I think most of sexual orientation is innate; however, if I take the opposite view point and think it can be changed then I am still confronted with the belief that the churches would reach out in love rather than condemnation. The danger then would be that the churches would "expect" one to "change" rather than to love a person for who they are. 

There is just something basically wrong with judging and excluding other souls journeying with our souls during this earthly experience. We can use the color of a person's skin as the basis of the exclusion , or we could use their sexual orientation as the basis for the exclusion, or we could use the color of their eyes or the size of their feet as the basis of the exclusion. No matter what it is it disconnects us and we think we are punishing another person but at the same time we are hurting ourselves spiritually. The judgment of a gay person upon an ex-gay person is no different from the judgment of an ex-gay person upon a gay person. The judgment of a gay person against a heterosexual person is the same as the judgment of a heterosexual person upon a gay person. At some point, you just get to point where you no longer justify your hatred and judgments....and there are no Christian teachings which will justify it. Where is the love in hatred? My bumper sticker will be "If God is love, where is there love in hatred?" It is the same as "hatred is not a family value" but some preachers and Christians do not "get it" 

There's lots of talk about how fundies take the bible literally. Well, I don't consider myself a "fundie" per se, but I take *this literally* ... "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, *ANYONE* (read: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, heterosexual) can have a whole and lasting life." 

March 1997
from Nancy Sharp, author, Medical Abuse of GLBT Youth and Is this Child Gay, Transgendered or Both?

Hi everyone, 
I want to share part of an insightful talk by Ronald Garet who is a professor of law and religion at the University of Southern California Law Center. He teaches constitutional law, religious ethics, and jurisprudence. Garet spoke at the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy in August 1993. He is the author of a law journal article titled "Self Transformability." I encourage those who are participating in B-A to get a full copy of the article. It is available on Lexis, the lawyers database. It is also be available in local law libraries. 

I share it with you because I see many struggling with the idea that someone could be ex-gay. I see other struggling with the concept that if someone is truly ex-gay then that implies that gays can choose to be ex-gay and should choose to be ex-gay. Some have asked to be removed from the list. Some think this idea of trying to bridge the divides by building understanding will never work. Others know there will be good to come from the effort, others are suspicious but hopeful, others suspicious and very doubtful.. Most come together knowing that religion gets in the way, yet realize religion can pave the way. We do seem to get hung up on who someone is, and who someone has become. Some think one can not be the way they are, others think another is not honest when they say they have had a transformational experience. In all of this, some search for common ground. 

Can we find common ground? Maybe the insights are at the the Book of Genesis. Maybe after you read this you will say." Make way!" Make way for the children of God. Make way for all of them....heterosexual, gay, ex-gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, etc., etc., etc., Can you see the image of God in a gay person? Can you see the image of God in an ex-gay person? Can you see the image of God in a transsexual? Can you see the image of God in all others? If we stop looking through the lenses of "judgment", maybe we can see differently. A few who know me will gain insight into why I feel so strongly about the large variety of groups who shun the children of God who are transgendered. Some who ask the world to recognize the dignity of gays, lesbians, etc. have no problems excluding the transgendered people. Amazing, sad , and true! 
But do not worry, the following passage is not my "Pitch" for transgendered is a "pitch" for all of us. Yes, all. I pray that you can catch. 


 Garet's passage (in blue) follows: 
"Tonight what I would like to do is to just try to translate that sense of magic and wonder at opportunities for change and renewal and transformation. I want to translate it into a religious language, and I want to do it so because, as I've heard so often , religion so often gets in the way. Religion is often an enemy and an obstruction. I want to translate that language of renewal and change and transformation into a religious language....." 

" I want to talk about the value of self creativity and refer, as I said, to the religious dimension of self transformation. Recently at a church in my home town, the worship service began with this Call to Worship, "Oh, God of creations and transformations, who constantly begets new beginnings, inspire me by your perpetual creativity."

On this plea, God is the God of new creations and new transformations. God can make all things new. God presides over the natural order in which even gender, the symbol of nature, is not finally fixed. Now the idea of God the creator is quite common throughout western religion. Corresponding to the idea of the creator God is an image of the human being as reflecting and participating in the work of creation. 

The image differs in many religions, but let me take as a starting point, the starting point of the Bible in the Book of Genesis. What I propose to do is take back creation stories from the creationists. In the first three days, says Genesis, "God created light and darkness, the firmaments, the waters, the dry land, and vegetation"; things that are all excellent in their own ways but things that can not change their place. They are all stuck where they are. 

On the fourth day God created the stars and the sun and the moon which move, but which can not change their courses. They are in a fixed orbit. On the fifth day, God created birds that fly, fish that swim in the waters, and then the creatures that creep upon the ground. All these flying, swarming, creeping things are excellent in their own way. Not only that, but they can change their courses unlike the planets that move in the fixed orbits.

Then on the sixth day humanity was created. Humankind is made in the image and likeness of God the Creator. God is the Creator. If human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, then human beings are also creators -- creators not just of artifacts, but of self. The heavenly bodies can change their courses but not their ways. Only human beings can change their ways. Thus human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, share in God's transformations, new beginnings, and perpetual creativity." 

"This creativity is a kind of worth. I think that is what the Book of Genesis is telling us. There is a rabbinic commentary on Deuteronomy which pictures a procession of angels standing in advance of the human person. The heralds proclaim that the head of the procession make room for the image of God. I think that's a wonderful image of what Genesis has to tell us. Make room for the image of God. Make room for the being who is made in the image of a creator. Make room for the agent of change. Make room for the one creature whose nature it is to change himself or herself." 

"This endowment of the capacity to change is central to our dignity as human beings, but the capacity has it's limits. I take my stand with the ancient tradition. It says that the capacity to change ourselves doesn't reach to the extreme of being able to divest ourselves as being made in the image and likeness of God. THERE IS NOT A THING WE CAN DO THAT CAN STRIP OURSELVES OF THAT STATUS, of that endowment. We are less than Milton's Satan but we are more than psychological victims trying to attain an adequate comfort level." 

"Why am I talking about creation stories to you this evening, other than just presenting a fable perhaps that illustrates self creation? Because there is a modest document well known to every person in this room that lies at the foundation of our constitutional rights, and which speaks in terms of creation stories. Of course that document is the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal but they are endowed by their creator with unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." Endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. Why? Because we are made in the image and likeness of God: and therefore, we share in the capacity for creation." 

" We are co-partners in creation. The Declaration of Independence stands with the Book of Genesis and says," Make room, fall back, make space for a changer, make space for the partner in creativity, and make space for the fruit of self creation." 

Copyright 1997 Courtney Sharp

Do not quote from this document, or excerpt passages, in print media.
Web pages may quote excerpts if there is an accompanying hypertext link to the original document on this site.