Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Tuesday, April 10, 2007


    INTERVIEW WITH EX-GAY CHARLENE COTHRAN

    The day of Pride, I’m standing there and there is a sea of people as far as the eye can see, panoramic view. All brown, men with men, women with women and instead of feeling this overwhelming sense of pride, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. The scripture came to me that this is that wide road leading to destruction. Here you are on this road, you don’t belong here…I’ve never gone to a gay pride event since that day.

    Those are the words of Charlene Cothran describing the beginning of the end of being a lesbian at Chicago Black Gay Pride in 2001. Cothran is the creator of the twelve-year old Venus magazine (named in honor of the late Venus Landin who was killed by her ex-partner in 1993) and self-proclaimed ex-gay who claims that you too can be heterosexual through Jesus Christ.

    People tend to look at ex-gays as “proof” that homosexuality is sin; proof that any gay person across the globe can change their sexuality. However, if these ex-gays have always looked at themselves through a heterosexist lens then it's not really proving much. Cothran has said, “As a believer of the word of God, I fully accept and have always known that same-sex relationships are not what God intended for us.” The fact that Cothran has converted to what she always thought was the “right” way, doesn't make her any more of an authority than a straight person who believes homosexuality is wrong. While reading this interview it is important to note: Cothran doesn’t have any added credibility because she had a black gay magazine and is a former lesbian. The real question is—was she just a self-hating lesbian the whole time?

    This is Cothran's first interview with a black media outlet (second non-religious media outlet in general). Many people told me I should not interview her, her story is not valid, she is a liar, there is nothing new about an ex-gay, she is doing this for profit, etc. Granted some of this interview is filled with clichés and rhetoric, however, I believe everyone's story is valid. When people tell their stories, their words speak for itself, which is exactly what this interview does for me. You have to know the level of vehemence that people put out there in the world.

    Religion often preys on the weak-minded in fear and doubt. James Baldwin once said "I was never a totally free human being because I was raised in a Christian culture." Religion is profitable, if you have guilt for who you are there is always room for redemption. Slaves had guilt for who they were so the idea of revolting was sinful—that slice of truth has been chalked up to revisionist history. Conversion has become part of the base of the (proto) fascist religious right, which is driving "conversions" and the desire to draw others into the fold.

    Truth is not egocentric. Ideas aren’t valid because of your emotional or personal experience. Making homosexuality a sin according to Christian theology is a claim of an idea. When the Bible is used to support a point there's immediately a line drawn. What's on one side is instantly assumed what's right, and what’s on the other side is assumed wrong. You're asserting an argument, and if you're starting an argument then you have to back it up with a rationale beyond just reflecting on your own life.

    Here is my interview with Charlene Cothran:

    At one point, you identified as a lesbian. How did you come to identify as a lesbian—what did it mean for you?
    Charlene: I came to identify as a lesbian—the language of you know, identify as a lesbian, really didn’t begin to become comfortable to me until I had sort of lived as a lesbian, but I hadn’t embraced all this language that we use now—still, I was well into my mid twenties. I remember the day and the hour I decided that I no longer wanted to be with guys or men, in terms of sexually and that was around the age of 19. When I moved to Atlanta that’s when I first saw there was a whole gay society. I didn’t know there were gay bars, there were gay clubs, gay friends and all that—it was just before, what I know now to be the gay movement. We were just beginning to talk about forming a gay pride organization. Back then I just had begun to become active during that time, or at least I was in the community, going to clubs, beginning to meet people who were talking about starting something in Atlanta, which is now of course very grown.

    What was the reaction from your family when you told them you were no longer heterosexual?
    Charlene:
    It’s not just as cut and dry as I think you might be trying to indicate. It was a long term coming out process. From the time that I made an emotional decision, a mental decision—I’m not going to be with guys anymore, I didn’t go out and say, okay everyone, all my friends, I’m no longer heterosexual, I’m gay now. No, it took a long time for me to admit to myself that this really was who I am. In fact in my mind I remember thinking—okay, this is just what I’m deciding for now. Certainly, by the time I’m 30 years old, I guess, I’ll eventually somehow get married and have kids and do all things my mom expected me to do. You follow me? That was sort of in denial—I thought to myself that I would probably, somehow, end up back getting married, but right now I don’t want anything to do with guys, I just want to be with a girl. Years go by and you realize that…I remember when I turned 30 I was sobbing in a theatre at a gay woman's club in Atlanta, Georgia and I’m like, oh my God, I truly am a lesbian because I ain’t thinking about guys! Here I am 30 years old, nowhere near marriage or children, my mom is always asking me every time I come home when are you going to get married and at some point she started to ask me that less and less because she always knew. So, it was a longtime coming out process.

    You’ve said in previous interviews that you always felt it was wrong. So, when you look back in retrospective were you ever truly in love with a woman?
    Charlene: Oh, my God—of course! Several times! You know, I’m always amazed at people when they see me as "changed". It is a compliment to me when someone says, “You were never a lesbian in the first place”, because what they're really saying is—we can see you truly have changed. Since we don’t believe that's possible [Laughs]—you were never a lesbian in the first place! I will tell you that over a thirty year period there were at least four times when I was deeply in love. The last partnership that I had lasted ten years and people who know she and I together knew a dynamic couple, knew a couple who were connected at spirit, knew a couple who they really, truly thought was going to be together for twenty something years. We were that kind of couple. When we began to come a part people were devastated by it, but we respected one another so much and continued to be friends. Even after we broke up we still talked twice a day. People tried to say I never was a lesbian—believe me, I had the same kind of emotional connection that I know you identify with that defines what a gay and lesbian relationship is…it's not all about sex. I say that in every interview—it's not all about sex. Heterosexuals have this view that it's all about sex, no, it's not. Even when I got saved my pastor tried to tell me there is no love in that I said pastor, “You're wrong about that. I loved that woman.” Jesus saved me and changed me, but I loved her, don’t tell me that. I said, “This is why God called me because you don’t understand the experience.” I’ve lived it. I was in love.

    How long ago did that relationship end?
    Charlene: I would say nearly three years ago.

    You said in interviews that this all started when you were at Chicago Black Pride in 2001. After that, on your six year journey, at what point did you realize you were fully converted and no longer a lesbian?
    Charlene: In June…the day I told God to take it from me. The day I asked God, I said, you know what, I need and want to be in right standing with you again. I know this is not what you intended for us, not just for me, but for any of us. I know that I wasn’t born this way and I know that's not what you intended for us. I said, I can’t change myself, only you can do it and I’m asking you to do it. Now I’m going to get off my knees and walk as those it is done. That’s called faith.

    I think what many are saying, gay and straight, about your experience is that you are not saying, "I was a practicing lesbian, and now I love men because of Christ." You've said you are celibate. So, what about you now really makes you heterosexual?
    Charlene: Nothing. You’ve spoken a piece of truth. Right now I am completely satisfied with my walk, which is me and God. My prayer wasn’t—Lord make me heterosexual. My prayer was not fix me, repair me and make me straight—that was not my prayer. My prayer was God make me whole in every sense of the word, make me whole mentally, make me whole spiritually, make me whole completely! Take this mean tongue out of me, you know; I had this mean spirit where I could just take a person down on a few short comments. That was just as dynamic a change as the gay thing…make me whole financially, you send me plenty of provisions, but why is it that I don’t prioritize things the way I should at this stage in my life? Make me whole in every area. I asked God for complete wholeness. He doesn’t come to save a piece of you.

    Are you saying that you are not heterosexual?
    Charlene: I am saying that I am celibate right now. I’m not saying there won’t ever be a man in my life. You’re asking me about where I am and that's all I can speak to. Today I am celibate. Again, I don’t say I will never have a man in my life, I’m not saying I will never be married to a man. Who knows what the Lord has in store for me. But…there is one thing I can say and one thing I will go on record and sayI will never be entangled with the bondage of lesbianism again. You can put me on record for that and I know that people are going to be turning over every stone, looking and magnifying and trying to find some dirt. I invite you to continue to look and see if you can find something on me. I will never be entangled with lesbianism again! Right now I’m celibate, now, where the Lord's going to move me, what opportunity he's going to place in my path for me from here on—I don't know.

    Are you physically attracted to men?
    Charlene: [pauses] I am physically attracted to the spirit of Christ right now. You're trying to take me down a road that I won't go down right now.

    No, I’m just trying to ask the questions that I know people have been asking.
    Charlene:
    Right now I’m in a place where I won’t even allow myself to think about attraction to men. Have I ever been attracted to a man? Yes. You follow me? Have I ever seen a man who is wonderful, great looking—yes. Right now I am working on building up my spirit man. That is all I am concerned about right now. I am not dating; I am not thinking about dating, I’m not praying for a husband. I don’t know where you're going with this—lots of people in my church ask me the same thing. Oh, you would turn heads if you would just—I'm not trying to turn heads, I’m just going to build up my spirit man and I’m going to allow the Lord to do the rest.

    Are you still attracted to women or is that attraction completely gone?
    Charlene: I would say after 29 years of walking in the sin of lesbianism that if the devil were going to try and tempt me that he's probably not going to send a football player, if you will, because that didn’t do it for me. You follow me? I’ve got sense enough to know if he tries to tempt me he's probably going to send something that resembled the thing that I was entangled with. You follow me? So, I’m very aware of that but that’s why I’m doing the spiritual work that I’m trying to do. That’s why I’m entrenched in spiritual work that I’m entrenched in because I know that with the ministry that God has given me, it requires a power if you will that exceeds what the ordinary Christian allows themselves to go through. I’ve got a hedge of spiritual protection around me so even for some reason I wasn’t praying like I should or whatever and it came up on me I know he's not going to send a man to test me because that didn’t do it for me for thirty years! He's going to try and send some woman. I will not be moved.

    When is the last time you were intimate with a woman?
    Charlene: Wow! You are really getting personal! [Laughs] Ummm, gosh, like I said, probably about three years ago.

    Oh, three years ago, so when you fully converted in June—
    Charlene: I was completely connected to my partner. I hope you don’t find this surprising, I was in love. We were basically, as most heterosexual couples considered themselves, committed. We were committed on that level so therefore sleeping outside of that commitment felt like you were cheating. You follow me? Who wants to feel like that when you know you might be hurting that person when you have hope for reconciliation, which at that time, three years ago, I did. I think secretly she did, but yet there were things we still couldn’t work out. So, neither one of us were willing to sleep outside of that ten year thing that we had. It must be a surprise that there wasn’t sleeping around like most gay men and a lot of young women dooh honey, she just wasn’t all that hot. Listen—I had something for ten years that I was trying to protect! In the meantime the Lord stepped in.

    I guess my question was after you broke up—were you dating, going out?
    Charlene: That's what I’m trying to tell you—you didn't hear a thing I said. Even after we broke up there was a hope for reconciliation. There was not wanting to spoil that ten year sexual commitment we had to one another—you follow me? We didn’t want to spoil in that in case we were going to get back together. We could still say I never slept with nobody but you. We didn’t want to interrupt that but during that time, spiritually, God was still working on me. It's been three years since I slept with a woman—she is the last woman I slept with.

    You said in one interview that in regards to homosexuality your mother “knew the devil had his hold.” Do you think homosexuality is the devil?
    Charlene: Yes I do, absolutely. I believe that homosexuality is a spirit. Anything that draws you away from what God intended...it is a spirit. The whole sexual explosion, this whole sexual deviance that we experience in the world is a spiritual warfare. In other words, this is not something that I believe we as people choose for ourselves as something that would edify us. I don’t believe that so many people believe they are actually born gay. In fact, for people who believe they are born gay—I have a couple questions for you...who told you? In order for you to believe something you had to have learned it. Who told you that you were born gay? That didn’t come from your parents. Was it another gay person? Probably. Was it a piece of TV? Probably. Or, did you just, "I discovered" I was born gay. Well, how did you discover it? Again, another gay person told you that or a piece of gay media told you that —it's a lie. You are not born gay.

    What do you think of those who are not religious or who believers of other faiths—if Jesus cannot be their answer to homosexuality, then what?
    Charlene: Well, again, we come back to a fundamental belief. I believe that Jesus is the answer for all people whether they've discovered it or not. I believe that at some point every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord. Whether you are Buddha, whether you are Muslim—whatever it is, I believe that all flesh will bow to Jesus Christ.

    Do you believe anybody that does not embrace Christ or doesn’t have any plans to embrace Christ—like Buddhists, Hindus, or Jews who don’t believe Christ is the Messiah, regardless of their culture background, are abominations?
    Charlene: I believe that they’re missing out on the wonderful grace and salvation that comes along with believing in Jesus Christ. I believe if they just give themselves an opportunity to hear the word that many will actually believe. I know many Muslims, who were firm out what they believe, but got sick and was given six months and who called in a priest! You follow me? They’ve got all this Jesus Christ is not the way stuff, but faced death's door and suddenly they pushed that Muslim stuff to the side and said—what must I do to be saved! I believe we need to pull back the layers from what people say they believe and always be willing to put Jesus Christ front because I can’t save anyone—all I can do is present what I know to be the truth and allow God. I am not calling people abominations; I’m saying they have not yet believed, that's all. They are loved by God just where they are, but they will be left without excuse. They won’t be able to go into eternity saying I didn’t know—oh God, had I only known! Oh gosh, had I only heard! They will be left without excuse because I am one of many being sent into the world to release the truth about Jesus Christ. Also, if they never heard that gospel—just seeing a tree grow, you know that there's a higher power than you and somehow that ought to make you seek out what that higher power is. In doing so—again, I just think that haven’t believe yet.

    What about people who are happy with their homosexuality and don't see an inconsistency with that and their faith?
    Charlene: Yes, those folks, I believe—I was one of them so I identify with you. If you're feeling so, oh, I’m a Christian and I’m gay at the same time and I’m absolutely happy where I am, I believe I’m going to heaven, God made me just like I am—you know, I was once like you. So, listen very carefully: God loves you just the way you are, but what He's waiting for is for you to love Him just the way He is. The way He is requires that we sacrifice ourselves and become more like Him. By the time we get to the end of our life we ought to be less like ourselves, less like all the stuff we claim to, all the stuff we want to do, all the stuff we don’t want to give up and we ought to be certainly more like Christ and Christian, which requires sacrifice. You can’t do what you want to do, all the sexual stuff you want to do, all the parks, all the clubs, you know, whatever it is! I feel like I’m just picking on homosexuality but there's a whole lot of stuff out there that's not homosexual that's just on the similar—that's another point I need to make. I think that gays will begin to drop their defenses when they really understand that the church believes that lying, cheating on spouse, just being an utterly uncouth person is being on the same level of sin as homosexuality. It's all the same level, but society wants to paint homosexuality as the most deviant, most terrible abomination—it’s not. God loves everybody.

    Suicide rates are high for gay teens. What do you think this idea of conversion has on young gay people?
    Charlene: The idea that homosexuality is sin?

    The idea that if you're 15 and your mother or father says we can make you not gay anymore. There are going to be young people that are going to hear your story and say—I wonder if I can do it.
    Charlene: I would say, number one, they cannot do it. Number two, parents should not say to them, oh, we can send you off to reparative therapy camp and change you from gay to straight. I have the opposing view to that. I’m being invited to conferences to present the opposing view. We have the same goal, for a kid not to go into homosexuality or not to stay in homosexuality, but I believe it's a spiritual warfare not a—let's go put you into therapy for several years and you're coming to come out straight. That has already been proven not to work. It's a spiritual warfare! It's a spirit and can only be corrected by the spirit of God, by the person who created you in the way he intended you to be. You can’t change yourself, your parents can’t change you, reparative therapy cannot change you—only a divine commitment, a sure enough commitment to Jesus Christ is the only thing that can change you. You should certainly want your entire life to be under the Christ umbrella. You should want everything that is not like him to be changing you in your life. Homosexuality is not like Him.

    Okay, let me rephrase the question. What do you think about a 15 year old whose parents say we're going to take you to church and change you? Not therapy but actual church.
    Charlene:
    You're still not hearing me. Going to church is very different than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Just going to church—oh, we're going to start going to church! There are billions in church, so-called Christians who have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They are there as a social club, you know, whatever it is because you want to say you belong somewhere. You're there for traditions, you they're because of religious purposes—religion is for people who are trying to find God. I'm talking about people who have found it!

    Do you think through Christ that gay teens can make themselves straight?
    Charlene: [pauses] I think anyone can give themselves to Jesus Christ and begin a journey to live exactly the way the Lord intended for us to live. And, yes, if that means being heterosexual—yes, that does mean being heterosexual then certainly, yes, it can happen. I’m not saying through church, I mean, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes.

    What do you say to people that say your internalized homophobia won?
    Charlene: [Laughs] I can't answer every question that comes up in a mind of person who is struggling with how to stay in your sin and be comfortable—that would be my response. They are trying to figure out what response to come up with that will keep them comfortable where they are. I know that many people are uncomfortable that's why the gay community is so angry and so loud and so vocal because the truth tends to make you uncomfortable where you are. I understand that completely.

    There have been several reports that you are getting financial support from black churches funded by white right-wing Christian organizations—
    Charlene: Thanks to the Reverend Irene Monroe, and I would have to say she started out—it's really sad—she used to write for us. A woman, who is as well-educated, accomplished, published as she is certainly you would think can provide proof for what she is putting in her journalism. So, I’m going to ask her to provide that. She started out suggesting it early on when the story first broke. I didn’t send out any news releases, rebutting any of that so then she just got bolder and bolder with this lie. Now, in the last couple things I’ve seen that she's written, she's stating it as if she were reading some copy of a bill or something. I’m asking the Reverend Monroe and anyone else who is stating this in print, particularly Reverend Monroe, to provide proof of any sort that this is the case, which she cannot because it is a lie.

    Now that you are no longer gay and Venus magazine was built on the support of the black LGBT community and in honor of your ex-partner, Venus Landin, who was killed in 1993—
    Charlene:
    Venus and I have never been partners, just good friends.

    Okay, but the magazine was built in her honor. Some people are saying why even continue the magazine? Why not stop the magazine all together, change the name—some have called it a slap in the face to keep Venus' name on the cover.
    Charlene: A lot of people who are saying that, number one, they didn’t even know Venus. I knew Venus quite well. She lived in my home for two years before she got hooked up with this partner, she moved out into that person's home. She saw that wasn't going to work out and moved back into my house. I helped her move back into my house. The night we picked up her was the night I know that woman planned to do her in. But, here's the thing, and again, I can only speak spiritually and that is Venus was shot the three times, one bullet hit her in the back and she begin to turn…one caught her on the side and then one caught her nearly in the front. So, she became in those last seconds of her life aware of the eminent danger that she was in. You follow me? She became aware that was probably the end. In her spirit I completely believe it is possible for anyone in their last spirit to cry out to God before your mouth even has time to move, your spirit—God is there. It's in your spirit, it's in her spirit, she had time in her mind to say Lord help me, save me. Venus, I believe was made whole instantly and is in heaven right now. I believe that. I believe that is completely possible. If that is the case then Venus is rejoicing that this publication is still named in her honor! However, if that is not the case there is a passage in scripture that describes a brother who went to another place where he did not want his brothers and sisters to come and said, “Oh my God give me a cool drink of water.” Let me go back and tell, warn my brothers and stuff, not to come here, but the Lord said, “Oh no, there's prophets and preachers and there's word left. If they won’t hear them, they certainly are not going to hear a ghost that comes back.” If that is the case then it is still appropriately named in her honor.

    Do you think if Venus didn't have that outcry that you talked about...do you think that the late Venus Landin is in hell?
    Charlene:
    I think that it is a strong possibility. I have no heaven or hell to put anyone in. One thing for sure, you need to be certain that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You need to be certain that you understand that homosexuality is not pleasing to Him before you leave here.

    You talked about in previous interviews going to funerals for people in the gay community. All those funerals that you went to in the past, those people who were part of the struggle that you were in for black LGBT people—you believe that they're in hell right now?
    Charlene: No, I do not. You know, here's the thing that I believe. I believe that with this particular question you are attempting to cast me in the role of God, I’m not God. You follow me? I have no way of knowing if any of those people—they're a lot of people that a preacher will stand up over them, oh, my God, this person was so wonderful their entire life—laid them out and painted a picture when in fact—we don't know! Only God! Only God knows. I’m thinking of one brother in particular—who was a very, very proud gay man, owned a house a couple doors down from me, and came down with HIV shortly after it had a name. His mom came to town and he grew up in certainly a very religious home and she took him back home with her when he got to the point where he just couldn’t make decisions on his own. He couldn’t fight her anymore. She moved him back to Virginia and we all wanted to go and continue to visit him in the hospital and she wouldn’t allow it. Back then I thought that was the most awful thing. I’m like, she is isolating him from us, his friends, we're the ones who would visit with him and comfort him. We're the people he knows—you're isolating him. She said to me on the phone once, I begged her, can I please come—we want to come. She said, “Charlene, I want my son to have time alone with God.” Back then, I’m telling you I thought—and this was the late ‘80’s—I thought it was the most awful thing. I said, “How could this woman call herself a Christian.” I’m telling you, when I hear that now in my mind and I remember it all the time—that mother did what she felt she had to do. I understand her so much more now, she wanted her son to just be alone with God his last two weeks on earth. Hoping that he would reconcile himself with just God—hoping that all the scripture that was taught to him as a child, he would come back and say, “Lord, I ain't got nobody else but me and you.” You want that for your child, the people you love. I want it for the people that I love, people that I love are the people I’ve marched with, served with.

    Part of the reason why I’m asking you that question and part of the reason why people want to know that question is because I’m trying to understand how deep this goes for you. Is it selective? If you believe that being gay is a sin does that go for Venus, does that go for your friend you just talked about?
    Charlene: It is a sin for everyone. I cannot say if Venus went to hell because I’m not God! Again, Venus' spirit could’ve called out to God in that instant. My brother, again, we weren't there in his last moments—it only takes a moment!

    I understand, but I think that some people feel like you're saying you're not God and you are saying you can't judge, but to some you are trying to sound like God, you are judging.
    Charlene:
    I’m not judging—God speaks that in his word, homosexuality is sin. There is no comprise on that.

    Okay, let me ask you a Biblical question. You’ve said that you were delivered from homosexuality through the teachings of Jesus Christ. Now there's only four books that quote Jesus Christ—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. So, how did the teachings of Christ save you from homosexuality if Christ himself never mentioned it? In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—Christ never mentioned homosexuality.
    Charlene: Here's the thing...when I asked God to come into my life, I never mentioned it either. Okay! [Laughs] When I said, Lord save me! I didn't say, save me from being a lesbian—I just said Lord save me! I didn’t mention it either. I knew in my spirit He would take it because it is not like Him. There's a lot of things that Christ did not speak of when he was here. He never—well, of course He wouldn’t have because crack cocaine wasn’t the thing of that day—He never talked about crack cocaine is a sin. There's a lot he didn’t speak of! That we still know are sin. I think that is a very narrow and very weak view, really, to say -- oh, Christ didn’t think about this, therefore, I can do it. It's a very un-Christ like view and comes from a person who does not have a personal relationship with Christ. That kind of view could only come from someone who does not believe in God.

    Is it possible you have your journey and homosexuality is obviously not right for you, but the world is so diverse and the world is so different—There are places in the world where they don’t really label sexuality…do you think it's possible being a lesbian wasn’t right for you, but it's completely possible for other people? It's their journey. No one should be criminalizing your journey, but one could also say you shouldn't be downing someone else's is journey. It wasn't right for you; do you think it's possible that it is right for them?
    Charlene: No, I will not agree with the statement that homosexuality is what is right for them. I will say homosexuality has become many people's journey, but I will say that what is right at the end of that journey is did they see it as wrong and did they see themselves reconciling with Christ. It's not right for anyone! Whether they believe that or not, it doesn’t change it from being the truth. It's not what God intended.

    Are you lonely?
    Charlene: Not at all! [Laughs] I was lonely when I was a lesbian.

    People have said you've lost all your friends, you even said your ex-girlfriend is really ill; she's gotten very sick over this. You were with this community for so long you developed this circle. I know that you have Christ but on a social level, on a sit down and having a bad day and calling one of your best friends, I know you can talk to Christ also, but are you lonely without having that?
    Charlene: I think I gave you an answer. I’m not lonely...I’ve had several bad days, which I’ve written about. The day that I sought out my advertisers, I felt responsible to let them know about the change and to see what it was going to mean for the bottom line of Venus. One particular executive said, I think it will be fine Charlene—in fact that turned out not be the case as things began to unfold. So that Monday morning when I got faxes canceling all of my corporate advertisers, which I spent twelve years building, that was a sad day in that I felt that my enemies appear to have won. They feel they have won. I said God if this is the truth I now must live in; I’m willing to sacrifice all that. I’m 50 years old, I’m not 25, and I know how to do a lot of things. I sold real estate for several years and was very good at it before I started publishing—fine. I’ll dust off my real estate license and go back to selling houses. If that’s what you want, as long as I don’t lose my connection to you, Lord. And, do you know He honored that? For three days nothing happened? The negative emails from the gay community...nothing happened, then on the third day…I’m telling you, it's on the web site...on the third day, just like resurrection…I came in here and sat down and thought to myself, you better get busy selling houses because the print version of Venus appears to be over. Out of nowhere I had hundreds of email saying this has changed my life, “Oh my God, can you help me?” Gays from all over the world! France, Australia—everywhere! We're writing to say you said the same thing I’ve always been thinking, but nobody every said it out loud. The Lord showed me this is the ministry I’m giving you and this is the tip of the iceberg and don’t you worry how I’m going to finance it. I’m still not worried about how he's going to finance it, right now He's just showing me people who need and want deliverance but there’s nobody, gay theology certainly is not going to help them and their mom and day old religion—fix yourself then you can come to church. That's not going to help.

    What do you say to people who think you are crazy?
    Charlene:
    I say they thought Jesus Christ was crazy. Again, they must not be Christians. Anyone who has a true relationship with Jesus Christ—they thought all of us were crazy! [Laughs] That's a perquisite for being a true Christian! Particularly being a true prophet of God. People are going to think you're crazy—not may, possibly, going to think you're crazy—they're going to think your crazy!

    ******
    That was the last comment I was left with from Charlene and I would argue that in our society gays are considered the psychos and crazies any day over Christians—the most popular religion on the planet.

    Venus magazine can be reached at http://www.venusmagazine.org/.

    "Whenever I found religion in my life, I found strife, the attempt of one individual group to rule another in the name of God. The naked will to power seemed to always walk in the wake of a hymn. The business of saving souls had no ethics; every human relationship was shamelessly exploited." -- Richard Wright, 1944

    Check this out
    Ex-Gay Aftermath

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 33 comments

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