Heterosexual? Minister Joins Gay Activists...
- CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE...
The news release below is from a Tom Cole who once called himself gay. He
and his family appear in a television commercial supporting Exodus
International. Cole says the purpose of Exodus is to help gays and lesbians
"renounce homosexual relationships and gay identity."
Cole calls himself a "a self-identified former homosexual" married to a
"former lesbian." (http://www.justice-respect.org/letters/shared.html) I
guess he means he is heterosexual now; but perhaps he only means he is still
gay but no longer has sex with men. I don't find a clear statement about
his sexual identity-- only what he is not (he says he is ex-gay).
Cole calls for the end of violence, as he understands it, against gays and
lesbians and supports hate crimes legislation. On the web page named above,
he says, "The conservative Christian Church which is strident in its
condemnation of homosexual behavior seems to be in denial about targeted
attacks on gay and lesbian youth. We must reach out with a clarion call. We
must stand up and voice our opposition to violence and hateful words. We
must be clear that the lives of gay people are as worthy of respect, dignity
and honor as our own lives."
In that all of us truly seeking to follow the way of Christ are continually
on a journey toward perfection in love -- holiness of heart and life as John
Wesley called it-- I personally can support Cole's beginning steps at ending
the violence against gays and lesbians, violence he has suffered himself
when he was perceived as gay, particularly in his youth.
Cole has yet to understand that advocating that all gay and lesbian people
should become heterosexual or at least sexually abstinent or else be
labelled "sinners" is also an act of violence. If he finds happiness and
wholeness in the deepest Christian sense with his current choice to be
married to a "former lesbian" and she does too, then God bless them. God
bless all couples, no matter the gender mix, who are in loving, comitted
Cole's web site has a number of resources, including...
"Justice and Respect Letters
Apology issued by Bob Stith, Pastor, Carroll Baptist Church, on behalf of
the church to Steve Shalchlin as a representative of the homosexual
community, November, 1998."
My subject header above-- "Heterosexual? Minister Joins Gay Activists..." is
both tongue-and-cheek and serious... Cole's headline (below) begins "EXGAY
MINISTER"... Last I knew, sexual orientation/identity includes heterosexual,
homosexual (I prefer the terms gay, lesbian), bisexual (some use
ambisexual), and perhaps asexual. Even these categories are not rigid;
there is variety within them. Then there is also gender identity.
I know many people who once identified as heterosexual and now identify as
gay, lesbian or bisexual. They do not call themselves ex-heterosexual. I
also know folk who identified as gay, then as "ex-gay," and finally
realized they are truly lesbian or gay and they left the "ex-gay lifestyle"
for good. Are they ex-ex-gays? I don't think so. So why "ex-gay"? I
confess I do not know the origin of the word.
I would invite those who are determined to make gay and lesbian people
heterosexual or at least make them sexually abstinent be more correct in
their terminology about what it is that they seek to accomplish. The word Ex
(as in X-Out, Cross out) almost sounds violent itself, as in let's "x out"
those gays (get rid of them).
I believe that those who once identified as "homosexual" should quit
identifying themselves in terms of who they are not but rather to identify
themselves in term of who they are... Negative labels (ex-"whatever") have
limited usefulness. Ex-gay is not a sexual orientation/identity. Ex-gay is
In the following release, GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education
Network) is mentioned. Its web site is at: http://www.glsen.org/
----CORNET moderator opinion
Press release follows....
Justice and Respect
Tom Cole and Sonia Balcer
The Justice and Respect website is officially launched with the issuing of
an OpEd piece by Tom Cole!
EXGAY MINISTER JOINS GAY ACTIVISTS TO OPPOSE ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY NOV. 24, 1999
Tom Cole: 810-739-5114 <reconcil@...>
Sonia Balcer 818-248-0499 <sonia@...>
EXGAY MINISTER JOINS GAY ACTIVISTS TO OPPOSE ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE
The Reverend Tom Cole, director of Reconciliation Ministries of
Michigan, today released an oped piece and has repeated an offer he made in
March, 1998 to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that
he would help GLSEN lobby for the adoption of their anti-harassment
In his statement, Cole said, "The conservative Christian Church which
is strident in its condemnation of homosexual behavior seems to be in denial
about targeted attacks on gay and lesbian youth.
Cole's announcement coincides with the release of "Just the Facts", a
booklet, initiated by GLSEN, to inform educators about sexual orientation
and to help stop anti-gay harassment in the schools. Cole's support of the
enactment of anti-harrassment policies specific to youth who are gay or
perceived to be gay is the first overture by a ministry director toward a
collaborative effort to solve a mutually recognized problem.
Cole's opinion piece: "Gays and Exgays: Sharing the Pain of the Past
was distributed Tuesday as an oped through the Knight Ridder news service.
It is also available to all media outlets through a new conservative
Christian website which calls for a "just and respectful response to those
who experience same-sex attraction.
The website, Justice and Respect, was established by a group of
conservative Christians to promote a respectful response to people who
experience same-gender attraction. The organization believes that the harsh
words being exchanged in the public debate hurt both sides and work against
resolving the real dangers of violence and isolation faced by gays and
lesbians. It seeks to inspire an alternative response among conservative
Christians, enabling them to remain true to their religious convictions
while speaking out strongly on behalf of the safety and dignity of all
Agreeing with Cole, Sonia Balcer, webmaster for the new site said, "It
is essential that we find a way for people who disagree about the morality
of homosexual relationships to work together in protecting gay and lesbian
youth from the isolation and harassment they experience on a daily basis."
Tom Cole and his family appear in a television commercial in support of
Exodus International. His statement is at