When she turned the Atlanta-area black gay and lesbian magazine Venus into an ex-gay publication, Charlene Cothran offended loyal subscribers and advertisers with antigay and antiwhite rhetoric that was written with the help of spiritual mentor, Venus blog editor, and ex-gay activist D.L. Foster.
Late last month, Venus got a boost — from an ex-gay contributor to Christianity Today and from an antigay activist in Illinois.
Antigay activist Peter LaBarbera, whose ties to the Constitution Party have raised alarm at Ex-Gay Watch in the past, printed a promotion for Venus magazine to his national religious-right readership.
LaBarbera’s promotion is uncharacteristically free of antigay rhetoric — apart from an insinuation that one cannot be “reborn in Christ” unless one pretends not to be same-sex-attracted.
Meanwhile, at Christianity Today, ex-gay activist Amy Tracy wrote up an interview with Cothran that avoids direct discussion of Cothran’s orientation.
[Question:] How do you view your sexuality now?
[Answer:] I view myself as celibate.
The interview focuses instead on Cothran’s perception of herself as a victim of rejection by those friends whom she now preaches against.
(Tracy, the interview’s author, is a former spokeswoman, senior writer and co-worker of John Paulk at Focus on the Family. Following orders from above, and despite Tracy’s public statements against Phelps, Tracy allegedly sent an internal Focus e-mail in late 1999 that defended Fred Phelps and warned Focus employees not to protest against Phelps. In subsequent disciplinary action against a staff participant in the protest, Focus allegedly described Phelps as a “guest” of Focus on the Family. Christianity Today published an article promoting Tracy’s ex-gay conversion in January 2000.)