Randy Thomas Defines, Yet Again, How He Has “Changed”
Randy Thomas has clarified his personal “change” yet again.
Because “ex-gay” organizations like Exodus International (of which Randy is the Vice President) have been closely publicly scrutinized in the last few years, their public facade has changed considerably. For one thing, they no longer loudly tout the idea of changing from homosexual to heterosexual. Since it has been revealed both by their own studies and by ex-gay program survivors that people can’t just flip a sexual switch through years (sometimes decades) of prayer and therapy, the complexities of sexuality have been grudgingly acknowledged to justify the notion of “change” in program leaders. The stubborn persistence of same-sex attraction in Exodus’ leaders and participants has even been acknowledged, largely shifting the focus from altering innate attractions to making it about the “journey of obedience to G-d.” The innateness of attraction has even been somewhat acknowledged, blaming its existence on the “fall of man” – saying we’re all sinners fighting temptation; be it adultery, slandering others, lying, or becoming romantically involved with members of the same sex.
In response to a question about how he has “changed,” Randy begins with this reply:
For me it has led to a celibate life (so far) but many do move on toward healthy heterosexuality and marriage. I also don’t see it as “conversion” but more of a journey.
When asked about praying the gay away, Randy responds with this:
My prayer has rarely, if ever, been for God to change me into a heterosexual (even though my sexual attractions have changed incrementally over time … even with temptations.) My prayer has always been for Him to help me be content to live an obedient and joyful life regardless of what circumstances and feelings arise.
So far, everything that Randy says is reasonable for a person who has religious objections to acting upon same-sex attractions. Nothing quoted would be a direct objection to the “Side B” way of life. But then things take a bit of a turn:
That’s why the whole false social construct of gay vs. straight fails everyone with same sex attractions. It keeps some locked in simplistic easy out answers and others without definition. That’s why I reject the labels gay, ex-gay or straight and have pursued a post-gay journey for over sixteen years now.
Randy once DID embrace the “straight” label (this quote is in response to Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen):
…I am not straight today because I listened to some silly tape (as Wayne Besen suggests…)
Randy is correct, “gay vs. straight” is a social construct – but it is also not one that the greater LGBTQ community adheres to. For one thing, it ignores the existence of “B” – bisexual persons. It also ignores the concept of “Q” or “queer,” commonly used by people who feel that L, G, and B labels are too constricting. The LGBTQ community isn’t a group of “gays,” it is made up of a variety of people who are sexual minorities; including people who don’t conform to any dichotomy, whether it’s related to sexuality or gender definition.
Equally telling is this next quote, in which Randy rejects the term “lifestyle” but defends the validity of his own definition:
I think when most people say “lifestyle” they are picking up on an underlying gay ideology that tries to force people with same sex attraction into the false dissonance of having to choose between “coming out” as gay or remain “closeted.” The way this manifests is different for each person but the ideology imposed is the same. I don’t like the word lifestyle either because it is meaningless nowadays. But I firmly believe there is a basic gay ideology that forces people to believe they either publicly identify as gay or they are ignorant, selfish and self-loathing.
Saying there is no gay “lifestyle” (there isn’t) but then turning around and declaring that all gays adhere to a certain “ideology” negates the previous statement. And nobody in the LGBTQ community is demanding that people either “identify as gay” or be considered our enemy. Rather, we ask for sexual honesty. And once again, Randy’s assertion totally ignores the community’s inclusion of persons who consider themselves sexually flexible and/or refuse to adhere to a label.
Randy’s final statement could, ironically, be applied to any “Side B” person:
…I don’t have to “change” my sexual attractions in order to be reconciled and obedient (not act on those attractions) to God. I also don’t need to force myself into a self-imposed restriction of what God may bring into my life.
If only people like Randy could embody this statement by taking an apolitical, “live and let live” attitude instead of trying to force others to adhere to his “false dissonance” of forcing people to either be “with” the Exodus ideology or “against” it.
It’s obvious that you don’t agree then with Randy when he says, “there is a basic gay ideology that forces people to believe they either publicly identify as gay or they are ignorant, selfish and self-loathing“. You might very well be right, but I wonder if you’d like to outline what you think the options are then for somebody who has same-sex attraction but chooses not to publicly identify as “gay”. IF they are not “ignorant, selfish or self-loathing”, what are they?
You know, this site has kinda turned into a “bash Randy Thomas” blog recently, and it’s getting really old. I appreciate that you don’t agree with his organization or anything he stands for, but the contant sniping just makes you guys look petty. The rest of your coverage is terrific, but when I check up on XGW, I am now beginning to cringe.
Remember when the Exodus folks used to come and debate in the comments thread? It was so cool hearing that exchange of ideas, people being challenged on their beliefs, assumptions, actions. XGW is weaker now that it only consists of those who agree with it (like me, incidentally). I posted a comment on Randy’s blog about how I won’t listen to Ann Coulter because she just wants to spew venom rather than debate honestly. Let’s be an example here of how to challenge dogma with integrity rather than constant snipe.
I have to agree with Rose.
Emily, your constant nitpicking of every little thing Randy Thomas says is getting very tiresome.
Oh man, now I feel like it’s a “jump on Emily” thread! Seriously, Emily, you’re a terrific writer and a very insightful mind. I love reading your posts and comments. You’re a huge addition to XGW. Now give us the MEAT!
Actually Rose and Alex, I think this is significant.
Randy has been a bit more militant than most in lately claiming his heterosexuality (especially after his radio, newspaper and internet announcements about dating his female fellow ex-gay activist a year or so ago). It was his Tom Cruise moment, minus Oprah.
I doubt anyone has ever bought this whole heterosexual postering that he has done, including those sitting in the church pews at like minded churches politely listening to his constantly changing testimony.
However, even if his current statements may be trending toward more honest and believable positions, I am sure that he will keep to his previous modus operandi by denying that anything has changed and denying that he every claimed to be heterosexual.
If we could just focus on what the vice president of the largest ex-gay organization is parroting, rather than the person Randy Thomas, then you will see the MEAT.
Congratulations, Randy, you’ve labeled yourself non-labelable.
Erm… ok… now that sounds like a “bash Randy Thomas” statement…. O_o
See, I don’t believe it’s a matter of “bash” or “not bash,” because my statements refuse to be defined by the verbs they imply…
Rose, at least this website is specific about what ex gays and their organization is about.
I don’t know how long you’ve been visiting here, but the opposition or dissenting points of view…don’t want to hang out here.
And other sites, like Americans For Truth, the FRC and so on….don’t allow for ANY public discourse whatsoever as they have EXTENSIVE and pervasive scrutiny of gay lives.
I have been writing posts over at TownHall, which also has much scrutiny on gay lives and those articles generate more religious opinions, Scripture quoting and disregard for respect than any other threads at that site.
Any gay related article, and you can count on one at least once or twice a week, generates more opinions than any other at that website.
It’s almost as if they have to write one to get anyone’s attention over there. Not only that, but they make extreme stretches from the most anecdotal of articles that made the general news.
And there are literally a VERY few of us that have stuck around that are gay, or who are supportive of gay people.
Because the other regulars who post on gay related opinion threads are VERY abusive to the point of cyber bullying and TH doesn’t regulate it whatsoever.
I stick around there because it IS pretty good mental mental exercise and at least I can learn how to respond to the most extreme of illogical assertions.
I’ve started to email some of the article writers directly and started a correspondence with one, Burt Prelutsky.
XGW gives people ample room to give their opinions and they have been far more open about allowing dissent here than any other place.
The ex gay movement has a great deal of support, they engage in political advancement of anti gay policies and are not in the least bit shy about asserting ‘the truth’ as they see it, but are reluctant or unable to publish or come up with evidence for their claims.
Claims, reassertion of those claims are stock in trade and people like Randy Thomas should be called on it.
TH’s contributors are media mau maus like Dennis Prager and Charles Krauthammer who have a lot of cred for their audiences….who vote.
And Exodus has placed themselves firmly in the position to be a part of how these writers reassert that gay people don’t deserve any consideration for legal protection because they can change.
But as several have pointed out, there is a specific personality TIC that is evident any many who promote being post gay or whatever: they are VERY dishonest about their poor choices and that is what the public at large considers gay life to be, a poor CHOICE.
And then leaves those already fighting that assumption twisting in the wind.
His side has strong allies, and he knows it, he doesn’t really have to prove anything because frankly THAT side doesn’t demand it from him, nearly as much as they demand that gay people have something to prove.
He utilizes that to full effect….and often really doesn’t have to defend himself very much among those of us in XGW, he just avoids us altogether.
It’s not that he’s not welcome, he just can’t handle the heat.
And that’s another fair evaluation of how ex gays are with their lives in general.
But it’s also true of conservative blogs, they don’t really allow anyone who disagrees.
And is this REALLY about disagreement?
They CALL it that. They call it opinion, they call it everything that denotes something innocuous and without much impact beyond their utterance.
But OUR opinions of them, haven’t resulted in a redefinition of Constitutional rights. OUR opinions haven’t resulted in physical threats on the street and defamation in every supportive social construct.
OUR opinions have resulted in children being taken away or loss of property rights or the careers of thousands.
Sure, it seems like gossip because the parties being discussed aren’t here.
But we know they affect gay lives profoundly, and they know it too.
And in what ways, should definitely be discussed.
What’s annoying is they’ll deny that impact HERE, but advertise how expansively and effectively they do impact gay lives out THERE among their supporters.
I meant to say OUR opinions HAVEN’T resulted in children being taken away or thousands of careers lost.
“OUR opinions haven’t resulted in physical threats on the street”
To be fair, a lot of gay activists did exactly that after Prop 8 passed. Anti-gay advocates aren’t the only ones who have shown severe intolerance.
Is it just me, or is “journey” just a conversion with a book deal and a soundtrack?
If Randy wishes to reject labels, then he’s perfectly entitled to do so. On the same principle, people who wish to apply labels to themselves are equally entitled to do so.
Labels may be relevant in one context but completely irrelevant in another. For example, if I were good enough to apply to join an opera company I would describe myself as a baritone. If I were applying for a job in a bank, on the other hand, that description, however correct, would be of no importance whatever, so I wouldn’t bother to mention it.
Contrary to what is sometimes asserted, however, applying a label to yourself does not mean that you are defining yourself by that label. The people who regard a sexual orientation label as defining a person are usually obsessive homophobics. As David Blamires wrote some years ago, to say that Hitler was heterosexual means absolutely nothing, but just hint that he might have been homosexual and some people will think that they have discovered the cause of the Second World War.
If, on the other hand, people apply labels to themselves which they know to be false, or if they reject labels in an attempt to reject reality, then I think that it’s pathetic.
aaaand, now we see why this guy “tires” of Randy being scrutinized and held accountable.
Alex, in order to make a statement accusing one of “severe intolerance” you need to cite examples.
And spare me that tired “grabbing a lady’s cardboard cross and stomping on it” reference. It really pales in comparison to the deaths of Lawrence King, Durval Martins, and Romel Sucuzhanya, all killed due to anti-gay violence.
Oh, and did I mention that Romel was actually a straight man who was killed because he had his arm linked with his brother’s?
nnnnnnot really, Emily.
I’m sorry, but what does being tired of reading about Randy Thomas have to do with acknowledging that some gay activists are intolerant and violent? I’m not sure I follow your logic there.
“THOSE” people are the ones who gave US the word “lifestyle” … i do not believe that to be an invention of the “gays”. Being gay is not a choice, being gay is not a LIFEstyle…nudists have a lifestyle, smokers have a lifestyle, i have an orientation knitted in to me in my mother’s womb by God.
Emily has a point, Alex. Violence is violence, it is all bad, but your statement needs some valid evidence. This is not because we can’t fathom that anyone has ever threatened violence towards an anti-gay proponent, but that your statement, “a lot of gay activists did exactly that ” implies something far less vague and more targeted, and event or phenomena of some equivalence to that which Regan described. Anti-gay violence, even unto death, is historic and common — even FBI stats illustrate this.
To put it in your own words, to be perfectly fair, please provide evidence of the violent threats you mean.
I think it is entirely appropriate to dissect the words of the highly visible and influential VP of an ex-gay political movement for at least two reasons:
1) Just as analyzing who was present (and not) on the May Day review stand in the USSR was important to deciphering shifts in Soviet leadership and policy, the words the ex-gay leadership uses is extremely meaningful and portentous!
2) These leaders of Ex-gay programs have often spoken one way privately, and then turned around and said nearly the opposite thing publicly or in testimony designed to take away our human rights. It certainly is important to preserve an auditable record of their remarks and intentions.
Rose, this sounds like something I said in a comment here in about 2005. I would be lying if I didn’t accept that I was a bit naive at the time (no implication that you are now). This attitude led me to try very hard to establish some sort of back-channel understanding with Alan (and Randy) after I started writing, and more so editing, for XGW. I put an enormous effort into that attempt, and felt successful to some degree with Alan. But Randy was and I believe still is of the opinion that any attention they pay to XGW is bad because it gives us some sort of perceived authority or validation.
With the exception of a couple of days of brief, minor comments, Randy has never interacted with XGW. He refuses to allow the name or address of the blog to even appear on his, even when his post is about us. Alan did participate at times, and sometimes it was productive. But since he only dropped by when it appeared he needed to explain something, his visits took on the appearance of “damage control.” In the end, I suspect (but do not know for sure) that Randy convinced him to stop commenting here. Either way, their lack of interaction has nothing to do with the quality of our posts.
You will also rarely find Randy in a discussion over which he does not have a high degree of control. This makes XGW rather difficult for him. To be candid, I would be happy to never discuss Randy. In fact, I’m pretty sure Emily expected me to suggest we not post her latest article. But we can’t ignore the most outspoken member of the largest ex-gay referral organization in the world, and coincidentally it’s VP. And we can’t make him enter into the debate. How often we post about him will be a factor of how often he does or says things which seem relevant to those who follow this subject, and how much time our writers have to devote to the stories — nothing else.
Considering the diversity of our readership, I guess I would be surprised if at least a couple of people didn’t think we were picking on him. This is not the choir and never has been. But as
EmilyYuki suggested, forgetting for a moment the name of who we are discussing, remembering just his position and the substance of the post, might help.
As a personal note, I have been guilty of letting my personal feelings creep into my comments (not so much posts) about Randy. It is a great challenge to keep myself from doing that because my only personal interaction with him has been so very distasteful. For those times when this has happened, I apologize to the readers and to Randy.
David, that was Yuki who said it and not me.
Alex, you need to come up with valid sources for strong statements like this. Evidence that gays are murdering or assaulting Christians because of their attitudes toward homosexuality. You have yet to do this. Second warning.
Sharon, in Randy’s case, he does this within a single paragraph. It’s become a habit of his, in fact.
Sorry Emily, I corrected that 😉
Hey, anyone ever thought I was a “viper?” (link dead, screenshot)
Actually, those who are closest to me describe me as a “prickly pear.”
I have a couple online sources ready to post (sorry it took so long – some of us have to drive home from work, eat dinner, and take a break from blogging). But before I do, could you please explain why I need to show evidence of gays murdering and assaulting anti-gay Christians? A quick scroll up the page should show you that I never said that. All I said was that some gay activists are intolerant and violent. If you’re going to intentionally misread my comments, why should I continue this conversation?
Oops, I hope that didn’t count as my third warning!!
No, but that attitude really should. Can’t you provide your links and explanation without that?
It seems Randy has found a way to participate while still remaining in his own domain. Check the link from here to his site. It has to be accessed from our site, clicking in your RSS reader won’t work.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed for him.
For those who don’t want to visit, or in case he realizes how it looks and removes it, here is an archive.
Alex, you said:
It sounds more like you are not listening, rather than read into people’s words, you push the blame away to us. Alex, these are you own words:
Alex, you also said:
I echo the writers here, and mention to you again:
Now my turn:
Read again your comments, and please substanciate your own words, the kind of “severe intolerance” and how some gay activists are “violent”.
In fact you responded to Regan’s commentary that ““OUR opinions haven’t resulted in physical threats on the street”” by responding, in your own words:
So can you also substantiate how the “physical threats on the streets” likened to the violence and death that LGBTs face daily?
Oh where do I begin…
Yeah, my last comment was pretty disrespectful. But I do not appreciate being given a “second warning,” nor do I appreciate being referred to as “this guy” when Emily could just as easily have used my name.
You said: “your statement, ‘a lot of gay activists did exactly that’ implies something far less vague and more targeted, and event or phenomena of some equivalence to that which Regan described.”
What Regan described is this: “OUR opinions haven’t resulted in physical threats on the street.”
Personally, I don’t think Regan’s claim is targeted or specific, but instead refers to a more generalized pattern of public anti-gay threats; notice that he doesn’t specify any particular threats or events. Because his statement was so broad, I responded with the equally broad claim that a lot of gay activists did “exactly that” – meaning that they have made threats in public against anti-gay advocates.
I’ll admit that the word “severe” was a bit much; if that one word caused all the subsequent assumptions about what I really meant, then I’m sorry. But if you’ll look at what I actually wrote throughout this discussion, not once did I say that gays have murdered/assaulted anti-gay Christians or even implied that they have. Yet Emily wants me to show evidence for it anyway! That’s what I meant when I said that she’s intentionally misreading what I say.
I will not “substantiate how the ‘physical threats on the streets’ likened to the violence and death that LGBTs face daily” because I don’t believe that they do, and I never said that they did. Again, Emily is the one who drew that comparison and insisted that I support it.
This conversation has gone on much longer than I expected it would, so here ya go:
True, none of these links deal with murder or assault. But contrary to what Emily thinks, I never said that they did. Stealing “Yes on 8” yard signs, interrupting a church service, and shouting in a woman’s face before trampling on the symbol of her religious faith certainly fit any reasonable person’s definition of “intolerant” and “violent.” Also, some of the phrases in that first link – “Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE” and “I warn them to watch their backs” – demonstrate my first claim, which is that some of our opinions (meaning pro-gay opinions) have resulted in physical threats. I’m not saying that these threats are any more or less serious/harmful than the threats made against gays; I’m just objectively pointing out that the threats do exist.
Peter Ould: I’d say they’re same-sex attracted, maybe “polysexual” or “omnisexual” if you will, but choosing to remain celibate. You don’t NEED a label. Just be honest about it, rather than obsessing over how many increments your sexuality has been altered since “moving beyond” gay life. You don’t need to say that you’re gay. i don’t really like labels. I like being called “queer.” I don’t like the term “lesbian.” I just don’t. And that’s perfectly okay.
Alex: I figured that “stomping on a cross” example would be trotted out. It seems to be a right-wing favorite. No, these things are not acceptable. But the day that anti-Christian violence perpetrated by LGBTQ persons gets its own wikipedia article, I’ll eat my hat. Or do something similarly ridiculous.
Yes Alex, stealing signs and comments on blogs are painful to us all. I’ve already linked to the Federal stats but I personally know several people who have been assaulted (as in blood shed and bones broken) for simply going about their day and also being gay. One I don’t know personally but know had a partner murdered in such a way. Now this is just one person and I am hardly a social butterfly. This is also all from the early 90s up. None of these things happened as a response to some dramatic event such as a summary verdict against the right of an entire segment of population to marry. These people were going to the bank, to the store, chilling in the evening with friends, things like that.
So perhaps you will forgive the impatient response you have gotten as it did/does appear you were trying to somehow show tit for tat on threats of violence. If someone else would like to illustrate the falseness of most if not all of those links, go ahead. I don’t feel like reliving the slander of the Prop 8 period right now.
I’m tired of it too. If people think that the anger expressed by LGBTQ’s in response to our marriage equality being taken away by a simple majority vote is equal to the murder and bloodshed that happens to us day after day year after year (in a tradition that spans hundreds of years) for simply existing, that’s their prerogative. I’m sure that nobody will be able to convince those people otherwise.
But when I look at it, it is absolutely not equal.
Emily and David,
I’ll try to clear my name one last time.
I do not believe that the anger and intolerance expressed by the gay community after Prop 8 comes anywhere close to anti-gay violence. If anything I have said during this conversation has indicated otherwise, then I apologize for giving you the wrong impression. The point I was trying to make, which I admit I did a poor job of expressing, is that both the gay and anti-gay communities are responsible for bad – albeit vastly different and unequal – behavior toward each other.
On the issue of gay violence against anti-gay people, I would say that there has been surprisingly little of it. Perhaps there is something out there, but you never hear of the family, lover or friends of gay victims of violence hunting down the perpetrator or the perpetrators family and friends.
I grew up in a relatively rough part of a rough city in California, and I can tell you that revenge killing and other forms of revenge violence are not uncommon. From all appearances, gay crime victims, other than appealing to the police and justice system for protection, seem to play the pacifist far more than striking back.
In the face of the Mormon led attack against gay Californians with Prop 8, there was anger and there were efforts to strike back, perhaps for the first time on any significant scale. And what did it amount to? Some stolen yard signs, some name calling and some targetted boycotts.
Other oppressed groups have done far more damage and had violent outbursts that have really cost lives. Aside from the riot at City Hall and the burning of some cop cars in SF after the killing of Milk, gays have been about the best behaved of this country’s oppressed groups. Anti-gay folks should count themselves lucky (or smart) for targeting a group that has such a low liklihood of responding violently to being oppressed.
And yet they moan about gay bullies… Give me a break.
[…] Exodus International executive vice president Randy Thomas wants you to know that he is a victim. […]
Alex, no — you failed. You might want to rethink the underlying attitude that causes you to exaggerate how bad all these gay activist people are.
You do also realise how many heterosexuals turned up at the entirely legitimate protests about Prop 8? No? And how very little anger/intolerance/let-alone-violence was actually displayed by 1 million people at over 300 rallies? No?
But… you know what really grinds my gears?
(It’s all that ‘anger’ and ‘intolerance’ that the early Christians displayed toward the lions.)
ps: you may need to also rethink, using logic, your list of anti-anti-gay atrocities.
First you hold up an invasion of a church by a few loons as an intolerant thing. But then you fail to note that the poor little old lady with the cross did EXACTLY that at a rally. That’s right Alex, poor little old defenceless, blameless lady with cross took it on herself to invade the front of a rally and start yelling at people. And, apparently, she’s got a notorious history.
scratch that, David. Looks like Randy was talking about Mike Airhart.
First of all, I’m a black, heterosexual woman who has been advocating for gay equality most of my adult life.
And whatever VERY FEW incidents of vandalism, or minor…yes MINOR assaults against the anti gay you heard of….were HARDLY a trend, neither widespread nor common.
These were ENTIRELY anecdotal, and not necessarily attributable to gay people.
‘The intolerance and violence of gay people towards the anti gay’.
The more I hear that, the less I care.
This is an example of the public not distinguishing an action from a REACTION.
Not caring to distinguish an opinion, from a direct political assault.
Even asserting that ‘the people voted’ as if a popular majority vote against a long discriminated against MINORITY was some kind of accomplishment.
You like to believe that any show of anger, pain, shouting is in appropriate, as the anti gay do.
As if such a reaction isn’t justified or necessary.
The real question is, why did straight people act against joyously marrying gay couples?
Why were THEY so upset and angry enough to destroy what little legal options gay people try to have for themselves and their children?!
And these self same people think this is about a ‘disagreement’?!
A difference of opinion?!
That gay people are supposed to put their needs on hold until straight people go Simon says?!
I’d say that the public who passed Prop. 8 NEVER appreciated just how much patience, courage and compassion gay people HAVE expressed considering the violations against any one of their number.
15 year old Lawrence King executed in class at at school?
Hold candlelight vigils and address the media that still thinks a boy wearing lipstick and heels is more threatening than a boy who would use a gun in a cold blooded killing.
A lesbian is gang raped?
A bullied gay teen commits suicide?
How have we responded BEFORE to all this?
Due process of law, the slow grind through legislatures and courts for hate crimes laws, anti bullying laws…personal wills and powers of attorney.
Alex, did you notice the COMPLAINTS from the opposite side?
How they make claims, and they might win in the court of public opinion.
But as we speak, the CA courts struck down the appeal for non disclosure of political contributions.
Because although the plaintiffs made claims that the supporters of Prop. 8 were harassed and threatened, THERE WAS NO PROOF.
And if such harassment and threats were a trend, they would have had it.
And so, they lost their appeal.
And in the meantime, their lives can go on the way they did even as gay couples got married.
But none of them, NONE of them has EVER been honest about what they’d do, how they’d feel, if their marriages were suddenly invalidated by thousands of faceless people who weren’t suffering for gay people getting married.
‘Intolerance and violence’ towards the anti gay.
Consider ALL things, Alex.
All of it….and reconsider how ludicrous your opinion is.
For the record only:
In response to a comment left on his blog to the “Viper” post, Randy says the following (along with literally chastising the commenter (Jay) for mentioning the letters XGW in his comment – this is forbidden):
I’ve recently made statements concerning my experience with Randy and his comment here does not agree with the record. Consider this a reference for the future to keep the record straight 😉 No need to include this in conversation unless you are bored.
While Mike Airhart had some exchanges with Randy in the old Bridges Across project, Mike has said it was not a lot, and dwindled to almost nothing by 98-99. BA started in late 96 or early 97, so that could be where the 12 year figure comes from, but it hardly qualifies as “dealing with [XGW]” since there was no XGW until July 2002. Also, there have been any number of writers since then.
Randy did not post here at all with the exception of a handful of mostly light comments in Sept to October 2007 (total of 15 comments), after which he left with a parting email to me after someone said something negative about him (and which I moderated). I even apologized to him and explained that he would have to expect some of that for a while since he had refused to post for so many years. He would have none of it and I believe that is unfortunate.
Aside from what Mike describes as a rare few emails very early on, Randy did not contact XGW at all until he responded in Jan 2008 to my request that we use him for an Exodus contact while Alan was away for an extended period. Eugene was writing this post and during that period Alan was receptive to questions and clarifications for the record. Randy’s reply was the only thing he has ever said on the record to me, which was that he would never say anything on the record to me or XGW. We were to consider his response a permanent “no comment.”
We had brief email exchanges until Mar 2008. I sent both the first and the last email. I have no idea where “stopped communicating with them two plus years ago” comes from. The only time we communicated all happened within the past year. I’ve often wondered why Randy commented here those few times — what made him want to after all that time? I believed at the time it was a response to my efforts to establish some sort of cordial, professional contact with them. Maybe he noticed that Alan and I were being reasonably civil and wanted to do the same. That could also just be arrogance, or naivety on my part.
So essentially, except for a brief, recent period when the door cracked open, it’s been the same since anyone can remember. Randy did not associate with, comment on, or carry on email exchanges with anyone at XGW. This is pretty much the way it has been.
Now if this is ever mentioned again, I have someplace to point to, and records to back up an accurate account. Carry on.
PS: While I was writing this, Randy made a comment so astonishing that someone just wrote me about it.
XGW is now more base, threatening, whatever, than Fred Phelps. Is there even a category for that?
Not sure if I fit into the “dissenting” point of view camp, but I am enjoying the exchange here after recently subscribing. Any blog that can carry on civil discourse about someone or some issue with which they disagree is more likely to be something I subscribe to than if it it turns into a nit-picking, bickering type of site. I try to learn from those with whom I might disagree about some issue, and if I don’t bash or get bashed back, I am more likely to continue both having a voice and listening. I encourage you to keep up the civil discourse here.
Thank you, Jeff. I’m not sure you are catching us at our best but you are welcome to participate. It’s not easy to maintain a group that is far less homogeneous than many think, and at the same time expect civil discourse. Combined with the passion behind this subject matter and its amazing it works as well as it does. We each have our moments when things get to us and someone gets snippy or whatever, but I think those are the exception and not the rule.
I wonder where Randy gets his definition of “lifestyle” from. I have only heard it from heterosexists and gender defenders.
To me, “lifestyle” infers behavior, nothing related to ideology. Otherwise there would be many heterosexuals living the gay lifestyle because they’re pro-gay, but that sounds ridiculous!
I am a relatively newcomer to this website, and an occasional commenter. I have an interest in XGW since I went through a year long Living Waters program, and didn’t feel that it was a wise course of action for me to take. I definitely have problems with some ex-gay programs, but at the same time, I have differing views than many on this website, and on these forums. There’s clearly a very large continuum of beliefs among Christians of goodwill who have lived with trying to reconcile their beliefs with their sexual attraction, and so we have the “Side A” and “Side B” camps, and everything and anything in between. Alex is at one point in that continuum, and it seems that many others in this thread are someplace else. Isn’t it possible to discuss our differences in a civil manner?
Why do I write this? As I read through this thread, it seems to me that Alex was not treated with dignity and respect that a forum that is ostensibly interested in being open to all sides of the debate warrants. Emily, was your “second warning” comment really warranted? Second warning, or else what, exactly? Alex was merely attempting to point out that there is violence all around. He never once stated, or even implied that any violence perpetrated by gays has come anywhere close to the violence that gays have suffered throughout history. He was attempting to point out that gays are not completely innocent. Why is that a problem to point out?
I was recently thinking a lot about MLK, Jr., when I reheard his “I Have A Dream” speech the day before Obama was inaugurated. MLK’s non-violence creed, which of course was pioneered by Ghandi, seems to me to be the wisest way forward for LGBT’s. Shouldn’t we, particularly any of us with a religious perspective, be opposed to violence, no matter where it rears its head?
Why did everyone jump on Alex in this thread? Isn’t it possible to acknowledge that some in the gay community have acted in inappropriate manners? Or does the many years of injustice, and violence done to homosexuals throughout history justify any that might occur?
That “second warning” comment was unwarranted and incredibly snarky. Why engage in that sort of dialog? It’s not fruitful. It should be possible to disagree, with respect and courtesy, without jumping on someone for saying something that they never said in the first place!
Would you then argue that violence against your opponents is acceptable, because it’s visited on gay people throughout history?
Now let me be clear: I’m only writing about this because I saw Alex being the brunt of an over-reaction from what he wrote, that seems to be based on something that he never actually wrote. I don’t believe that there is much violence by gays against non-gays, but at the same time, Alex’s point is valid: has there been intolerance or violence committed by gays towards those opposed to their viewpoints? He never once said that this was equal to what the gay community has suffered throughout history, but isn’t it reasonable to ask probing questions that are critiques of both sides of the issue? I believe that’s all Alex was attempting to do. Why such a strong backlash against him then?
I agree with David’s comments to Jeff: “I’m not sure you are catching us at our best but you are welcome to participate.”
This attack against Alex is not an example of XGW at its best, and it causes me to want to shy away from saying anything here that might raise questions or discourse. Emily once told me this: “Relax…we’re not going to jump all over you.” Well, Emily, you jumped all over Alex on this one, and if that sort of thing continues, it will cause the debates on this forum to only be from people who happen to agree with the most frequent commenters. That’s no longer a discussion.
Dan, I’m going to refer all questions about “warnings” and “banning” and “moderating” to David Roberts.
My “warnings” were simple statements on the record that he was commenting in a manner that could potentially lead to banning. Posting heavy “facts” without evidence, on many serious blogs, will result in banning much quicker than here at XGW. But I also do not have the power to ban.
David Roberts can step in and help explain the policies if he chooses to do so. In addition, I think re-reading his comments regarding Alex will help explain the reaction around here.
Dan, thank you so much for understanding my comments! In the other readers’ defense, I think they were so rough on me because my point was not as clear as it should have been, and they wanted me to prove a claim which they mistakenly thought I had intended to make (ie, that gay intolerance is equal to anti-gay intolerance). Blogging is convenient, but not always the best forum to get one’s point across!
And Emily, I really wish you had explained what your “second warning” meant when you said it. It makes more sense now, but at the time it just came across as a childish threat.
I started to write yet another reply to all this in response to Dan, but this is absurd. There was plenty of attitude to go around and I don’t see any loss of “dignity” here. Civil does not mean anesthetized. The only way to do that is with an iron hand and it doesn’t work. XGW is about as consistently reasonable a place to discuss these things that I believe you will find. But that means it will occasionally heat up as well. This hardly even rates as far as I can tell. What I do see is that we have wasted a lot of time and energy totally off topic.
Alex, I’ve seen your commenting on at least one other site and you are no stranger to rocking the boat and taking the heat. Dan, if you want to know how we operate, just scroll backward in the archives, its all there. We don’t pull embarrassing posts and we make any corrections of substance in the open.
Let’s just get on with the topic, or skip to another one. Try to be reasonably civil, but don’t feel you have to walk on eggs either. That’s the best way I can put it without writing another lengthy post.
My own periodic comments about Randy Thomas tend to be affected by mutual feelings of betrayal — his actions against same-sex-attracted persons did, after all, inspire me to become an opponent of Exodus.
However, I thought Emily’s post was objective and logical.
I appreciate that people oppose pointless bickering — there is simply too much of that online. But it seems to me that some people, for whatever reason, don’t want there to be ANY analysis of one of Exodus’ most problematic leaders.
Emily outlined some of those basic problems:
— illogical, inconsistent, and self-contradictory statements about sexual identity
— hypocritical projection of his own unresolved issues onto others
— persistent political, sexual, and spiritual stereotyping of same-sex-attracted persons
— absence of humility
Mike, Randy has once again “clarified” himself to another commenter on his own blog. The post is called “ex-gay = straight?” Implying that it doesn’t. I wonder what your thoughts are on that, if had the time to explain them.
Randy stereotypes gays for pay, yet whines about himself being stereotyped (or “stigmatized”, as he says).
Randy says he targets nobody, even though he targeted me and my YouTube channel not too long ago.
Randy plagiarizes anti-Jew propaganda, replacing “Jews” with “homosexuals”, and then tries to cover his tracks by scrubbing those posts. One example: “But the point of this post and the above stats are proof that not only do those who identify as gay compete for good salaries very well… they get them. The gay identified community is the most prosperous, median salary wise, community in the country”
“Fifty-two out of every 100 doctors were Jews. Of every 100 merchants, 60 were Jews. The average wealth of Germans was 810 marks; the average wealth of Jews 10,000 marks.”
The list goes on; but worst of all, Randy expects all gay people to be fat, miserable, ugly, nutty and celibate, like himself. Randy Thomas IS the epitome of the term “waste of flesh”.