Conversion Therapy

When I heard that the City of Regina was considering a ban on conversion therapy, and that there were actually numerous people speaking in favor of it–one pastor apparently claiming to speak for every Christian in Regina–I was dumbfounded.

I mean, it’s bad enough that we’ve had to undergo second, third, and now potentially fourth wither (ugh!).

But there were, and are, many of us who experienced a moment of wanting to pray the gay away. I was one of them. I didn’t start out wanting to be this way. I remember very poignantly having a conversation with a man who was a friend, Dave, who said that he’d successfully been through conversion therapy, that being queer was a condition that could in fact be psychologically altered through therapy. Granted, the man was on his third marriage by the time I met him, and I think he may have been heading for his fourth by the time I stopped having an interest in our friendship.

I believed the my Christian faith was at odds with who I was as a queer person. So I began a journey that took me through paganism, Buddhism, Indigenous Spirituality. In my mind, there had to be a faith practice that accepted and valued who I was as a person.

I returned to my faith in my late 30’s. I believed at that point that if I was to follow in the footsteps of Christ, I needed to live chaste. I needed to suppress my desires, my yearnings; not just sexual, but a yearning for intimacy, closeness, a relationship with someone I could call a life partner.

Someone once told me that God just wants us to know who we really are. In the pit of my soul, I knew I was queer. I knew that this was how I was made, this was God’s Image.

So how can someone believe that therapy can bring someone out of their queerness?

Because accepting a God with limitations like ours is easier than accepting a God with limitless boundaries.

Because we become incredibly uncomfortable when faced with a concept of infinity with no boundaries, and must force ourselves to create boundaries to protect ourselves.

It’s 2021, and there’s a conversation happening in the walls of city hall about whether they should stop conversion therapy. Sure, we could argue that allowing it to continue would give those who feel a desire to accept it as an option is part of living in a free and just society. Except for one thing.

Conversion therapy is based on a theology of boundaries. And whenever I hear the theology of boundaries being preached, I go to St. Anselm of Canterbury.

I can picture a God that exists infinitely. While the other version of God might be easier to fit into our limited world view, it’s not as great as a God who exists infinitely. God’s purpose is not to allow us to be comfortable hiding behind His skirts. God’s purpose is to help us walk beyond our limitations, beyond our concepts, beyond our ideals, holding those principles we embrace as given us from our birth–goodness, compassion, charity, love–so that we can know and love Him better.

We should not be surprised when people with limited views of the world are supported by those who also hold limited views. But I am tired of it. I’m tired, and I’m sad, and I’m angry.

Conversion Therapy

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